Civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world have condemned a Southern African Development Community (SADC) draft protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights), saying it spells disaster for small-scale farmers.
The groups, representing millions of farmers globally, have submitted a list of their concerns to the SADC secretariat, urging it to throw the document away and consult farmers and CSOs.
According to the groups, the protocol is inflexible, restrictive and imposes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ plant variety protection (PVP) system on all SADC countries, irrespective of the nature of agricultural systems and socioeconomic development.
To read the article titled, “New pact spells doom for smallholders,” click here.Source:The Citizen
The Centre for International Research on Forests (CIFOR) says that malnutrition could be greatly reduced and food security improved by ensuring improved access to nutrient-rich forest-derived foods like berries, bushmeat, roots, insects and nuts for the world's poorest populations.
CIFOR’s nutritionist and researcher, Bronwen Powell, points out that, "I believe forest foods are particularly important for reducing malnutrition when it comes to micronutrients such as vitamin A and iron."
In the same vein, Monica Ayieko, a family and consumer economist and an edible insect researcher at Maseno University, argues that the westernisation of diets has made people to associate wild foods with poverty, adding that, “It is a pity because so many children die as a result of nutrient deficiency, yet these are abundant in wild foods."
To read the article titled, “Wild foods could improve nutrition and food security,” click here.Source:All Africa
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says that about 10 Angolan provinces have been severely hit by drought.
UNICEF’s representative in Angola Koenraad Vanormelingen, estimates that hundreds of thousands of families are affected, adding that, "We are concerned with the situation which started last year and has affected 533 000 children in the Southern African nation.”
Vanormelingen adds that there is already US$5.1 million granted by European Union to be used by the Angolan government to fight hunger, with the support of the international community and local NGOs.
To read the article titled, “Ten Angolan provinces hit by hunger: UNICEF,” click here.Source:Africa Review
The Department of Agriculture says the lower than expected electricity tariff increase announced last week will help curb household food insecurity.
Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, points out that, "Electricity and fuel increases are among factors that are beyond the control of agriculture but they determine the competitiveness and costs of the sector."
Joemat-Pettersson further states that her department would ensure that it could produce enough food to curb household food insecurity across the country.
To read the article titled, “Minister vows to tackle food insecurity,” click here.Source:Fin24
International NGO, Oxfam, has launched a project that seeks to avert hunger situation facing millions of people in Malawi.
Under the ‘Integrated Emergency Cash Transfer Response Project’, the Oxfam is giving money to hunger-stricken households to buy food.
The move is part of the response to a recent report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) for 2012/2013, which shows that about two million households are facing food shortages largely because of erratic rains and draught during the last growing season.
To read the article titled, “Oxfam gives cash to Malawians affected by hunger,” click here.Source:VOA News
The United Nations (UN) says it needs US$131 million in humanitarian assistance to meet food, water and emergency needs in Zimbabwe.
UN humanitarian coordinator, Alain Noudehou, says that at least US$110 million of the money will be used to provide food for more than 1.6 million Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.
Noudehou notes that the appeal is less than the previous year's US$197 million because of ‘a steady improvement’ in the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe brought about by an upturn in some sectors of the economy.
To read the article titled, “UN needs millions for Zimbabwe humanitarian aid,” click here.Source:SABC News
According to latest statistics 19.4 percent of South African households have inadequate or severely inadequate access to food. With the current economic situation, high unemployment and increasing food prices, providing for the basic needs of a family is becoming more and more difficult for many people around the world, including millions of South Africans. A growing global population makes the situation even more complicated. By 2050, some experts think there might not be enough food for everyone. Many international agencies, including the World Bank, are calling for agriculture and farming practices to be recognised as part of the solution.
Unfortunately, the way people see agriculture is itself an issue. Many South Africans, especially youth, are not attracted by farming because they do not see agriculture as a form of employment. Only 23 percent of households in South Africa are involved in agriculture production and only 5.1 percent see agriculture as a way to generate income. Taking care of livestock or planting vegetables in a garden is hard work and takes commitment and passion. It is an everyday job which - as the thousands of rural farmers Heifer works with know - not only provides food for families but also generates income. Heifer is helping thousands of people recognise that small-scale farming or running a micro-farming business is a job. Once farmers have established their small businesses, they work together to market their produce to supermarkets, processors and other buyers.
Johanna Madonsela, a member of Heifer’s Hereford project in Limpopo says, “The project has brought joy to my family as me and my husband were not working at all. Now we all take care of the cows and crops. As some of the vegetables we grow are used in the household, my husband and my family are able to eat nutritious food. We also managed to buy household items such as windows, a sink and garden tools. Since we are involved in agricultural activities, we have minimised the dependency syndrome because we are now self-reliant.”
A few years ago, Mandonsela, like many South Africans, could not have believed agriculture could change her life so much. Then she heard about Heifer International South Africa, a community development organisation which uses agricultural intervention to assist rural communities to move out of hunger and poverty. The organisation provides communities with inputs such as training, skills, seedlings, livestock and three to five years of ongoing support. During this time, these poor rural women and men become independent small-scale farmers, working together collectively, who are able to provide for their families. Mandonsela received training, livestock and several years of hands-on support. She started her own vegetable garden and established her farming business. The money generated from selling milk and vegetables to the local supermarket allowed her to grow as a small-scale farmer and change her and her family’s life for the better.
Madonsela is not the only one who has discovered the income-generating value of agriculture. Many of the women and men Heifer works with have seen their lives transformed. “The fact that now I am self-employed has brought hope and a better future for my family,” says Ntanjana from the Eastern Cape.
Over the past decade, Heifer has worked with thousands of small-scale farmers, who in partnership with Heifer, are working hard to make their farming businesses successful. For them agriculture is a job, way of living and a source of income. Agriculture is a solution to feed the world and, as Heifer’s model proves, when farmers work together it can also create jobs. Through organised groups, productive small-scale farmers can access markets, sell their products to supermarkets and grow their farming businesses.
If you wish to support Heifer International South Africa’s work or find out more about their projects, visit www.heifer.org.za or call 031 777 1374.
- Magdalena Wos is resource development officer at Heifer International South Africa.
Over 2 000 villagers in Insiza North in Matabeleland South are facing starvation due to critical shortage of food, according to a local councillor, Abdele Nkomo.
Nkomo points out that, “... the situation will improve as the World Vision and the Zimbabwe Project Trust started registering villagers under the food relief programmes…”
He blames the crisis on the erratic maize supplies by the Grain Marketing Board, which avails food to vulnerable communities under the grain loan scheme.
To read the article titled, “NGOs seek to avert hunger,” click here.Source:The Standard
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$68.4 million grant to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in the western part of the country.
The grant agreement for the Kinshasa Food Supply Centre Support Programme was signed by the country’s vice minister of finance, Roger Shulungu Runika.
Although the country exported agricultural products prior to its independence in 1960, the sector has seen a steady decline and stagnation since.
To read the article titled, “IFAD extends grant funding to the DRC to boost food security,” click here.Source:All Africa
Lesotho, grappling with food shortages, is banking on South Africa to make good on its pledge to assist its landlocked neighbour.
Lesotho is in the throes of a food crisis, the result of weather shocks including flash floods and drought over the past two years.
South Africa undertook to assist the mountain kingdom following a visit by Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, last month. However, the amount and extent of the pledge is not yet known.
To read the article titled, “Lesotho: a nation struggling to feed its people,” click here.Source:Business Day Live