May 10th, 2013 12:10 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
In a few weeks, the UK government will host a major international event in London called Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science. Happening just days before the 2013 G8 Summit in Lough Erne, it will bring together governments, businesses, scientists and civil society to examine strategies that could improve the quality and quantity of food available to the world’s poorest people.
Back in March I attended a highly energised meeting of African civil society organisations in Ethiopia, who had gathered for Africa’s biggest annual forum on agriculture and where we launched our report A Growing Opportunity. We all agreed an urgent message needed to be sent to the international community before the June summit in the UK.
As a result, ONE together with 36 other African organisations have written to UK Prime Minister Cameron asking his government to ensure that African-led agriculture is at the heart of the Nutrition for Growth event, and specifically the existing CAADP plans.
CAADP stands for the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program. It has already created momentum to reform agriculture in 40 out of 53 African countries and many more are joining. This makes it the single best existing framework that would support the G8 to deliver excellent results from their food security and nutrition investments on the continent.
CAADP will also become the central organising vehicle for the African Union year of Agriculture in 2014. African states have committed themselves become more accountable to their people on accelerated progress in fighting hunger and helping small-holder farmers access better investment, technology and markets to sell their produce.
African leadership, political will and investment is critical to realising the poverty reducing potential of African agriculture. The private sector and international community also has a very important supporting role to play in investing in African-led agriculture.
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, has said, “Africa has potential, but it cannot eat potential. More coordinated action is needed”.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, the G8 must build on the momentum growing across Africa and fund the agriculture plans already in place.
May 9th, 2013 5:35 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
ONE US Policy Manager David Hong and ONE Africa Deputy Director Nachilala Nkombo look at the progress made by Grow Africa in the last year.
Today, five African heads of state, four G8 development ministers, and over 100 private sector companies will meet in Cape Town, South Africa at the World Economic Forum on Africa to assess Grow Africa’s work in 2012, the partnership’s first full year in business.
First, here’s a little background. Two years ago, the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency, and the World Economic Forum combined forces to create a new partnership, Grow Africa, which aims to reduce poverty by accelerating private sector investment in African agriculture.
The partnership is led by the organisations above, and includes eight member countries and various stakeholders such as host governments, companies involved in investment, civil society, research institutions, and farmer organisations.
Here at ONE, we’re taking this opportunity to weigh in on Grow Africa’s first annual report. Overall, the initiative made significant progress last year, especially given the small size of its team. ONE hopes for further and more robust reporting in the coming years so the partnership can demonstrate its value and defend its model. Annual reporting gives Grow Africa an opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned over the past year and what challenges lay ahead.
Here are the headlines:
Obviously, there is a lot to commend here. Thousands of smallholders are being incorporated into commercial food supply chains where they’re growing more food and generating more income for their families. If Grow Africa adds further measures to increase transparency and expand reporting of poverty reduction indicators, the partnership could change the game for farmers and businesses.
For more information on Grow Africa’s report and ONE’s analysis, check out this policy brief.
Apr 2nd, 2013 3:31 PM UTC
By Nachilala Nkombo
As ONE launches its agriculture report, the AU remarks that the new focus should be on investments that make a difference to farmers! Nachilala Nkombo, ONE’s Africa Deputy Director, reports from Addis Ababa.
This week, 300 or more people gathered in the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa to galvanize momentum around African-led agriculture. In the same hall that African heads of state will make the major decisions that affect the possibilities of increased food production and increased rural income in January 2014, ONE was invited to launch our newest report: “A Growing Opportunity: Measuring Investments in African Agriculture.”
I had the honour of sharing ONE’s findings from this report alongside African policymakers and farmers. Together we urged African leaders to meet their commitments to invest at least 10 percent of their budgets in agriculture. The launch was a major highlight of the Africa Union/NEPAD 9th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) meeting, an annual conference that convenes policy makers, agriculture experts, donors and small scale farmers to discuss the hot issues affecting agriculture on the continent.
This launch coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the landmark Maputo Declaration by the African Union government to revamp the agriculture sector through increased public investments. In this report, we measured performance of 19 African governments against the benchmarks in this declaration.
The reports highlight both good and bad news from the continent. The good news is that progress is undeniable, and 24 countries are taking steps to reorganise their agriculture sector in line with CAADP standards. Eight African countries are on their way to reaching the goal to halve poverty by 2015, and investment in agriculture is translating into growth in 13 African nations.
The bad news is that the Maputo public financing commitments are off track. While nine countries have made some increases to their national budgets since 2003, only four countries have met the Maputo target to invest 10 percent of national expenditures in the support of agriculture.
These include Malawi, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Niger. Alarmingly, nine countries reduced their levels of agriculture expenditures during the assessment period. The report also found that donors were off track in terms of fulfilling their full US $22 billion L’Aquila pledge, only half of what was promised has been disbursed since 2009.
After I delivered our findings, it became clear to the audience that there was a need for urgent action by African governments to increase public investments in agriculture, if Africa has to ensure food security and job creation on the continent. The big game-changing moment that all stakeholders at the meeting are looking toward is the January 2014 AU summit that will mark the start of the African year of 2014 agriculture efforts.
An eminent panel of speakers, comprising of the Ethiopian Ambassador to the AU and UNECA H.E Ambassador Kongit Sinegiorgis; the Malawi Agriculture Deputy Minister Hon. Ulemu Chilapondwa; the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime; and a farmer from Nigeria, Sara Yapwa joined me in bringing some home truths to the report .
Ambassador Sinegiorgis was proud to note that Ethiopia has been listed in the report as among those countries that have met and exceeded both the CAADP 10 percent budgetary allocation and 6 percent annual agriculture growth rate. She emphasized the fact that agriculture is part of the country’s long-term plan for economic and social transformation, and called on the other governments to do more to boost agricultural production and agribusiness. “We can find the resources needed to close the Agriculture financing gap,” she said.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Ulemu Chilapodwa attributed his government success on the 10 percent to the decentralization of agriculture services, and the opening-up to NGO involvement in agriculture activities.
I was so proud of ONE to hear Commissioner Tumusiime remark on how good the report was and how important it is for the African Union Commission to have such independent perspectives on the status of Maputo commitments despite having their own internal Maputo review processes.
“I do not think that there are many other meetings of this nature where this would be allowed,” she said. Noting the urgent need to make agriculture in Africa leap further forward, she threw a couple of challenges to the audience, “We need to focus on investments that make a difference to the farmer. We cannot live by tradition, while Africa’s agriculture potential is noted, we cannot eat potential,” she said.
Africa can use the estimated US$ 50 billion it spends annually to import food to finance agriculture and meet the CAADP funding gap holding back progress in agriculture. She pointed out that as agriculture is strategic for Africa, it just needs to be bailed out as other strategic institutions are being bailed out every day in the west.
Sara the farmer wondered why half the $22 billion committed by donors has not yet been received. We want to know where the current money goes. “Is it to overheads or to ‘overlegs’ (farming). For policy to be effective, Sara argued that women have to be involved at all levels of decision making.
“If it is not done with us, it is not for us”, she concluded. This year’s CAADPPP also launched the AU efforts towards the year of agriculture. ONE and its partners will continue to focus its advocacy on the continent on demanding that African leaders live up to their Maputo financing commitments and that they use the year of Agriculture 2014 as a key moment to recommit to a stronger and measurable Maputo, plus 10 programmes of action that will track agriculture financing, as well as the impact of this financing on food security, rural incomes, industrialisation and job creation.
I learnt at this forum that CAADP standards are being used to guide development financing in other regions of the world, it’s for this reason that ONE urges donors to ensure that they don’t miss this opportunity to support the implementation of this African framework that is geared to ensure agriculture success at national levels.
Read our full report here.
Read about CAADP here.
Oct 16th, 2012 8:06 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
“Because this continent is not only going to feed itself, we have to feed the world”
As today is World Food Day, it is an appropriate time to recognise and appreciate the importance of Africa’s principals food producers; women farmers. Roughly 70% of small holder farmers in Africa are women, and therefore it is unsurprising that they are the principal food producers, yet Africa is a victim of substantial food insecurity.
60% of the world’s remaining arable land is in Africa, yet we are still facing major food insecurity issues. In order for Africa to feed itself, it needs to maximise its own food productivity, and women farmers are at the root of this issue. Women farmers have historically been neglected and disadvantaged in Africa, as they have struggled to get tenure to the land and gain access to security and finance. Therefore it is paramount that we invest in women farmers too push the food security agenda forward, and begin working towards the goal of feeding the world.
In this pursuit of a food secure Africa and world, we need a collective buy-in from all parties. We are beginning to see more of a focus on Public-Private Partnership as a way of moving the development agenda forward. These are partnerships between government and private sector, where both sets of parties collaborate in the pursuit of a unified goal. For these partnerships to be as effect as possible we need government to create a conducive environment where by it is attractive for private sector to engage. There is fourth P that is not often mentioned but it is extremely important, and that is ‘people’. We all need to do what is necessary to effect change. Public- Private- People Partnerships for a food secure world.
Sep 12th, 2012 5:49 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
This post by Agiroi Thomas was kindly provided by Restless Development
In my culture, cattle are very important. They can be used for food, trading, as a dowry or as a status symbol. My life and that of my family is dependent on cattle. As this is the case it is common for clans to raid each other’s lands and steal cattle. I became involved in this when I was younger with a few of my friends. We were young men who wanted to get married and needed cattle to pay the dowry and we knew there were people in our village that had become rich from such raids. I took part with my friends and fellow tribesmen and ended up with 20 cows.
However, raiding is a risky business. People aren’t exactly pleased when we turn up trying to take their cattle! Lots of my friends were killed in the raids and I was lucky to survive. As you can imagine, my wife was worried. She told me to stop. “I do not want to be a widow when I am still young.” she said. I’ve told my friends that my raiding days are over.
It is sad to see it come to this. In my parents’ day there were plenty of animals, people lived in harmony, raiding was less common. More raiding has resulted in less cattle and everyone is less well off because of it. Nowadays we have turned our hand more to agriculture. Instead of relying on animals alone people can grow their own vegetables and sell enough to feed their entire family. This has meant that there is less raiding; cattle are still very important, but they are not everything. I want to be able to engage in the selling and buying of animals as well as that which I have grown. Then I will be able to support my family and send my children to school so that they might one day become better educated and better leaders.
In order for this to happen we need better investment in agricultural skill development and start up capital.
I believe certain forms of contract farming can provide important benefits to the farmers, allowing them to be supported by investments without depriving them of access to their land. At best, in such a scheme, the buyer has a reliable source of supply, the farmers have a reliable buyer for crops, and the land rights are left untouched.
I therefore encourage world leaders to do two things:
Increases in agricultural productivity can be key if these increases benefit small farmers, who are the poorest and are still in the rural areas.
Certain investments in public goods probably need to be done by the state, because there is no – or only a weak – incentive for the private sector to step in. For instance, Uganda should develop extension services, rural infrastructures and agricultural research. They should encourage farmer field schools and support the organisation of farmers in cooperatives.
As far as investment from the private sector is concerned, it is important and can complement public investment. But it should not take the form of large-scale acquisitions or leases or land, which can cause tremendous social and political disruption and are a step backwards in improving access to land for the poorest farmers, who are often poor in part because they have too little land to cultivate.
The Karamoja region of North-Eastern Uganda has been devastated by decades of armed conflict, cattle raiding, extreme poverty, instability, drought and weakened state authority. Poverty has brought with it extreme vulnerability to HIV and AIDS risks. In an initial study in 2009, only 7% of young people reported using condoms the last time they had sex. This is alarming considering that 6.3% of the population are living with HIV and AIDS.
Also, with 78% of Ugandans younger than 30 and 84.6% living in rural areas, rural youth are the group most affected by poverty and development issues, yet they are consistently excluded from the development and decision-making processes affecting their lives.
Lutokoi’s involvement in the youth group is a great example of how young people can and will drive the development in their own country if they are given the opportunity to do so.
Featuring contributions from African citizens who are living in communities affected by extreme poverty, ONE’s African Voices series will follow their progress to give a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges they face and also to track changes that occur over time. Find out more at one.org/africanvoices.
Aug 20th, 2012 11:12 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
As many of our readers know, last month ONE delivered its Thrive petition signed by almost 35,000 African citizens to the African Union Chair President Yayi Boni of Benin.
President Boni and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari promised to take our petition to the full African Union in order to promote investments in Africa’s agriculture sector across the continent. We know that with proper investments and planning in farms and food supplies, African governments could help lift 31 million African citizens out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from suffering the effects of stunted growth due to malnutrition.
We have a great video of the petition delivery, which features ONE’s Africa Director Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, along with sporting legend Haile Gebrselassie, who delivered the petition on behalf of ONE members across the continent, and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari.
Watch the video here:
This comes at a great time as we make real progress in the race against hunger. Haile Gebrselassie joined ONE, our partners, and a few of his fellow Olympians at a Hunger Summit just as the 2012 Olympics closed.
Stay tuned for more updates in our campaigns. These last 4 months of 2012 hold a lot of potential for our campaigns to increase food security and opportunity all over the continent.
Jul 31st, 2012 10:57 AM UTC
By Remi Onabanjo
When Nigerian musical sensation, 2Face Idibia arrived in Johannesburg, the Big Brother Africa House wasn’t his only stop. Along with the ONE Africa team, he went into the heart of Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, to visit the Kliptown Youth Centre.
Founded in 2007, the Kliptown Youth Centre’s works to help children and adolescents in the surrounding area take control of their futures. While visiting the centre, its director and co-founder Thulani Madondo, who was recently recognized as one of the CNN Heroes 2012 gave the group a walking tour of the facilities, and briefed 2Face on the numerous programs that they offer in the centre’s ever growing library.
2Face Idibia (front right) talks to Thulani Madondo (front left) at Kliptown Youth Centre
As Thulani explained the after school tutoring program and its use of One Laptop per Child, a unique technological initiative aimed at empowering children by providing them with low powered laptops, we could hear the distinct sound of children coming in on their way back from school, all excited to take part in everything the centre has to offer.
After meeting the main youth programmers, we were treated to another facet of the Kliptown Youth Centre: the talented and enthusiastic youth Gumboots dance group. Through their phenomenal performance, it was clear that the centre doesn’t only focus on nurturing the youth academically, but also allowing them to express themselves artistically. As the visit finished off, 2Face was able to personally help out with the food program by serving hot lunches to the school children. Although simple in design, this is one of the centre’s most important programs, as it ensures that each child that comes through has access to at least one balanced meal per day.
2Face Idibia with the Kliptown Youth Centre and ONE teams
At the end of the day, all those involved in the visit were extremely moved and inspired. 2Face was especially impressed, and stated how the centre was the embodiment of a true “positive initiative”. He acknowledged the hard work that the centre is doing in order to change the lives of youth in Kliptown, and actively wondered whether this could be done in other regions on the continent.
The admirable work of Thulani and his peers shows that in Kliptown, Soweto, people are definitely hungry for change.
Join them and become part of the movement!
Jul 27th, 2012 11:19 AM UTC
By Remi Onabanjo
This week, ONE has been a recognizable presence within the Big Brother Africa house. In weeks past, we have been in the backyard, in the THRIVE garden where the housemates harvested vegetables and produced compost. But that all changed early on Tuesday morning when the contestants were told to fast an entire day, save for what they had produced in the Thrive garden. This challenge was set to symbolize the millions of Africans who suffer from hunger and malnutrition everyday while also emphasizing the usefulness of farming one’s own food.
Although the Big Brother housemates weren’t exactly ecstatic at the idea of going without food for a day, they took the task seriously. And they were duly rewarded with many personal shout-outs from ONE celebrity ambassadors, such as South African songstress Zolani Mahola, Kenyan music sensation Nameless, and even ONE’s co-founder Bono. These messages encouraged the housemates to stay hungry for change”—words that they definitely took to heart.
Taking things to the next level, Nigerian superstar 2Face Idibia made a personal visit to the house, and gave everyone the shock of their lives. Although at one point Ugandan housemate Janette got 2Face to sing her a few bars from “African Queen”, he made sure that the conversation stayed focused on the issue at hand. Right now, 31 million Africans and 12 million children can be saved from poverty and stunted growth respectively by 2015. This can be achieved by raising awareness, making smart investments in agriculture, and holding African leaders accountable, all significant aspects of ONE’s Thrive campaign. While in the house, 2Face made sure to communicate this message to the housemates and answered all of their questions about ONE and the campaign.
In the wake of 2Face’s visit, the energy and enthusiasm among the housemates was palpable. The housemates have been busy preparing food that will be hand-delivered by 2Face to a children’s home in the surrounding Johannesburg area. Their energy is also being harnessed towards designing their own ONE t-shirts, all of which are distinct, creative, and sporting inspiring messages. One of the designs will be selected, and the housemate who wins the competition will not be disappointed with the reward we have in store.
All in all, the Big Brother Africa contestants are demonstrating that it’s possible for anyone to make a difference by supporting the Thrive campaign towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition on the continent.
They are definitely hungry for change. If you are too, join the movement by signing our petition.
Stay strong, stay committed, stay hungry for change.
Jul 25th, 2012 11:28 AM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
Yesterday African music sensation 2Face Idibia visited the Big Brother Africa House as the housemates stood in solidarity with the hundreds of millions of Africans who go hungry every day.
Watch his message here:
Speaking at the house 2Face said:
“My brothers and sisters, we might live in different countries but we are united in the belief that that no one in Africa should go hungry, much lesssuffer famine. Not in 2012, and not in a continent as rich in natural resources, human capacity and ingenuity as Africa. Housemates, you are the future of Africa. And what you do could inspire a new generation of young Africans who, with you,will be the change we want to see. Stay strong, stay committed, stay hungry for change.”
Throughout the week 2Face and others will encourage us all to be hungry for change and support of ONEs Thrive campaign, boldly calling for progress in the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition on the continent. They will present the Big Brother housemates with creative challenges to promote this vital issue for the continent throughout this much-watched week.
You can join them by signing our pledge here.
This is just the start of a series of ONE activities that the Big Brother housemates will be involved in this week, so keep an eye on the ONE Africa Blog for more news.
Jul 25th, 2012 11:07 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Stephan Meyer, ONE’s expert gardener who is responsible for setting up the box garden in the Big Brother Africa house, continues his series of gardening tips.
In the previous post “Organic Box Gardening” we discussed organic gardening and what it actually means. We mentioned that an important step in successful organic gardening is “feeding your soil”.
The ONE garden in the Big Brother house
This week we will teach you how to make your own compost pile from scratch. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to do this, all you need is perseverance. The more effort you put in, the faster you see results.
A lot of professionals will tell you that you need brown composting matter for Carbon and green composting matter for Nitrogen. They will also say that the composition ratio between brown and green should be 30:1. You might ask yourself, “does that mean I need to cut down a tree to make compost?” The answer is simply no.
Brown composting materials are woody materials that are high in carbon, such as; peat, moss, sawdust hay and straw. While green composting materials are high in nitrogen, such as; garden refuse, food scraps, and manure.
The most readily available of both green and brown matter is grass clippings. By layering grass clipping you can make your own compost within 2 to 4 weeks. Easy enough isn’t it?
Advantages of express composting are:
Like anything, there will be disadvantages. The disadvantage here is that a lot of time and effort is needed because the heap of matter takes a year to decompose.
Plants in the ONE garden
How to make “Express compost”
Any material can be used for making compost, but but some items are best avoided. For example meat, dairy and cooked foods can attract unwanted pests, viruses and disease.
Greens or Nitrogen rich materials
Browns or Carbon rich materials
Building your pile
Maintaining your pile
Maintenance of your pile is simple but requires work.
Your compost is ready for use when it has a dark brown colour with a sweet earthy smell and most of the raw materials aren’t recognisable
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The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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