Drought Dampens hopes of a prosperous Turkana…. Business daily/APRIL 6
Even though oil and aquifers were discovered in Turkana five years ago. Drought has occurred again shattering the dreams of Turkana. The residents of Turkana have lost their animals to the drought and all they can access is very limited dirty drinking water that is not safe for consumption.
Access to food in Turkana has been a challenge and this has been worsened by the drought which has left the residents to either feed on dead animals or they starve. The most affected people by the drought are children and women. UNICEF has reported that the level of malnutrition in children in Turkana is very high. The resources in the region are also very strained due to the rapid growth in population which the residents have argued occurs due to the risk they fear of losing their children to natural disasters like the drought. The residents thus have more children as a measure of security.
Despite the discovery and now the exploitation of oil in Turkana the residents have not reaped the fruits of what is said to be one of the most valuable resources for the country. The Senate passed a bill the Natural Resources (Benefit Sharing) Bill, 2014 but the National Assembly is yet to finalize its part. The exploitation of natural resources therefore poses challenges due to lack of policy and legislation on the interactions between the two levels of government. There are no clear procedures on the participation of County governments in the development of projects in their areas or the sharing of benefits accruing from the exploitation. With the exception of mining where the Act provides for sharing of benefits between the National and the County governments and the community, there are no provisions on other resources such as water. The Mining Act provides for sharing of royalties and revenues retention of 10% of revenues to the community where the mining is taking place, 20% at the county government and 70% at the national government. This raises the question of whether Turkana has yielded any benefits from the exploitation of the oil. There are also funds that have been set aside by the government for averting the effects of climate change and the question remains whether this funds are reaching the deserving communities. The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has a mandate to establish mechanisms which ensure that drought does not result in emergencies and that the impacts of climate change are sufficiently mitigated. It is important that the Government is held to account based on its commitments to ensure that each Kenyan enjoys their rights to basic needs. Kenya Climate Innovation Centre has clients that have innovative solutions that would be useful in improving the food security situation in the country. KCIC could reach out to the government through institutions like NDMA to partner with clients like Hydroponics Africa to come up with solutions that are geared towards improving food security.
Staple crops feel the heat of climate change
The increase in population has led to an increase in food demand by 70% globally. Currently, the crop fields are failing due to climate change and hence there is need to come up with ways to counter this problem since the problem is a long term issue.
The reduction of crop yields can be caused by various factors which includes the depilation of the soil due the high dependency of chemical nutrients. There are also high temperatures that have been caused by climate change that area affecting some of the crops and thus making it difficult for the crops to thrive. The rain patterns have also changed making it very difficult to rely on the rains for the production of crops. All this has caused a reduction in the crop yields.
With increase in temperatures in this current decade, maize, wheat and barley production has greatly been affected and the temperature are still expected to rise hence prolonged droughts are expected.
In Australia, last year climate change has greatly affected the crops and hence there have been reduction in food crop production. Also there is decrease in maize production and there is quite a disparity between the production in 1980 and 2008. Therefore, there is need to cultivate adaptable plants and crops which will with stand these current temperatures.
KCIC has clients that are producing organic fertilizers and also crop production in an environmentally friendly way. Clients that are producing organic fertilizers and also with soil cleaning technologies would be useful to farmers so as to encourage farmers to use organic fertilizers in an effort to shift from Chemical fertilizers. There are also agribusiness clients that have innovative crop production innovations conserve water, this would also be useful in responding to the reduced water reserves in the country.
What is the future of green funding with the new administration in the US?.... Business Daily/April 5 2017
There is keen interest by environmentalists and energy experts on what Trumps administration moves are on energy and especially on coal. The previous administration was very keen on the promotion of renewable energy but there are fears that the current administration in the US may revert the gains that had been made by the previous administration. Kenya and other countries that have made strides in renewable energy and have been beneficiaries of clean energy development funding are uneasy. Kenya has had its fears on the exploration of coal due to the levels of pollution that are associated with coal. The move to support coal is affecting the interventions of COP 21 Paris Climate accord. Much of the experts and oil companies in US opinions indicate that the re-adapting coal and coal industries will be going back to the gains that had been made in a time when there is a shift towards clean energy.
Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) through its energy sub sector has been in the forefront to support the adoption of clean and renewable energy. KCIC will be in the forefront to create awareness on the effects of exploration of coal and through the supporting of the clean and renewable energy clients promote the adoption of alternative energy sources to coal.
Investing in research to ensure food security Business/daily 6/April/2017
The 11th international conference and research week was held in Egerton University under the theme “Knowledge and innovation for social and economic Development”. The discussions during the week focused on the relationship between innovation and food security. Various challenges have been encountered in the innovation space that has attempted to deal with food security. The challenges range from financing for research and even the teething problem of devolution that the power struggles between the two levels of government that have hindered the embracing of research into food security.
Malnutrition is not new in Kenya and this includes in neighboring countries like Somali, where the levels of malnutrition are very high due to the high levels of food insecurity. The reality of the scarcity of food is real in Kenya is real and there is need to look into the solutions of the levels of food scarcity which will begin with research and development in towards food security.
Currently, there are no efforts made to create awareness to citizens to adopt more sustainable eating habit that will promote food security. Therefore the government and other counter parts should educate its people on ways that will improve their livelihoods and food eating habits.
Every year the Kenyan Government sets aside funds that are supposed to go towards research and development in all sectors. It has however been noted that there has been little or no effort to tap into this funds both by the private sector and the civil society organizations that have an interest in food security.
The enemy to development in Kenya is poverty which is a major contributor to the high levels of food insecurity in the country. The focus that Kenya should be having is using SDGs as a ladder to climb from poverty.
One of the indicators of the impact of KCICs work is poverty elevation through looking for solutions that would be affordable for the people and also through the innovation of solutions especially in agribusiness that are effective in the costs of production.
Why sustainable development plans have failed…… Business Daily/ April 4th 2017
The world has not become sustainable 25 years later after 1992 Rio Earth Summit which was the first step to sustainable development theory. Beyond the Rio agreement there are other international agreements, national and international law speaking to sustainable development yet the degradation of resources continues to be a great challenge.
Studies have indicated that there is still a lot that needs to be done to achieve sustainable development and that the progress has been very minimal and slow. In 2016 the world temperatures were at 2 degrees Celsius above the pre industrial temperatures, the greenhouse gases effects are no longer a myth but reality, biodiversity is declining rapidly and some species are disappearing and ecological footprint is huge now.
Sustainable development has failed also from a social and economic perspective. Under the economic aspect the especially in developing countries there has been little attention on the economic activities that are of economic gain yet they are contributing to environmental degradation.
On the way forward for sustainable development plans shortcoming, is to make a good synergy between the three pillars of the sustainable development. For example providing incentives for technology transfers, reduced laws and policy conflicts and developing tax very breaks among others.
Fodder Farming deepens Kenya Food security crisis……Business Daily April 4th 2017
Fodder farming in Meru is quite pronounced and this is so because of the high number of animals that are kept in the region. Currently a number of people are cultivating maize to produce animal feed. The process involves planting maize and cutting them while immature and ferment until it becomes silage. The milk production for the farmers has tremendous increased after adoption the fodder production technique by the farmers.
The practice has raised concerns in different agricultural sector. According to academic experts, the conversion of food crop cultivation to fodder cultivation might magnify food insecurity issues in Kenya because population is increasing and farm size is still the same.
The experts also points out that there is no guarantee that feeding cows with silage increases milk production because milk production is influenced by a number of factors like animals health among others.
Therefore, the farmers are advised to use land that doesn’t support food crops for growing animal feeds or use the wastes from the cultivation of maize i.e. the maize stalks and leaves for fodder.
One of KCICs client Hydroponics Africa has a fodder system where they produce fodder at low production costs and this has also been proved to improve the level of milk production.