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Fall armyworm threatens livelihoods in Africa

February 28th, 2017 / Southern Times, Zimbabwe

African plant and animal disease experts held a crisis meeting in Harare last week on the spiraling fall armyworm outbreak which is destroying maize crops and posing a major threat to food security and agricultural trade in east, central and southern Africa.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation together with the …

Too much or not enough rain, we must manage soils and rainwater better

February 6th, 2017 / The Herald

Agro-ecologist, Franz Ulrich Fischer, who has experience working in southern Africa, told The Herald Business that several factors including population growth, changes in land use and deforestation had worsened the impact of extreme events, but damage could be curtailed.
“A key to addressing droughts and floods is looking closer to the …

After the devastating drought, armyworm could be our next agricultural disaster

February 5th, 2017 / Huffington Post, South Africa

The 2016/17 summer crop production season started on a slightly positive note for Southern Africa’s agricultural sector, after emerging from a devastating drought in the 2015/16 season. For South Africa, there are already promising indications that the country could retain its status as a net exporter of maize.
In the second …

Open letter to the Member States of the African Regional Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

December 5th, 2016 /, Zimbabwe

A specific concern is that the Arusha Protocol provides very strong intellectual property rights to breeders of uniform varieties, at the expense of farmers’ rights. There is nothing in the Protocol or the draft Regulations that expressly safeguards the right of smallholder farmers in the ARIPO region to freely use, …

Why small grains continue to resist winner takes all commercialisation

November 10th, 2016 / NewsDay, Zimbabwe

From Mali to Zimbabwe and South Africa to Southern Sudan, small grains remain an integral part of mainstream local food systems.
There are many reasons why small grains continue to pack a huge socio-economic punch in many countries.
To revisit and stimulate a frank discussion on the power of small grains, eMKambo …

Zimbabwe: Scientists unveil maize seeds resistant to heat, drought

October 28th, 2016 /

Scientists in Zimbabwe say they have developed new heat- and drought-tolerant varieties of maize that may be ready for sale ahead of the next planting season.
The seeds from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center were developed to combat drought-induced food insecurity that has affected millions in southern Africa over …

Lessons from how farmers view wealth creation as a holistic system

October 20th, 2016 / NewsDay, Zimbabwe

Although there is a tendency to treat the majority of African smallholder farmers as passive recipients of external information and knowledge, they are very good at learning from their experiences.
In Zimbabwe, eMKambo has discovered that farming communities and individual farmers contribute to the national knowledge base more than they will …

Innovative use of fertilisers revives hope for Africa’s Green Revolution

September 2nd, 2016 / New Times, Rwanda

Phillip Tshuma is a happy farmer. Despite one of the worst droughts ever to hit his country, Zimbabwe, Tshuma’s maize and small grains harvests this year are 50 per cent more than they were in 2015, thanks to micro-dosing, the targeted application of small quantities of fertiliser in a field.
Using …

Zimbabwe: innovative use of fertilizers revives hope for Africa’s green revolution

August 6th, 2016 / Zimbabwe Star

With a Green Revolution, Africa would be following in the footsteps of Asia and Latin America, where effective policies, new farming methods, improved inputs and high-yield seed varieties have improved harvests and reduced poverty.
Although no country has met the target for 2015, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, the African Union commissioner for …

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe declares drought disaster

February 6th, 2016 / BBC, UK

The United Nations World Food Programme has said some 14 million people face hunger in southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. South Africa, Namibia and Botswana have also been badly hit. Read …