One of the key features of the African digital renaissance is that it is increasingly home grown. In other sectors of the African economy, such as mining or agribusiness, much of the know-how is imported and the wealth extracted. But Africa’s 700 million or so mobile subscribers use services that are provided locally, and they are also downloading more applications that are developed locally.
NAIROBI, Kenya. (27 March 2014) —-Agroforestry, combined with land and water management practices that increase agricultural productivity, can save watersheds from degradation.
A study conducted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in the Gabayan watershed in eastern Bohol, Philippines, has shown that agroforestry systems create a more sustainably managed watershed that allows people living there to benefit from the ecosystem. The benefits include higher crop yields, increased income and resilience to climate change.
Agroforestry is an integrated land-use management technique that incorporates trees and shrubs with crops and livestock on farms.
The study, called Modeling the effects of adopting agroforestry on basin scale surface runoff and sediment yield in the Philippines, uses a computer-based Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to simulate the effects of different land uses on watershed hydrology and the ecosystem services provided by the Gabayan watershed. The tool predicts the environmental impact of land use, land management practices, and climate change.
Watersheds are areas of land with streams and rivers that all drain into a larger body of water, such as a bigger river, a lake or an ocean. Watersheds not only supply water for domestic use but also provide a multitude of ecological and cultural services, including water for irrigation and industry, shelter, habitats for biodiversity and, in very poor areas, sources of livelihoods.
Over the years, however, many watersheds throughout the world have suffered from intensive resource extraction and mismanagement. In countries like the Philippines, several watershed areas in the country are now degraded due to deforestation and soil erosion.
The Gabayan watershed incorporates a heavily degraded, multi-use landscape covering over 5000 hectares hosting about 60,000 people whose livelihoods depend on subsistence agriculture
Farmers here have reported environmental problems, such as floods, droughts, reductions in water quality and increases in soil erosion and downstream sedimentation of irrigation networks.
“The degraded watershed has been largely deforested and replaced with extensive agricultural and grasslands over the last half century”, says David Wilson, the lead researcher. “It has disrupted the evenness of river flow, resulting in alternate flooding and drought episodes, an accelerated level of soil erosion as well as downstream sedimentation”.
SWAT was used to simulate the impacts of current land-use practices and conservation agriculture with agroforestry in strategic locations. The study results showed a significant reduction in sediment yield (20%) and sediment concentration (35%)in the Gabayan watershed under agroforestry and conservation agriculture.
The study was therefore able to provide scientific evidence that agroforestry, combined with improved land management practices, are an effective land-use strategy for the watersheds.
“Specifically, the use of restored areas that have vegetation next to water resources and contour planting in grasslands appear to be the most effective techniques to reduce sediment transfer to the watershed river network”, says Wilson.
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and working in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and South America, is the world’s leading research institution on the diverse role trees play in agricultural landscapes and rural livelihoods. As part of its work to bring tree-based solutions to bear on poverty and environmental problems, the Centre’s researchers – working in close collaboration with national partners – have developed new technologies, tools and policy recommendations for increased food security and ecosystem health. For more information, visit http://www.worldagroforestry.orgTags: Agriculture, world agroforestry centre, africa, Soil and water assessment tool
Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other representatives of South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia, participating in the First Ministerial Meeting of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African Partner Countries, on Wednesday agreed that they would work to conclude and sign a Memorandum of Understanding, defining the spirit and scope of their cooperation, by June 30, 2015. This, in turn, will be the first step in the creation of a Multilateral Agreement, to be signed by January 1, 2018. This was one of the Pretoria Resolutions, which encompass the outcomes of the First Ministerial Meeting, signed in Pretoria on Wednesday. “This is the first time that Ministers and Deputy Ministers have got together to agree on the way forward,” South African Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom told a press conference after the signing.
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The Department of Science and Technology reported on Tuesday that Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom had authorised the creation of five new Centres of Excellence (CoEs). The purpose of CoEs is to drive joint interdisciplinary research between research institutions and to develop high level skills in “priority research areas”.
“The new CoEs will contribute to South Africa’s knowledge-generation capacity, increase the number of world-class researchers and attract and retain research excellence,” said Hanekom. His decision takes the number of CoEs created since 2004 to 14.
CoEs head research in areas that are regarded as being of national interest. They are intended to speed up the provision of the necessary human resources and knowledge capacity. They also serve to make South African research more internationally competitive and to stimulate research excellence and develop capacity.
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Last year, a bipartisan group of 23 members of Congress, hosted by the Aspen Institute, travelled to Ethiopia to get a firsthand view of the progress the country was making in modernizing agricultureand smallholder farming. This was the largest congressional delegation to visit sub-Saharan Africa in decades—maybe ever. This trip served to brief the congressmen on how a unique Ethiopian government agency, dedicated to agricultural transformation, is emerging as a model for bureaucratic collaboration and helping to feed millions of Ethiopians.Agriculture, africa
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, Addis Ababa University and the Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS) to establish the East African regional node of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in Ethiopia. The agreement was signed in Addis Ababa on January 10. The OAD is based in Cape Town and the East African regional node will be the third such entity, after one set up in China to cover East Asia and another placed in Thailand for South East Asia.
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African innovators need access to the best technology. We now have the most inexpensive 3D Printer in the world and if you buy from Africa, We will deliver it personally in February during our African Geeks Gone Global Trip. http://geekheaven.co/gadgets/