Category Archives: African Investment

Charity and Corporate Aid

A growing share of aid is spent by private firms, not charities

“THE gold rush is on!” That is how a cable from the American ambassador to Haiti described the descent of foreign firms upon Port-Au-Prince in early 2010. An earthquake had flattened the city and killed hundreds of thousands. This becomes a bonanza for charity services and corporate aid offered by private firms.

Charity Corporate aid

A deluge of aid presented an opportunity. The message, released by WikiLeaks, noted that AshBritt, a Florida-based disaster-recovery firm, was trying to sell a scheme to restore government buildings, and that other firms were also pitching proposals in a “veritable free-for-all”.

During the following two years $6 billion in aid flooded into a country of 10 million people, for everything from rebuilding homes to supporting pro-American political parties. Of $500 million or so in aid contracts from the American agency for international development (USAID), roughly 70% passed through the hands of private companies.

Haiti is one example of a trend of non-profit foundations, where aid is funneled through consultancies and other private-sector contractors that profit from the work. Nearly a quarter of USAID spending in 2016 went to for-profit firms, a share that was two-thirds higher than in 2008.

Charity Corporate aid

Think-tanks are still trying to work out where all the Haitian disaster-relief funding ended up. Private-sector involvement can further obscure the picture, because the winners of bids may use a host of subcontractors, or insist that some information is kept confidential for commercial reasons.

Even as aid budgets have grown, governments have sought to make aid departments smaller and more nimble. USAID have around the same number of employees now as they did when their budgets were just half as large in real terms. As aid agencies struggle to manage contracts, they have turned to the private sector.

Typically, firms win aid contracts at auction, rather than receiving grants, as charities do. Some have become global players. Chemonics, an American firm founded in 1975, is active in 70 countries. In 2015 it won a contract for health-care services with USAID worth up to $10.5 billion over eight years.

Together with the high cost of preparing bids—as much as $100,000—this has led to market concentration. Only large bidders can stomach the risks. A smaller firm’s best chance to pick up some of this work is to join a consortium led by a larger firm.

Charity Corporate aid

Private firms do seem to pay higher salaries than charities to their top executives. The bosses of the private firms earn on average more than $500,000 a year—more than twice as much as their non-profit peers. The total personnel costs proposed by non-profit firms were on average just two-fifths those proposed by private firms. What is more, the contracts won by for-profit outfits were more likely to bust their budgets and miss deadlines.

One reason for the shift towards the private sector is the changing nature of aid. A smaller share now is made up of traditional projects, such as building schools or handing out food parcels, and more is “technical assistance”, for example to streamline a country’s tax code and strengthen tax collection, or to set up an insurance scheme to help farmers when crops fail. Private firms may be best-placed to advise on, or even run, these schemes.

What is known, though, is that for-profit and non-profit groups work differently. A non-profit body typically has large bureaus in the countries where it works, or forms long-standing partnerships with local charities that do. It will consider whether a proposed project fits with its charitable purpose, and whether it has suitable in-house expertise; only then will it decide whether to bid. Firms, by contrast, tend to have fewer staff, and to rely on subcontractors and freelance experts who can be flown in for as long as a project lasts. This model means that firms may be less likely to understand local cultures, build relationships with governments and monitor long-term results. But it can also be more flexible, with firms matching expertise and staffing to each contract.

Cool aidCharity Corporate aid

One estimate puts the total value to firms of such “aid-like” work in developing countries at around $20 billion a year, a figure that is expected to rise. Having built their businesses on contracts with Western governments, private aid firms may need to diversify if they are to continue to thrive.

To shed light on the shift towards private-sector aid delivery, The Economist has analyzed 4,500 subcontracts from USAID worth more than $25,000 each. (All were granted since 2010. Those for which data were not available were excluded.) A third went to for-profit firms, and the rest to charities, NGOs or other governments. For contracts where a firm was the primary contractor, on average 41% of subcontracts went to other firms.

How to be the Change

Continue reading Charity and Corporate Aid

Decentralized Tree Nurseries in Africa

DECENTRALIZED TREE NURSERIES

More than 92 percent of all nurseries catering for villages are still located at regional and district levels. As a result, seedlings have to be transported long distances, sometimes even beyond 50 km. The inadequacy of transport is one of the major setbacks in tree-planting, in terms of both availability and cost. All efforts must be made to decentralize nurseries as much as conditions allow.

To bridge this energy supply-demand gap, a massive amount of tree-planting is needed. The natural forest is shrinking very fast, and most alternative energy sources have had no significant impact so far.

One of the main reasons tree-planting is failing among some African communities is that they are often given species only for firewood, like eucalyptus. 

 Weak village leadership contributes directly to delays over deciding whether to plant trees or not; and then, even if trees are planted, it can retard or neglect maintenance.

THE NEXT STEP: ORCHARDS AND BIOCHAR

Each woman farmer and their family will begin the task of preparing to plant 300 fruit and nut trees on their leased 1.5 acre farms, Every tree will need a 2- 3 feet diameter excavation, where a biochar earth mound will be built of branches.

nursery layout2

EARTH MOUND KILN

biochar mound

The earth mound kiln is built in the following manner:

The bottom of the base is covered with logs forming a grate or crib on which the wood is piled vertically. The grate forms a free space between the bottom and the wood charge through which the air necessary for the carbonization process passes. The piled wood is covered with leaves and grass and then earth about 20 cm (8”) thick.

The pile has an outside stack made of steel drums, which is connected to the pile through a flue cut into the ground, running under the pile and covered with round logs. The pile has a number of air vents located around the circular base.

biochar soil management

The carbonization process is started by introducing a torch into the firing flue opposite the stack. This type of pile is reported to be easy to operate to produce good charcoal quality with a yield of 55% charcoal to wood by volume. The pile’s volume varies from 100 to 250 m³ of wood. The whole cycle takes 24 days; four days for charging, six days for carbonization, ten days for cooling and four days for discharge.

 Carbon Emission to be Solved

Continue reading Decentralized Tree Nurseries in Africa

Productive African Farms and Emissions

More productive African farms could help both people and emissions.

Boosting the efficiency of Africa’s productive lands is not only necessary for feeding larger populations, but also a possible means of reducing emissions.

degraded-land3

An article in the Economist, “World climate talks address agriculture” identifies the problem.

SINCE the 1960s farm production has risen fourfold in Africa. But the continent still lags far behind the gains seen in South America and Asia. The extra food has appeared largely because more land has been planted or grazed, rather than because crop yields have improved. Instead, poor farming methods progressively deplete nutrients from soils; almost all arable land in Africa lacks irrigation, for example. This is a particular problem in a continent whose population is set to double by 2050 and which faces regular droughts, floods and heat waves.

The world is already 1°C warmer than it was in pre-industrial times. As it heats further, weather cycles are set to speed up, leaving wet parts of the world wetter and dry parts drier. At either end of the scale, extreme weather events will probably intensify. By 2050, even if temperature rise is successfully limited to 2°C, crop yields could slump by a fifth.

The costs of climate change already come each year to 1.5% of the continent’s GDP, according to the European Commission, and adapting to it will cost another 3% each year until 2030. This is in spite of the fact that, overall, Africa is responsible for just 4% of global emissions annually.

Soil: potential carbon sinks

Fertilizer is extremely important. We cannot feed people if soil is degraded. The production of fertilizer in a form of biochar is absolutely huge which help to absorb carbon in the soils.

Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

Scientists say that more carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life. 

degraded land
Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

Well-nourished soils are better at absorbing carbon dioxide rather than allowing it to enter the atmosphere. But the continent’s over-grazed, over-used soil currently means Africa only stores 175 gigatons of carbon each year of the 1,500 gigatons stored in the world’s soils. Smarter farming could change all that. The world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air to become CO2

If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics.  Restoring soils of degraded and desertified ecosystems has the potential to store in world soils an additional 1 billion to 3 billion tons of carbon annually, equivalent to roughly 3.5 billion to 11 billion tons of CO2 emissions. (Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning are roughly 32 billion tons.) 

 Soil carbon sequestration needs to be part of the picture. Currently deforestation takes place where vast areas are cleared for new fields because too little grows in existing ones.

degraded-land13

Vast areas of deforested land that have been abandoned after soil degradation are excellent candidates for replanting and reforestation using biochar from the weeds now growing there. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, grasslands, which cover more than a quarter of the world’s land, hold 20 percent of the world’s soil carbon stock. Much of this land is degraded.

The biochar solution for small farms involves branches of fruit trees, which are cut every year to facilitate the harvest, weigh about 50 tons/ha. If this biomass is converted by pyrolysis to biochar, about 1/3 will revert to 16.7 tons of black carbon/ha and this can be mixed with compost. This will enhance the way biochar develops microbes.

Biochar

If one third of the degraded land, 660 million ha, are used and every year 15 tons/ha biochar is mixed in the soil, this will be together 10 billion tons of Carbon (10 Gt carbon is equivalent to 3.7 Gt CO2) taken from the air and stored in the soil. This is the amount of fossil CO2 which is just released every year.

co2-emissions

The only problem with this solution is the scale. Imagine what it means to use soil carbon sequestration techniques on 10% of all arable land: Millions of farmers must change their way of doing agriculture to make it happen. But the alternative — staying the course of ecological ruin — is not very appealing. 

Hilly Lands

Hilly Land Sustainable Agriculture (HLSA) farming systems feature the establishment of single or double hedgerows of either leguminous tree species, shrubs or grasses seeded or planted along contour lines. Hedgerows, serving as barriers, will conserve surface soil by building up organic mass, increasing plant nutrient elements and improving the water holding  capacity of the soil, thus conserving surface soil by slowing down erosion. Rocks,stubble,  branches and other farm debris are piled at the base of the hedges to further reinforce the foundation of the hedgerows. 

The densely planted hedgerows are pruned regularly to encourage the growth of a thick vegetative canopy and provide a continuous supply of green manure that is scattered on the planting strips between hedgerows.

Trees or shrubs alone used as hedges cannot control effectively soil erosion that can lead to flooding and mass destruction of hilly lands that took centuries to build.

Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides) provides high biomass production for hedgerows; they have been successfully used in some parts of Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India. The grass has the potential to markedly reduce erosion and rapidly develop natural terraces on slopes with less management attention. It stays alive for 25 to 45 years without being replanted.

AFRICA AGRICULTURAL HOPESPOTS

Continue reading Productive African Farms and Emissions

Rabbit and Fish Agroforest

 AGROFOREST WITH RABBITS

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization for a more productive Rabbits in an Agroforest.

What is Agroforestry?

Agroforestry can help to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation while at the same time providing livelihoods for poor smallholder farmers in Africa.

Untitled-1

Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies in which woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately combined on the same management unit with herbaceous crops and/or animals. For example, the African oil palm, when grown as part of an agroforestry system and treated well, can provide a valuable and healthy source of oil for local consumption. Simultaneously, planting legumes (including edible beans, cow pea, pigeon pea) is essential to ensure healthy and fertile soils in an agroforestry system, as they replenish the nitrogen taken away with the harvest. These legumes can be grown as cover crops, inter-cropped or in rotation.

Many small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have already been practicing agroforestry. These systems have prevailed despite persistent attempts to introduce mono-culture production of annual crops, which have been much less successful in Africa than elsewhere. Agroforestry has been shown to provide a number of benefits to farmers. For instance, it can enhance soil fertility in many situations and improve farm household resilience through provision of additional products for sale or home consumption.

Agroforestry has a potential to contribute to food security and to meet the challenge of climate change. More ecological techniques such as agroforestry can improve yields, while increasing biodiversity and not requiring imports of foreign fertilizers and seeds, together with high genetic diversity in traditional crop mixtures, ensured most stable yields.  Trees also tap into deep groundwater rather than top soil moisture that annual crops rely on.

Trees are in fact critical to agricultural production everywhere. When crops and livestock fail, trees often withstand drought conditions and allow people to hold over until the next season. They also provide non-wood products such as indigenous fruits, mushrooms, thatch grass and material for medicinal use.

Agroforestry is often absent from recommendations for ensuring food security under climate change, even though many practices have been shown to deliver benefits for rural development, buffer against climate variability, help rural populations adapt to climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation. 

Many studies have shown that agroforestry practices can slow or reverse land degradation, sequester carbon from the atmosphere and secure rural livelihoods through provision of ecological and economic benefits. 

 A recent paper showed that agroforestry reduced food insecurity during drought and flooding in western Kenya by 25% due to increased income and improved livelihoods. 

In Malawi, maize yields were increased up to 280% in the zone under the tree canopy compared with the zone outside the tree canopy. In Zambia, recent unpublished observations showed that unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of the Faidherbia acacia tree averaged 4.1 tonnes per hectare, compared to 1.3 tonnes nearby but beyond the tree canopy. They recommend that farmers establish 100  Faidherbia trees on each hectare of maize that is planted.

In Africa, there is very little high quality produce…period. If you have high quality vegetables and fish, you will find a market.

One could  simply filled in our Single Crop Projection Tool V1.1.xlsx spreadsheet with their local expense and income numbers, and find out if one  also lost money on paper, without even spending $10,000!

0000reason_smile

Why Rabbits in an Agroforest?

You can raise baby rabbits (gestation period) in 30 days (goats: 150 days, cattle: 280 days). Rabbits give birth to an average of 5 kits and 8 or more kits are not uncommon. Rabbits eats a large variety of greens and crop residues; and thus easy to collect (grass, weeds, leaves) or generated from weeding crop fields. The meat is lean and has a very low cholesterol content when compared to other animal protein. It is encouraged as a healthy meat for hospital patients.

One will have 800-1000 rabbits in 4000 m 2 (i.e. 1 rabbit to 4-5 m 2 space). At least 100 rabbits will be removed/harvested every month.

Micro-livestock will play a growing role in animal protein supply in the very near future. Like the development of ostrich meat industry as a luxury meat, rabbit meat industry will develop quickly and serve as a meat for both the poor and the rich.

00000RabbitColony4

One acre Farm Colony and the Fish Canal that borders it Continue reading Rabbit and Fish Agroforest

Living Water Aquaponics Farm

AQUAPONIC FARM & OUR MISSION 

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization for a more productive Aquaponics Farm.

The Aquaponic Garden Farm

Generally, seeds sprout up seemingly overnight and then their growth is incredible. We use a combination of methods to start seeds and each method results in healthy gorgeous plants.  

Lettuce was found to grow well under 50% shade cover from a shade cloth. The raceways can be covered with shade cloth. Other varieties of lettuce such as Manoa lettuce or romaine lettuce were found to grow well; kai choi and bok choy (Brassica juncea) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) have also done well. Other farmers grow beets, cucumber, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and watercress.

One can grow a variety of organic seeds in each of these categories in this farm:

  • Basil
  • Green Peppers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Over 100 varieties of Lettuce
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Dozens of varieties of tomatoes
  • India Mustard
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Long Green Beans
  • Dozens of varieties of Asian greens
  • Pak Choi
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • A variety of herbs

Since plants don’t have to compete for water in aquaponics gardens, they may be planted quite densely.   One can use cutting from herbs, tomatoes, and the base of a celery stalk.

An aquaponic system can help to teach kids about how plants and fish grow, and to teach them about the ecological interactions that are occurring between the fish, the plants and their environment.

Untitled-9cSoil cultivation is time consuming and labor intensive, although
productive.

The Aquaponics Farm

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime…But why does the man have no fish? Not just through charitable funds, but we engender a genuine partnership with the oppressed. We develop Leadership Skills.

What should a community do with its unused land?

  1. The concept of an Agro forestry farm allows farmers to support themselves with crops while the trees of an orchard eventually become productive between 3 to 5 years. Net Present Value (NPV) of a tree is $1.49. (100 trees in 1/2 acre): $149
  2. Carbon Tax Funds will make a difference not just for the life of one person, but to an entire global community. Carbon sequestration of trees is the only solution to soak up excess carbon dioxide in the world: $1.49/tree
  3. Micro forestry enables communities of farm families to accomplish what none could accomplish by working alone. Over ten years, a woman farmer earns more than $5,600 from a half acre of trees and one acre of short-term crops.
  4. The Colony Rabbit Farm does the marketing and slaughtering: a two-month-old rabbit for breeding fetches at least 2,500 Ksh. On average 200 kits/month will be traded for 50 adult rabbits from the farm and the families return home with them or sell them to the farm at about 180 Ksh each: 36,000 Ksh
  5. The landlord earns fees for leasing his or her unused land with an offer to purchase.
  6. The women farmers and their families in groups of five (non-related) have access to micro loans and the long term sublease of their land.
  7. The nutrient-rich water generated by fish farming is used to fertilize nearby gardens and trees while producing 1,500 kg of fish per year.
  8. An irrigation/micro hydro system near flowing water without a dam in remote areas of underdeveloped countries is the second phase of our project: 780 Kw for 100,000 African households

Living Water Aquaponics Farm

How we can Grow 10 Times the Food in Half the Time

Continue reading Living Water Aquaponics Farm

THE PLOW VERSUS THE TRACTOR

 The PLOW versus the TRACTOR

In order to prepare the soil for planting, tilling or plowing the soil removes weeds and shapes the soil into rows for crop plants.

A light, inexpensive metal plow that is pulled by a donkey or an ox can help overcome this problem. It allow for earlier planting because of high productivity. The plow is made lighter than many plows in other part of the world due to the arid conditions and the fact that it is being pulled by one donkey only or sometimes by a camel.

The kind of plow is an intermediate technology, which has been used for years in the Middle East and Asia. Studies have shown that families that have access to a donkey and a plow can increase their harvests by 500%.

The development of an intermediate technology brings together farming, metalworking and the production of improved harnesses. The metal comes from scrap, which is usually obtained from old vehicles. The blade, for example, would be made from leaf springs from old suspensions. The steel is useful as it can easily be hardened through quenching by a blacksmith to produce a hard wearing surface.

Plow versus tractorPlow versus tractor

One ox on credit, 20 kg of a variety of seed grains and a plow and harvest cost US$200.

Bullock drawn disc harrow: The operator’s seat enables the operator to ride instead of walking, which helps in deeper penetration and reduces drudgery.

Plow versus tractor

Ransome Victory (Moldboard) Plow, which is commonly used throughout Southern Africa, was quickly adopted over earlier, heavier models that required multiple spans (teams) of oxen.

Plow versus tractor
Plow versus tractor

The advantages of the Ransome Victory plow are that it is relatively cheap (US$100–200 requires only a single span of oxen to pull, and in wet soils, can be handled by even a youth.

There are always problems along the way: the lack of high-quality feed during the dry season limited the single ox especially for the first cultivation of the season.

The disadvantages of the Ransome Victory are its relatively shallow draft (20 cm), the fragility of the torsion bar, and the short plowshare, which tends to leave an uneven, smeared furrow in clayey soils unless well-handled. Furthermore, the Ransome Victory plow is nearly unusable in dry soils, limiting its use until after seasonal rains have sufficiently saturated the soil.

The annual plowing of fields without fallowing or sub-soiling (“ripping”) has led to severe losses of topsoil due to surface erosion. Furthermore, the repeated plowing at the same depth has caused the formation of hard pans due to the weight of the land side pushing down on the underlying soil. This hard pan restricts water infiltration, limiting the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water; it also severely restricts root growth of crops, which in turn has a negative impact on crop yield. 

TO PLOW DEEPER WITH A TRACTOR

Continue reading THE PLOW VERSUS THE TRACTOR

SEVEN BILLION TREES

billions trees Africa

THE HARD WAY: $100 THRILL IONeleventh hour

EASY WAY: 7 BILLION TREES: $7 BILLION

Tropical trees cool earth most effectively, working 12 months of the year sequestering carbon dioxide emissions.  We need to plant seven billions of trees in Africa and the Amazon.

 NASA estimates that there are currently 400 billion trees globally. Every newly planted tree seedling in the tropics removes an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its growth period of 20–50 years, compared with 13 kilograms of CO2 per year for a tree in the temperate regions. Remember that tropical trees work 12 months of the year sequestering carbon because there is no dormant winter season. We need to plant billions of trees in Africa.

The addition of just seven billion trees in Africa (one for every person on Earth) would therefore give us a further 16 years of safe climate at our current rate of emissions. During this time one would hope we will be able to increase renewable energy use, energy efficiency etc so as to reduce our current emissions to sustainable levels.

An average of $6 billion per year plus $1 billion for incentives for ten years could pay for the reforestation program. The total cost of $7 billion of trees in Africa  per year for ten years is about 1% of the world’s total annual military expenditures.

Most tropical hardwoods grow to maturity quickly (10 to 20 years) Compare a 5 year old tropical tree to a five year old northern counterpart, and you can easily see the difference in size: half of wood weight is carbon

Tropical trees take up water from rainfall and evaporate it through their leaves, and create cloud cover. These clouds reflect even more sunlight than grasslands or bare earth, thus cooling the earth more. By contrast, trees in snowy places like Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia absorb sunlight that would otherwise be reflected back to space by the bright white snow.  But in the tropics forests helped cool the planet by an average of 0.7 C, according to one study.

Forests act as a carbon sink by taking carbon dioxide out of atmosphere, but the more the climate is warming, the slower the trees are growing, the less carbon they suck up. These acclimated trees release far less CO2 at night, which are trees suddenly exposed to hot temperatures.  This hints that future CO2 emissions from Northern Hemisphere forests won’t be as large as scientists thought, even though they would still be on the rise.

It seems like simple arithmetic: a tree can absorb up to a ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime (25 – 40 years), so planting one should be an easy way to mitigate climate change.

Over time they deplete their resources and are much more susceptible to additional stressors, such as damage by fire or a big drought or insect outbreaks.

The Perfect Storm

When escalating global warming crosses one or more of the important climate tipping points you create the perfect storm of perfect storms: irreversible global warming. This will destabilize the global; it will then destabilize the global political landscape of functioning nations. As the climate, the global economy, and the political landscape of functioning nations destabilize, it will soon destabilize all of the normal social aspects of our individual lives, businesses, and organizations.

billions trees Africa
Billions of trees in Africa will make the Difference!

Continue reading SEVEN BILLION TREES

AGROFORESTRY: DROUGHT & FAMINE PROOF

AGROFORESTRY & OUR MISSION:  

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Agroforestry for Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization into Africa for more productive agriculture.

Agroforestry is the deliberate use of trees on the same land management unit as arable crops in a mixed spatial arrangement at the same time. Agroforestry contributes to preserve this fragile ecosystem while providing new resources for smallholder farmers

Alley cropping: Growing annual crops in spaces between rows of trees or shrubs, often leguminous ones that tolerate heavy and regular coppicing. The leafy and woody material of the trees and shrubs is used as mulch in the crops and also often as fodder and timber.

In these harsh conditions, 60 million poor people need to live and grow food. More than 50% of the West African Sahel land is degraded and not suitable for cultivation. In most cases the degraded land is composed of crusted lateritic soils impermeable to water. 

Small-scale Nurseries can receive orders for large quantities of neem,  Black Thorn (Acacia mellifera) and mesquite (Prosopis julifiora), largely for live-hedging purposes by fruit garden owners, as well as the schools.

Agroforestry Vegetables

Untitled-1A2

Continue reading AGROFORESTRY: DROUGHT & FAMINE PROOF

GLOBAL WARMING IS HERE!

GLOBAL WARMING AND OUR MISSION:  

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization into Africa for more productive agriculture. All this is done to fight Global Warming.

This, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record.

According to NASA, this August was the hottest month on record. Again. That’s not the hottest August on record, or the hottest month of 2016. It means that August of 2016 was the hottest month since recording began – in 1880. That means 2016 is well underway to becoming the hottest year on record, just like the past three years. In fact, every month since October 2015 has set new monthly high-temperature records. This summer was hotter than last summer. This winter was warmer than last winter. And it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

Untitled-1d

India has been hammered by cycles of drought and flood, as withering heat parches the soil and torches glaciers in the Himalayas. Southern and eastern Africa has been pitched into humanitarian emergencies by drought.

A short while ago, in Paris, 177 nations promised to try to ensure the world’s average temperature did not rise by more than 1.5 C above the pre-industrial level. Already it has climbed by 1.3 C – faster and further than almost anyone predicted. In one respect, the scientists were wrong. They told us to expect a climate crisis in the second half of this century. But it’s already here.

 We can expect more hurricanes, flooding, and tsunamis from weather changes and earthquakes as well as corresponding droughts.

Incidentally, if tsunamis are in the cards, what are you doing living on low lands near an ocean?

Continue reading GLOBAL WARMING IS HERE!

What is Agroforestry in Africa?

 AGROFORESTRY & OUR  MISSION IN AFRICA  

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization into Africa for more productive agriculture in the form of Agroforestry.

Africa Agroforestry Problems

African agriculture is so heterogeneous that no leap forward in the farming of a single crop could transform it. The continent needs a dozen green revolutions. 

The vast continent has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, most of it un-farmed. The land already under cultivation, mostly by small farmers, could produce far more. Crop yields in Africa are between one-third and one-half of the global average. The quality of soil is often poor, because of over-farming, but that could be fixed by fertilizers. Africa-rate-of-growth-agric

Sadly the global climate has worsened for farmers globally over the past few years and this has drastically affected the growth of crops.

It is no secret that the current El Niño phenomenon has caused drought in the global coffee-lands, particularly Central America, the Caribbean, and East Africa. Satellite-derived rainfall estimates indicate that the first half of the rainy season (June-August) was the driest in 35 years. The result is that many plants either die or on life support by the time the rains arrive the following season. Climatic conditions are now forcing farmers to break with tradition and search for alternatives to their crops.

Africa has suffered the biggest droughts in modern history. In 2011, the worst drought in 60 years triggered a hunger crisis in East Africa that impacted 13 million people and left an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 dead. The United Nations estimated the cost of the humanitarian response at $1.5 billion. That crisis happened not in the agricultural regions of sub-Saharan Africa but in the dry land regions of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. 

Prior to the ‘Green Revolution’, the majority of subsistence farming anywhere in the world involved mixed species, usually including tree products.  Pressures towards higher efficiency drove modern agriculture into mono cultures.

Africa’s population grew more steeply than India’s, and as a result production per person fell in much of the continent during the late 20th century.  In the past decades, the African population has rocketed from 220 million in 1950 to appalling 1 billion in 2010.

Africa is also a continent full of chaos. This alone will definitely deter the growth of agriculture to a large extent. Corruption and instability means that Africa can’t build institutions to a decent standard compared to their potential competitors.

One-third to one-half of its harvests routinely going to waste. Establishing better storage systems that reduce crop mold and losses caused by weevil depredation, thus enabling farmers to keep their crops off the market until prices are high, is another primary goal.

Africans need the ability to store crops somewhere other than in their houses, where the weevils get them. Processing foods near farms would help reduce such waste and provide decent paying jobs.

Worldwide, about 124 kg of artificial fertilizer is used per hectare of farmland per year. Many would argue that this is too high. But the 15 kg per hectare in sub-Saharan Africa is definitely too low.

Africa still has a thin road network to bring fertilizer in and produce out of the rural agricultural area; in rural areas the roads are often primitive and impassable after a heavy shower. There are difficulties of moving fresh produce over long distances that makes intensification near the big markets particularly attractive.  Sub-Saharan Africa’s farms remain far less productive than Latin American and Asian ones. The continent as a whole exports less farm produce than Thailand.

Most farms are forced to rely on humanitarian food aid, a short-term solution that saves lives but reinforces the cycle of poverty and dependency in the African dry lands.

Exported goods to other African countries faced average tariffs of 8.7%, compared with 2.5% for those that exported goods beyond Africa. 

African cows are increasingly crossbred with European breeds to create tough animals that produce lots of milk. But animal vaccines remain expensive and are often unavailable, since they need to be kept cold.

What is Agroforestry in Africa?

Agroforestry can help to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation while at the same time providing livelihoods for poor smallholder farmers in Africa. Continue reading What is Agroforestry in Africa?