Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Government Must Support Rural Women To Adopt Organic Farming Practices

As Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day for Rural Women and the World Food Day, agricultural activists are calling on the government to support women especially those in the rural areas to effectively adopt organic farming practices which they say are environmentally friendly and also cheap to practice compared to conventional farming.

The activists under their umbrella Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum Uganda chapter {ESAFF-Uganda) say that organic farming can support rural women to overcome the challenges of poverty since the practices require farmers to use indigenous knowledge.

They add that the agricultural products produced through organic farming are highly demanded both on local, regional and international markets across the World.

"The demand for the organic products locally and internationally is high compared to products from convectional farming practices however our farmers especially those in the rural areas are still ignorant about the economic potential associated with organic farming that is why government should come out to promote it since it has the potential to uplift our rural farmers from poverty," said Nancy Walimbwa Mugimba, the National Coordinator of ESAFF –Uganda.

She added that consuming organically produced foodstuffs has social and health benefits to the citizens as compared to products produced in the conventional way such

"Majority of us know some of the major benefits of consuming organically grown food; the reduction in exposure to pesticides and GMOs, the increased intake of nutritional foods and the fact that it tastes better than conventionally grown food.

“But do you also know by supporting the growth of organic foods and consuming organic products – practicing organic farming and its use of recycled organic materials (such as composting), provides us with an opportunity to make choices in enabling food waste to be reused and recycled back into the soil as fertilizer this saves our biodiversity which has been highly degraded by farming chemicals,” she added

To ensure that local farmers especially the rural women appreciate the positive impacts of organic farming, ESAFF- Uganda and its partner organizations have organized the organic week in celebration of International Day for Rural Women on the 15th October and the World Food Day on the 16th signifying the role of farmers especially women play in feeding this nation.

The national organic week will be hosted in Northern Uganda where the activists alongside farmers will be showcasing agricultural products produced in organic way.

Among the key activities to be undertaken during the week include radio talk shows about organic farming practices, public dialogues between sector players and local government leaders from key selected districts in Acholi sub-region.

Why are activists more concerned with the agricultural sector?

Agriculture plays an important role in Uganda's economy accounting for 20 per cent of the GDP in fiscal year 2017/2018 and 43 per cent of export earnings.

The sector still faces a number of challenges like the tremendous effects in the changes in temperatures causing droughts leading to crop failure, which in the long run increases food insecurities and Malnutrition.

Small scale farmers have continued to state that organic agriculture still plays a great role in tackling some of these effects despite the constant pressure to assimilate into modern culture and join the free-market and globalized economy.

Uganda as a country is ranked second to Tanzania in Africa in terms of acreage (standing at 262,282 hectares) while second globally to India in terms of certified farmers (210,352) engaged in organic farming.

Sustaining this system, therefore, provides Uganda with a comparative advantage to produce healthy food, employment creation, environmental conservation, increased household incomes and economic development.

The non-state actors believe that once government effectively implements the recently passed National Organic Agriculture Policy (NAOP) in place with proper implementation and awareness mechanisms it will give small scale farmers an opportunity to reap more from their gardens and lessen their dependence on global market for their incomes, which is often not enough to buy the food they once produced in ages.

Empowering Africa to Make Energy Work

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, Gwede Mantashe, launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report at the Africa Oil & Power conference; Under the second day’s theme of “Energy in Powering Growth”.

Panel discussions and talk sessions unpacked the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s power sector; Program highlights included topics such as the energy transition, Africa’s renewable energy sector, financing the power sector and energy security.

Following the successful conclusion of the first day of the three-day African Oil &Power conference and exhibition, the second day commenced today with a focus on the future of Africa’s power sector.

The day began with a keynote address from Kholly Zono, Acting CEO of CEF Group, who introduced Hon. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa.

In his introduction, Zono outlined CEF Group’ energy s strategies and shared that the CEF group is, in line with the conference theme, motivated by the goal of making energy work and, is driven by the agenda of addressing inequality, unemployment, and poverty.

He said, at the core of its strategy, the group is built on the fundamental principles of empowering people and innovation.

“The theme of the conference #MakeEnergyWork resonates very well with the CEF Group of companies, taking into account the global challenges in terms of energy requirements,” Zono said. “Making energy work is challenging us to move beyond strategies and focus on innovative approaches.”

In his keynote address, Minister Mantashe spoke about the role the energy sector plays in driving economic growth.

“South Africa recognises the energy and mineral resources sectors as catalysts to economic growth. We have witnessed how an adverse impact of high costs and unreliable supply of energy have on the productive sectors of the economy,” Mantashe stated.

He further added that the government is also promoting the Integrated Resource Plan and the Amendment to the Gas Act of 2001 to encourage investment in the energy sector and to increase energy security in the continent.

Minister Mantashe also launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report compiled by Africa Oil & Power and dedicated it to the late Deputy Minister, Bavelile Hlongwe.

In a renewable energy panel discussion moderated by Esther Lediga, Managing Director of Intra-Afrika Advisory, CEOs of companies operating in the sector from across the continent agreed that the clean, reliable and sustainable energy has a big role to play in lighting up Africa.

“Renewables have moved at a very fast pace. Many governments are still getting their heads around how to implement it in the best possible way. The benefits of renewable is multi-fold,” said David Masureik, CEO of New Southern Energy.

On building a sustainable renewable energy future, Maduna Ngobeni, Head of Regional Programmes at IPPO, said: “We shouldn’t compete with each other. We need to strive for a common goal – we need to understand where we want to be and how we get there.

How exactly do we make the environment conducive? What kind of project do you want? The private sector needs clear framework that will show: ‘for the next five to ten years, this is how we will roll it out’.”

In tune with this, the CSIR’s Energy Centre Head, Dr Clinton Carter-Brown, in an AOP talk session addressed South Africa’s energy transition to decarbonisation based on mostly renewable energy and highlighted that the transition presents more opportunities than challenges for the country.

“South Africa is well-positioned to be among regional and global leaders transitioning the energy system. Therefore strategic investment in research and development initiatives that speak to technology innovation and industrialization are paramount.”

In a utility of the future panel discussion joined by Sustain Power, Matleng Energy Solutions, USAID/Power Africa and more, the panel agreed on a customer-focused and sustainable strategies as the way forward. Rather than seeing the difficulties facing Africa as obstacles, the panel believes that these challenges hold the potential for Africa to get ahead of trend.

“Everyone wants to get off the grid. It’s a chance to leapfrog. If there’s an opportunity to leapfrog into new technology in Africa … [we] can become a leader in this worldwide.”

In the latter part of the day, the conference saw a panel discussions on financing the power sector. Participants on the panel included DMWA Resources, Afreximbank and others.

Noble Energy delivered a presentation on the Alen Gas Monetization, followed by Sasol and South Africa’s Independent Power Producer’s Office (IPPO) which highlighted how South Africa’s transition into renewable energy needs to factor in the human reliance on the coal industry.

“Our transformation is also very much a process that needs to consider the impact on the economy and the impact on the people who are deployed in the sectors that are affected,” said Sandra Coetzee, Acting Head of the IPPO.

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Girls In West Nile To Get Sanitary Towel Making Skills

A local Non Government Organization (NGO) in the West Nile district of Zombo called Nile Girls Forum launched a mentorship club at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School in Zombo district.

This was during the celebrations to mark this year’s Day of the Girl Child at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School last Friday.

The CEO of Nile Girls Forum Ms. Peace Monica Pimer said the club will be used to train girls to make reusable sanitary towels and beading. "This is part of our hands-on skills program in West Nile sub-region in Northern Uganda," she said.

The efforts by Ms. Pimer and Nile Girls Forum received praise from local leaders, educationists and well-wishers for giving the girls in the area a platform to acquire skills that will help them live a better life.

The district dducation dffer, Nicholas Odeba, said this was a great opportunity for the girls to better their lives and Alfred Okura, the Jangokoro Sub County youth councilor, appealed to the youth in the area to get involved in the initiative.

Patrick Angetu, the director of studies at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School thanked Nile Girls Forum for empowering the girls.

“Where there is a will, there is a way. Continue with the great work of encouraging girls to keep in school. Indeed girls are unstoppable when empowered to be better," he said.

A delighted Rogers Cothoilum, the headteacher Jangokoro Seed Secondary School stated that initiate to train girls with hands-on skills by Nile Girls Forum will keep the girls in school.

Rally Drivers Get Free Victoria University First Aid Training

Victoria University Friday offered free first aid training to motor sports rally drivers and co-drivers from different clubs in the country.

The training, university vice chancellor Assoc. Prof. Krishna Sharma, said was aimed at reducing injuries and accidents during racing.

It was a mix of theory and a hands on skills training conducted in the well and fully equipped nursing skills laboratory of Victoria University.

Over 40 participants from different Uganda motor sports rally clubs, students and staff of various universities attended the one day training facilitate by Dr. Kevin Nwanna, the Dean of Health Science faculty.

Other university officials who were actively present at the training included Frank Kalyango, the head of Department and James Kateregga, a lecturer.

Dr. Kevin Nwanna, the Ag. Dean Faculty of Health Science noted that the training will have a positive impact on the society in terms of reducing the burden of injuries and accidents in various hospitals.

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