Ties that bind: Building climate resilient smallholder agriculture networks in Africa

As governments and regional actors around the world gear up to engage in COP17 Durban, South Africa, it is essential for all stakeholders including farmers’ organisations to have structured engagement and interaction with the ongoing climate deliberations and outcomes. The public expenditure and smallholder agricultural project of Idasa hosted a roundtable discussion on how best to develop climate-resilient smallholder agriculture communities around Africa and how best to shape stakeholder interest in the way climate-based policies and finances are shaping future development and common outcomes in the sector. In this second seminar series, stakeholders discussed the impact of climate change in Africa and mechanisms in creating integrated climate resilient strategies. Panelists, including farmers and CSO leaders from Zambia and South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, shared their experiences in building climate resilient communities. Read more here.
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Idasa asks where is Africa heading?

Idasa has issued a call to the African Union, the United Nations, development agencies and think tanks to engage in a very honest appraisal of the transition processes currently in practice on the continent. We remind our fellow African citizens that with a number of elections pending in Africa, and as our continent moves towards democracy, now is the time to reiterate our call to respect democratic, electoral processes and outcomes. Countries like Ghana, Zambia and South Africa have held successful democratic elections, but we can’t afford to ignore the lessons of Ivory Coast. To prevent such bloodshed in future we recognise the role of the African Union to determine African solutions to African problems, but call for honest debate on its capacity and willingness to do so. We also recognise the responsibility of the international community to protect civilians but believe there is an urgent need for clarity on the international interventions in situations where the rights of self determination are superseded by the need to protect innocent civilians in conflict between governments and their peoples.

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Cassava combating rural hunger in Zambia

In Zambia, local scientists have successfully developed four new, early-maturing and high-yielding cassava cultivars in an ambitious research project conducted in the cassava-rich Luapula Province, under the ongoing Root and Tuber Improvement Programme (RTIP). Experts say the laboratory-tested and field-proven cultivars – with their advantages of halved maturity time and increased production output over the traditional varieties – have demonstrable potential to significantly transform Zambia’s socio-economic landscape. Read more here.

Agricultural productivity, rural livelihood and trade in agriculture

Similar to Malawi’s National Dialogue, Zambia’s FEATS National Dialogue was held in Lusaka on 4 October 2010. The presentation by NRG FEATS Project recommended ways for government to provide complementary services, reduce policy confusion, provide trade facilitation infrastructure and regional & MT negotiations, promote emergence of farmer organisation to encourage a coordinated approach to export promotion, reprioritise its expenditure on agriculture and other policy interventions. Read more here.

Ask Your Government Initiative

The Ask Your Government Initiative aims to reveal the extent to which governments are actually fulfilling their commitments in the areas critical to development, such as, maternal health, aid effectiveness, and environmental protection.  As part of the initiative, five partners of the International Budget Project (IBP) in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia recorded audio diaries of their efforts to request and obtain budget information from their governments on these issues.  Based on the audio diaries, the IBP produced a five-part series of radio programs.  Meet the researchers in these countries as they tell their stories, find out if their governments answered their questions, and talk about what you think about access to public budget information practices in your country. Idasa’s Thembinkosi Dlamini participated in the Ask Your Government Initiative. Listen to them here.

Idasa working with AIDS groups in five African countries

Democracy institute Idasa will be working in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia focusing on HIV and AIDS and human rights. Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP) has already held meetings with government officials from various ministries and members from groups like the Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL), UNAIDS and UNDP. Memoranda of Understandings have been (MOU) signed with the African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (AFRICASO), and the East African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO) and GAP is also participating in the Legislative Assembles with EANNASO.

Farmers desperate as virus ravages cassava crops

Kampala: Brown streak virus — named for the marks it leaves on the plant stem — is now ravaging cassava crops in a great swath around Lake Victoria, threatening millions of East Africans who grow the tuber as their staple food. Dr. Fauquet fears brown streak will cross the Congo Basin to Nigeria, the world’s biggest grower, because farmers sell cuttings to one another and border controls are nonexistent or can be evaded. Read more here.