A plant species for men and animals

DESERTIFICATION

Photo credit: Pixabay

Elephant in the spekboom bush at The Thailand elephant sanctuary

Elephant bush to combat desertification and hunger

by Willem VAN COTTHEM – Ghent University (Belgium)

In addition to a former posting on this blog:  AFRICA: Finding the food crops of the future

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=88225

and a number of postings on the elephant bush or spekboom (Portulacaria afra Jacq.), I am dedicating a major part of this text and some photos to this remarkable plant species.

Climate change could make that classical staple foods can’t be grown anymore in the same climatic zones.  Hence, people would need to grow other crops. In your own country, which would be the food crops of the future? What kind of options for continued food security will you have?  Do we need scientists to do years of research work on climate models linked to agriculture and horticulture to determine which will be the crop…

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Nigeria: Apply to the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes), Lagos

Kalu Samuel's Blog

The Lagos State Government in continuation of the 10 Point Agenda to create wealth, ensure food security and alleviate poverty through entrepreneurial training in modern agriculture is seeking applications from suitably qualified candidates for
placement in the third phase of the six months intensive training course, the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes).

The Agric-Yes programme is a 3 phased programme which includes a six month intensive hands-on practical based training in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping.
Other highlights of the programme are a six month exposure to agriculture best practices in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping in a commercial farm as well as a permanent settlement in Farm estates in various locations in the State.

Requirements for admission into the six months programme include:
* a passion for agriculture
* possession of a recognized
degree and diplomas from universities and polytechnics
* minimum of senior…

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Changes in grazing land management and implications on livestock production in West Shoa Zone

LIVES-Ethiopia

Harvesting hay in West shoa zone, Oromia (photo:ILRIAbule Ebro). Harvesting hay in West Shoa Zone, Oromia (photo:ILRIAbule Ebro).

Grazing land contributes about 67% of livestock feed resources in West Shoa Zone in Oromia, Ethiopia; making it an important resource that deserves attention. This blog story shares the perceptions of communities and experts about the vast wetland grazing areas in the highlands of Ejere and Ada-Berga districts of West Shoa Zone.

Before 2007-08, the system of wetland grazing management  in Ejere and Ada-Berga was communal although there was loose control by individuals on their grazing lands. Nowadays, however, private grazing land and hay preparation are more common in West Shoa Zone. ‘If a person is herding animals in June in one place, you will find them in the same place in September’ explains a community member in West Shoa Zone; showing the high level of private use of grazing lands and the disruption of the previous system that rotated grazing between wetland…

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Container gardening to alleviate hunger

DESERTIFICATION

Container gardening against hunger and child malnutrition

by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

EXCERPT

In Belgium, I am growing continuously plants in bottles and pots, thus reducing irrigation for at least 50 %. My plants do not need special care: I can leave them for weeks and weeks without “labouring my garden”. See my blog: http://containergardening.wordpress.com

Thousands of photos collected in the albums of my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/willemvancotthem) make it clear that anyone in the developing countries can copy these experiments and multiply the type and number of containers to produce a sufficient quantity of fresh food and seedlings of fruit trees. This can be done (even by children at school) at almost no cost.

Why don’t we set up a large-scale test in one of the areas affected by hunger to show once again what is already known? Why continuously importing expensive food if every single person…

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Combat hunger in the drylands by growing food in containers (Insana DEE / Lisa DIBBLE / Willem VAN COTTHEM)

DESERTIFICATION

My name is Willem VAN COTTHEM.  I am a honorary professor of botany of the University of Ghent (Belgium) and member of the Committee for Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD.  I am particularly interested in the desertification problem and in sustainable solutions for the problems of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Let me invite you to have a close look at Insana DEE’s photo (New Harmony, Utah, USA) :

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=400213486686468&set=a.400212350019915.83471.100000934606241&type=1&theaterInsana 

Spuds growing in bins in dry Utah (Photo Insana DEE)

Insana DEE gave us a remarkable plea for container gardening in the drylands :

I have really rocky soil (as you can see). So it’s hard to grow ground crops here. I don’t have irrigation water. Everything has to be watered with a hose and dribblers. So the container gardens worked best for me. They’re much easier to weed and maintain as well and it helps keep weeds…

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To produce climate-resilient food crops or to use existing ones?

DESERTIFICATION

A nice stand of the spineless (edible) Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis in Staoueli (Algiers) – Photo credit WVC 2007

Drought-tolerant or climate resilient plants to combat desertification

by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM – University of Ghent (Belgium)

I have been reading a very interesting publication at IRINNEWS http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=88225

entitled AFRICA: Finding the food crops of the future

Climate change could make that classical staple foods can’t be grown anymore in the climatic zones of today.  People would need to grow other crops. In my own country Belgium, which would be the food crops of the future? What kind of options for continued food security will we have?  Do we need scientists to do years of research work on climate models linked to agriculture and horticulture to determine which will be the crop yields in the future?  Or can we use existing climate-resilient crops in a ‘new’ environment created by…

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