Friday

Small-scale farmers defying climate change



“As a farmer I can’t give up. I have to treat this farm, the way a businessman does his business: he never gives up,” says a determined John Wambua, an organic farmer from Yatta, in Machakos County, Kenya.

John Wambua is one of ten small-scale farmers, whose stories of hope and determination through resilient farming methods have been documented in video and photography by Greenpeace Africa and the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) and showcased in a once-off multimedia exhibition at the historical Nairobi National Museum from 31st July to 02nd August 2015
The exhibition entitled, “The Era of Resilience- the Journey of a Kenyan Farmer” captures ecological farming practices by some of Kenya’s finest small-scale farmers responding to climate change. The exhibition also features first -hand accounts and experiences by local farmers who will present their ‘wish list’ and solicit support to enable them to grow the farming sector and improve their livelihoods.
As part of the two day open exhibition, Greenpeace Africa will release a report, “Building environmental resilience: A snapshot of farmers adapting to climate change in Kenya”. The report documents some of the ecological farming practices which farmers in Western and Eastern Kenya are using to nurture crops e.g. drip irrigation, indigenous knowledge, intercropping and using compost and manure for enhancing soil fertility. 
Resilience in the face of climate change and the growing global food crisis requires urgency and honesty according to ICE’s programme officer, Martin Muriuki “ICE continues to work closely with farmers. This is the only way to create an ecological farming system with farmers at its center.” he added.
“This exhibition is a positive move towards advancing the ecological farming movement not only in Kenya but also for the entire African continent. Local organisations and small scale farmers are joining forces to present thoughtful, modern farming methods based on age-old resilience techniques. This exhibition aims to present a future where the Kenyan Food system can be secured and become a development model for others on the continent.” said Greenpeace Africa Executive Director, Michael O’Brien Onyeka.
ICE and Greenpeace Africa urge governments, donors, philanthropies and their partners to put small holder farmers at the center of their agriculture vision. This can be achieved by shifting public funds from a failing industrial agriculture model to ecological agriculture that is healthy and economically viable for everyone.

Wednesday

Developing sustainable fisheries, healthy oceans for food and nutrition security



The Government of Kenya and FAO have launched the Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) to benefit select areas in the coastal region of Kenya. BGI is a FAO flagship initiative promoting more productive, sustainable and socioeconomically responsible fisheries, and aquaculture sectors.
The launch was held in Mombasa, Kenya, led by the acting Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Adan Mohamed and FAO Representative in Kenya Dr. Luca Alinovi. In attendance was county leadership from Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and TanaRiver counties.
In his opening remarks, the acting Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Mohamed Adan noted that sustainability of fish supply in our waters requires concerted attention.
‘Improvements targeted across the various aspects of fisheries management, as well as regulatory barriers, difficulty in accessing funding, fragmented research and development, and poor access to markets need to be addressed. Particular attention may be given to empowering the small/rural or artisanal fishermen and fish farmers who contribute consistently to the seafood supply chain, but do not have the capacity to optimize their farming or fish catch.’ he noted. 
The inland aquaculture sector continues to grow, but mariculture is lagging behind. While most of the current aquaculture production is based in freshwater fish farming, there exists a lot of potential in mariculture (aquaculture in coastal and marine environments) on the extensive Kenya coast.
‘We can sustainability develop mariculture through improving the governance and management of the aquatic eco-systems, conservation of biodiversity and habitats and most importantly, empower vulnerable communities engaged in small-scale production to act as resource users and stewards’ noted Dr. Alinovi.
The EAA is best implemented within a national aquaculture policy with a regulatory framework that promotes the growth of a healthy and competitive aquaculture sector while providing protections from threats such as disease spread, pollution and environmental degradation.
Mr. Mohamed reiterated Kenya’s commitment to developing fisheries in Kenya. ‘I wish to stress that my ministry is committed to making the fisheries sector one of the key pillars of economic growth in Kenya’ he said. ‘It is therefore my strong belief that the modest initiative my ministry is starting with FAO and other developing partners through these projects today will culminate in opportunities for major investments, additional livelihoods for the coastal communities and overall well-being for the Kenyan people as envisaged in Kenya’s development Blue Print Vision 2030’.
In collaboration with the Government of Kenya, FAO has developed two projects worth a total of USD 1 million from the BGI, namely ‘In Support of Food Security and Nutrition, Poverty Alleviation and Healthy Oceans’ and ‘In support of implementation of mariculture in Kenya within an ecosystems approach’. Both projects aim to increase knowledge of water basin to coral reef ecosystem services supporting food, nutrition and livelihood security so as to guide and improve investment in sustainable coastal mariculture. This includes a better integration of the sector into other activities in the coastal zones so as to increase understanding in conserving and improving coastal ecosystem services.
The BGI is designed around capture fisheries, sustainable aquaculture, livelihoods and food systems, and economic growth from aquatic eco-system services. It is also bringing support and more attention to enhance the implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and Aquaculture (EAF/EAA).
The launch is to be followed by a five day training workshop on implementing the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture (EAA). The EAA strives to balance diverse societal objectives, by taking account of the knowledge and uncertainties of biotic, abiotic and human components of ecosystems including their interactions, flows and processes and applying an integrated approach within ecologically and operationally meaningful boundaries.
The general objective of the workshop is to inform and train managers, developers, farmers and other relevant stakeholders on the EAA and how to develop  EAA management plans  for mariculture areas  in  Kenya that incorporate other users of the coastal zones.
The workshop will produce better informed stakeholders on the EAA and its potential for aquaculture management at local and national level, and improved understanding of aquaculture for stakeholders outside the agricultural sector. It is expected that one or more draft management plans for piloting in selected aquaculture management areas and recommendations for the national aquaculture strategy in the context of EAA will be realized.

First 1000km Kite Surf Attempt up East African Coast to Raise Call for Safer Oceans



Jacob Bliksted Sorensen will, this week, launch the world’s first attempt to kite-surf over 1,000 km up the East African coast to raise awareness about the root causes of piracy. Mission Safe Oceans will launch from Pemba in Mozambique and aims to contribute to a safer ocean for the benefit of East Africans, visitors and seafarers.
Every year, piracy at sea poses a threat to the lives of men and women working in the maritime industry, and poses a threat to the global economy because over 80 per cent of global trade is carried out by maritime transportation. Although hijackings off the coast of Somalia have declined in recent years, it’s estimated that piracy in the Horn of Africa still costs the global economy an estimated $18 billion per year.
Sorensen’s mission will raise funds for two non-profit organizations – Mission to Seafarers and Adeso – that seek to address the root causes of piracy. The General Manager at Hong Kong-based company, Pacific Basin, with his team, will make his way from Mozambique to Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia using a surfboard and a kite to harness the power of the wind. The mission will take up to 30 days to complete.
Sorensen points to his passion for shipping, a safe ocean and kitesurfing as the driving force behind this fundraising adventure. He hopes to draw attention to a problem that continues to not only affect trade, shipping and the lives of seafarers around the world, but also the people of East Africa.
“Through my work I am exposed to the security challenges on the coasts of East Africa and the Indian Ocean and I want to use my strengths, abilities and my network in the shipping industry to make a positive difference,” explains Sorensen. 
The ocean provides a livelihood to 1.5 million seafarers and they deserve a safe work place. Using Mission Safe Ocean as a platform to support the charities is a tribute to the thousands of seafarers who put their lives at risk passing through dangerous areas carrying goods that we all depend on.”
Degan Ali, the Executive Director of African NGO Adeso, explained why Adeso decided to work with Sorensen on this mission. “Many young men in Somalia have been drawn to crime and extremism as a result of a lack of opportunities in their country, including in the fisheries sector."
"With the funds raised, we are aiming to tackle the root causes of poverty though communitylevel programs that will restore the marine and coastal resources on which Somalis rely, improve food security, livelihoods, and governance, while reducing the appeal of piracy and extremism.”