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Archive for the category “Agriculture”

Opinion: Must be boring to fight the same fight for over 3 decades and fail!

The NRM struggled to usher peace in the country. Peace ignited infrastructure development. The remaining task is wealth creation mobilisation at household level. A person with a reasonable piece of land is able to handle any agricultural practice” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the 5th August 2019 in Bundibugyo district

If there is anyone who promotes steady progress, must see the last three months as free-fall and as a weakness. The Museveni Wealth Creation Tour, which needed billions upon billions extra paid for, as he opened municipal roads built on donor funds and other projects, which is minor. But big enough for photo-ops.

The President usually came with the same swagger and talking-points, its sort of the same statements, as the citizens will create wealth on small farming with the usage of the right cash-crops. This has been spread to all sorts of initiatives and state sponsored agricultural benefits. Not that they have worked and have failed, one after another. Just like it was meant to be, than the state launches another one battling rural poverty, another donor funded enterprise and gets seedlings, tractors and whatnot to Gulu/Lira. Two years later, the whole cooperation is dead and the President has to come a revive the dead.

This is happening again and again. He comes with small donations, some insignificant changes, promise challenging different. Blames leaders, the Residential District Commanders, the Opposition politicians and even some of the locals ones get caught in the blender too. Until it makes a badly tasting stew, that he serves with a little bit of ignorance of the actual needs. Because, if he had cared about that, the President would have served that a long time ago.

The state has enough schemes, Operation Wealth Creations, NAADs and SACCOs, but none of these is cutting the chase. They are just not up to it and it seems they are there to create a money laundering operation. Because, the state is never up to it and seems to be keen to deliver. They don’t have the needed expertise, the allocations in time or even ordering the right type of crop for the right soil/climate or historical production in that area. It seems something fails, neither the hook or by the crook.

Therefore, it must be boring to scream the same message, that he has spoken of for 3 decades, the message and the promise of greener pasture. The promise, that if you follow me and plant these green seeds, your will grow profits. You grandchildren will eat and they will be able to sell. But we have seen how the state functions.

As the state supported the Soroti Fruit Factory, however, the local farmers produced the right type of fruits, but the factory couldn’t handle the amount and the fruits got wasted. Therefore, the state cannot manage to deliver or even compensate the lost investments of the farmers. Still, he comes around like a King and promises golden roads to heaven. If you follows him.

The same message, that if you grow the right thing as he says, it will pay off. That is his way of fighting poverty. Not educating their kids, not enlighten them with knowledge or skills for the future. No, plant the right type of coffee or sorghum and vote the NRM. This is what the President has spoken of, again and again.

It must be so sad. So brilliantly waste of time. That he speaks of the same, promise the same deliverance from poverty. Pledges the same sort of stories and with the same punchline. And don’t see the foolishness of it. That he has failed, time and time again. The President has had 33 years to fix this. Still, he hasn’t achieved it. His fighting the same fight, as he started in the Bush.

Clearly, the President haven’t managed, haven’t been as visionary or carefully crafting the ministries, the districts, the sub-counties and the agricultural welfare, to be able to follow up, upon the message that he spread since the inception of the NRA. The man of the mustard seed, the man who could conclusively state all the ills of the leadership in Africa. Has clearly lost his touch, his supposed brilliance and uniqueness.

Since, he got to recycle, got to go in circle and never ever win. He has got to use the same methods, the same sort of fight and not winning. Surely, his failed and a giant failure. The peasants are still peasants, they are not middle-class, they cannot afford Benz’s and Lexus, they can barely afford millet and matooki. That is how it is. Utter total failure of policy, of implementation and revision of it.

That can be said, because his track-record says so. If it was working so well, why would he bring the same remedy and same message all-over again? Peace.

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Uganda Peoples Congress: Caution on Coffee Bill (17.07.2019)

Drought in Somalia and Somaliland: Lives Teetering on the Edge (18.06.2019)

UNHCR warns of growing climate-related displacement in Somalia (05.06.2019)

An estimated 5.4 million people are likely to be food insecure by September.

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 5, 2019 -This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Ahead of World Environment Day tomorrow, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling for urgent additional support to help people affected and displaced by drought in Somalia.

Below average rains during the “Gu” (April-June 2019) and “Deyr” (October – December 2018) rainy seasons have caused worsening drought in many parts of the country. An estimated 5.4 million people are likely to be food insecure by September.

Some 2.2 million of these will be in severe conditions needing immediate emergency assistance unless aid is urgently scaled up.

The drought has also forced more than 49,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning of the year as they search for food, water, aid and work mostly in urban areas. People who are already displaced because of conflict and violence are also affected by the drought, at times disproportionally.

More than 7,000 people were displaced last month alone.

Three main regions of Somalia – South Central, Puntland and Somaliland – have been affected, despite marginal to average rains and flash flooding in some regions. The worst affected areas include the Sanaag, Sool, Awdal, Bari, Nugaal, Mudug, Galgadud, Hiran regions of the country.

The latest drought comes just as the country was starting to recover from a drought in 2016 to 2017 that led to the displacement inside Somalia of over a million people. Many remain in a protracted state of displacement.

UNHCR and humanitarian partners fear that severe climatic conditions combined with armed conflict and protracted displacement could push the country into a far bigger humanitarian emergency. Decades of climatic shocks and conflict have left more than 2.6 million people internally displaced.

To avert a humanitarian crisis, aid agencies launched a Drought Response Plan on 20 May, appealing for US$710.5 million to provide life-saving assistance to 4.5 million people affected by the drought. To date this is 20 per cent funded.

UNHCR has been working with partners and government agencies to assist those affected and displaced by the drought by providing emergency assistance in some of the most affected areas.

Worldwide, weather-related hazards, including storms, cyclones, floods, droughts, wildfires and landslides displaced 16.1 million people last year alone.

With climate change amplifying the frequency and intensity of sudden disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and tornados, and contributing to more gradual environmental phenomena, such as drought and rising sea levels, it is expected to drive even more displacement in the future.

UNHCR is calling for more international action to prevent climate-related disasters, scale up efforts to strengthen resilience and to protect people affected by climate change using all available legal frameworks.

Opinion: The OWC is a total failure, no regional coordinators can save it!

Well, it had to come to this, that the President Yoweri Kagtua Museveni knows that the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) infused Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is failing. As the previously Parliament Report has said too. That is why its ironic that the President is using more and more funds on promoting it. Because, it is clearly failing because of lack of implementation and coordination.

The OWC is run by his Gen. Salim Selah and his associates are eating of this plate. That is well-known. To say otherwise is to be blind to the fact and the usage of this is to gain more funds out the state coffers. It isn’t only to supposedly elevate the rural farmers and their cash-crops. Because, if it was so, the OWC would have worked already.

The OWC with a few coordinators will only be more patronage. As the OWC which is run by the army, should gotten help and implementation from the Residential District Commanders. As their duty is to progress the works of the government, which happens to be the OWC, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Savings and Credit Co-Operative Society (SACCOs), Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), Northern Uganda Resilience Initiative (NURI) and whatever else the President see fit.

We can act a fool and celebrate that a few more brothers get a job, but the reality it is a shit-show and the results are in the pudding. We can act like its a good idea, but it seems only to fix more cronies of the President, than actually make a difference. If it had, the OWC and the other funding schemes would work for the public.

We know already the OWC is not able to find the right seedlings, deliver them on time or to the proper district. Therefore, the spending on the OWC is already exaggerated and excessive. That is why the act of getting coordinators is more a front, than actually changing it. If the OWC was serious, the OWC organization would have implemented some of the advice giving in the Parliament Report of 2018. However, that never appeared, because than the President have to discredit Salim Selah and that’s not happening.

The reality is that the OWC cannot be fixed, not because its impossible. But as long as these power structures are there, it will most likely amount to nothing. Since that is how it is. President Museveni knows this and is the aide in charge for keeping it. He knows that these coordinators will not amount to much. Just like the RDCs are not acting up as per request of the President, if they have even gotten the memo from him. They will be blasted in a campaign rally and used as pawns in need.

It is weird that the OWC are in thes issues, that funds getting missed, lack of coordination and logistics, that such a vital part of National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government Programme. This programme is the promoted and favourable theme for the campaigns done in all of May 2019. That is why the programme should be the perfect window of what the NRM has done in power. Instead, the programme shows the lack of governance and the misuse of state funds. The NRM should focus on something they have actually achieved and made changes with. As they are amending and twisting the OWC to make it seem successful, even when it isn’t.

The President should look to other ways if his serious about reforms, about progress or wanting to make a difference. But this scheme isn’t for that, it is to enriching his cronies and ensuring that the patronage has an avenue for wealth. If it was differently, than the state would have made sufficient changes to actually get the farmers to yield more out of their investments. Alas, that is not happening.

No coordinators will make the needed push for the OWC. The OWC will be messed up as long as the patronage gets to control it, the coordinators is just an extended hand to be fed by it. Not make work. Peace.

The Sudan – Impact of Early Warning Early Action (20.05.2019)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is developing innovative early warning systems to anticipate risks and intervene at the right time.

ROME, Italy, May 20, 2019 –  Climate-driven hazards are increasing in intensity and frequency, with weather‑related crises now occurring nearly five times as often as 40 years ago. At the same time, needs are expanding and resources are limited. New tools and ways of thinking and acting are essential to reduce the impact of these disasters as effectively as possible.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is developing innovative early warning systems to anticipate risks and intervene at the right time. The right time is often early – before a crisis becomes a humanitarian disaster. FAO’s approach is shifting from a reactive mind-set to one focused on mitigation and prevention.

When the state of Kassala in eastern Sudan experienced a dry spell in 2017 and 2018, FAO took steps early to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable agropastoralists. This study analyses the outcomes of FAO’s Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) approach in the Sudan. They complement and reinforce earlier findings in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia which demonstrated that early actions have a significant return on investment and are an effective way to address drought in Africa’s agropastoralist regions.

FAO raises alarm over disastrous drought in Somalia where over 2 million people face severe hunger (16.05.2019)

Life-saving and livelihood support urgently needed to prevent loss of lives.

ROME, Italy, May 16, 2019 – A disastrous drought in Somalia could leave some 2.2 million people – nearly 18 percent of the population – faced with severe hunger during the July-September period, FAO warned today.

The UN agency issued a special alert on Somalia, indicating that the number of hungry people in the country this year is expected to be 40 percent higher than estimates made at the beginning of 2019.

A deteriorating nutritional status is also of major concern, according to the alert. Acute malnutrition rates as well as the number of acutely malnourished children being admitted to therapeutic feeding centres have sharply increased in 2019.

“Rains in April and early May can make or break Somalis’ food security for the whole year as they are crucial for the country’s main annual harvest in July, following the “Gu” rainy season,” said Mario Zappacosta, FAO Senior Economist and lead of the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

“A significant lack of rains in April and early May has rendered dry and barren up to 85 percent of the croplands in the country’s breadbaskets, and according to the latest projections, food grown during the “Gu” season is likely to be 50 percent below average,” he added.

The latest projection is based on data gathered by FAO experts – including sophisticated analyses of rainfall, temperatures, water availability and vegetation health – that point to the worst drought in years. Some rains are expected in May, but these will be insufficient and arrive too late for crop and pasture recovery before the onset of the dry season.

For example, in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, which produces more than 60 percent of maize grown during the “Gu” season, severe dryness has prevailed so far, with only some scattered, below-average rains occurring in late April and early May.

Drought conditions also affected other major crop producing areas, including the Bay region’s “sorghum belt”, which accounts for more than half of the country’s sorghum production during the “Gu” season, and the “cowpea belt” in Middle Shabelle, Mudug and Galgaduud regions.

Drought takes a heavy toll on herders and their livestock

Poor rains since last October have also taken a heavy toll on herders and their livestock as vegetation has been drying up and water has been increasingly scarce.

The FAO alert warns of a worrying number of animals in very poor health conditions – due to low body weight and drought-induced diseases – in the country’s central and northern regions.

“Herders in the worst drought-affected areas – such as central Galgaduud and in northern Bari and Sanaag regions – have been forced to slaughter the offspring of their goats and sheep as they don’t have enough fodder and water for all their animals, and try to save the milk-producing female livestock,” said FAO Somalia Representative Serge Tissot.

Many herders have not been able to replace livestock lost during the 2017 drought that ravaged the country, so they already have less resources. Now, on top of that, as food and water become scarcer, they have to pay higher prices for trucked-in water and their daily food,” added Tissot.

Action is needed now to prevent loss of lives

Drought and early depletion of food stocks, compounded by declining employment opportunities and low wages for farmers, shortages of livestock products in pastoral areas as well as both heightened conflict and a reduction of humanitarian assistance since early 2019 have all led to a sharp deterioration of the food security situation in the country.

FAO is scaling up its response to prevent an already alarming humanitarian situation from getting even worse. For this, FAO urgently needs more funds as it aims to support 2 million drought-affected people this year by providing critical livelihood support such as cash assistance, quality seeds, tools, and other agricultural services so farmers can make the most of the next planting season.

To protect their remaining livestock, herders require vital support such as water and supplementary feed. Countrywide animal health campaigns must also be rolled out quickly – starting with emergency livestock treatments to keep animals alive, healthy and productive.

Currently, FAO has a funding gap of about $115 million in Somalia.

Somalia: Fews Net – Seasonal Monitor – Dry conditions persist in much of northern Somalia and parts of central Somalia (14.05.2019)

Somalia: Early warning signs of severe drought and a major humanitarian crisis (DG ECHO, OCHA, FAO, WFP, IGAD) (ECHO Daily Flash of 27 April 2019)

  • “Analyses show that rainfall levels through mid-April will likely be amongst the driest on record (since 1981)…” (IGAD, 17/4/2019). Current conditions are worse than in the same period of 2017 and are only surpassed by the drought of 2011. Much of the Somali population affected in the 2017/18 drought has had no opportunity to recover.
  • Significant deficit in 2019 Gu rainfall is forecasted to continue in May, already resulting in water shortages, increased commodity prices, deterioration of livestock and agropastoral conditions, and displacement of people.
  • Food security situation and nutrition outlook are deteriorating, particularly in northern and central Somalia. 4.9 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, of which 1.5 million are in acute food insecurity. Should the forecasted deficit in rainfall persevere, the number of people in need of immediate assistance is expected to dramatically increase through 2019. Early action is needed to avert food security and nutrition crisis by scaling up immediate life-saving assistance. However, only 15% of the needs defined in the 2019 humanitarian response plan (HRP) seeking USD 1.08 billion are currently funded.

Humanitarian funds release US$45.7 million for life-saving assistance in Somalia (02.04.2019)

Despite improvements in the humanitarian situation in 2018, the food security situation in Somalia has deteriorated.

NEW YORK, United States of America, April 2, 2019 – The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) released a combined US$45.7 million today to scale up life-saving assistance in Somalia, where over 4.2 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance this year, including 900,000 acutely malnourished children.

“These allocations will enable humanitarian agencies in Somalia to deliver urgently needed food, clean water, health care and education support in the shortest possible time in areas where needs are the highest,” said Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. “We will prioritise delivery to children, women, the elderly, and people living with disabilities, who have suffered terribly as drought and conflict continue to drive the crisis in Somalia.” The $12-million CERF allocation will boost the response in the worst affected parts of northern Somalia, where 823,000 people are facing severe food insecurity. The funds will be used for food assistance in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions, and nutrition, health, and water and sanitation and hygiene programmes in Sool, Sanaag and Bari regions.

The $33.7 million SHF allocation will scale up protection, education and shelter support in northern Somalia, and other life-saving activities in central and southern Somalia. Most of the funding will go to national and international non-governmental organizations, while $700,000 will go to the UN Humanitarian Air Service, which helps move essential humanitarian goods and personnel.

“Support from CERF and the SHF will enable aid organizations to scale up and sustain life-saving assistance in the worst-affected areas in the country as the Jilaal (dry season) persists,” said George Conway, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “This allocation is critical, but further generous donor funding will be needed to sustain aid operations and support recovery across Somalia.” The SHF allocation is the largest since 2012 and would not have been possible without early donor support. Germany has been the top donor to the Fund since 2017; other top donors are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Despite improvements in the humanitarian situation in 2018, the food security situation in Somalia has deteriorated, particularly in the north, and in some central parts of the country due to poor Deyr seasonal rains, the lingering effects of the 2016/2017 drought, conflict, displacement and evictions. The number of people facing acute food insecurity or worse has remained at 1.5 million since last year, but with a geographical shift in needs towards northern Somalia. Overall, 4.9 million Somalis are estimated to be food insecure.

The 2019 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking $1.08 billion, is only 12 per cent funded to date. With conflict, displacement and climatic shocks persistently causing high levels of humanitarian and protection concerns, life-saving assistance must be sustained alongside livelihood support.

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