Urban Farmer Produces 1 Million Pounds Of Food Each Year On Just 3 Acres…

Urban Farmer Produces 1 Million Pounds Of Food Each Year On Just 3 Acres…

If you think YOU’VE got “limited space” to grow enough of your own food, then it might be time to think again.

Here’s the incredibly inspiring story of one man named Will Allen. Will has setup a largely self-sustaining food growing system that can produce 1 million pounds of food every single year…

Not only does he do this on just 3 acres of land, he does it smack bang in the middle of suburbia. In fact, his well-organized greenhouse system produces a crop value of almost $200,000 per acre.

 The system he uses mainly relies on the process of Aquaponics – that’s a process whereby you take advantage of the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a re-circulating system.The fish (which supply you with protein – unless you’re just keeping them as pets) produce a continual supply of natural waste in their water. That water is filtered through “growing beds” which supplies valuable nutrients to the plants, and it’s then circulated back to the fish as freshly filtered clean water. The cycle then continually repeats.

You can learn more about Aquaponics here.

As you’ll see in the videos below, Will…

  • Maintains 3 acres of land in green houses.
  • Produces 10,000 fish (that’s some serious protein).
  • Uses 300 to 500 yards of high quality worm compost.
  • Makes use of vertical growing techniques to maximize all available space.
  • Runs the system on 1 simple aquaponics pump.
  • Grows food year round by using heat from the compost piles to keep the green houses at a regular temperature even in the middle of winter.

Here’s a brief introduction to Will’s “Growing Power” setup…

…and here’s a 10 min video where he takes a group on a tour of the “Growing Power” facility.

…in our opinion, Will is one smart cookie ;-0

You can find out more about setting up your own backyard Aquaponics system here.

You can find out more about successful worm composting here.

If you like this story, be sure to share it with your friends and inspire someone you know. Anything becomes possible with just a little inspiration…

Source: EcoSnippets

Could the Fourth Industrial Revolution help us reach the Global Goals?

This year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Klaus Schwab to describe the new generation of technological advances – sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, precision medicine – coming together to define the next wave of progress.

These new technologies have the potential to transform our lives. Beyond sci-fi like scenarios – such as each of us having our own personal R2-D2, summoning our Batmobile, or colonizing Mars – these advances also have the potential to solve many real-world problems. With more intelligent, automated technology, we could generate renewable energy, address climate change, connect billions of people to the internet, develop affordable housing solutions and cure chronic diseases.

These advances are not far into the future. A recent Forum report on Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact anticipates many such moments of inflection within our lifetimes – in fact, we may see major advances in transportation, artificial intelligence, and new payment technology as soon as the next decade. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, much of the discussion in Davos last month focused on the negative impacts of these technologies, rather than their positive potential.

One consistent, fearful theme was the potential for job losses. As automation continues to replace manufacturing or blue collar jobs, artificial intelligence will subsequently do the same for skilled, white collar jobs in banking, law or medicine. Estimates as to the impac this will have on jobs vary, but many prognostications in Davos suggested a depressive impact on the global economy. While it’s true that technological leaps have often eliminated older, human-powered methods of doing things, many in Davos also recognized that advances in technology create new jobs, most of which we can’t even dream of today. For example, the invention of the airplane created hundreds of thousands of jobs, from pilots, to stewards, to airport personnel, to international agents and more prognostications not to mention the transformative economic impact of billions of people travelling vast distances in a short span of time.

A second concern at Davos was growing inequality in the world between “digital haves” and “have-nots”. This was reflected both as a challenge among nations – developed vs. developing – but also an issue for specific socio-economic groups within individual nations, some of which arguably are still not past the second or third industrial revolution. What does 3D printing or precision medicine do, for example, for rural parts of India and Africa that still don’t have reliable electricity, while urban centres in those same countries race towards an era of smart, automated living?

A third common concern (particularly driven by robotics and artificial intelligence) was the “dehumanization” of our lives. There was a case for a renewed emphasis on qualities that make us uniquely human – empathy, sensitivity, creativity and inspiration.

Another issue centred on the ethical and moral challenges of many advances. Some conversations at Davos discussed the dangerous potential of eugenics-like scenarios in medicine, enabled by advances such as CRISPR/Cas9. On the flip side, could machines make positive decisions regarding human lives, such as aself-driving car making a choice between hitting a pedestrian or sacrificing its passenger?

One could argue some of these concerns are overblown Luddism. But in some ways, it doesn’t matter – the march of technological progress is inevitable, as it has always been. Certainly, no one at Davos suggested slowing down the pace of technological advancement. The gist of the discussions was that we should figure out how to avoid, or address, the negative, unintended consequences of these changes.

We believe there is a major challenge with the Fourth Industrial Revolution that didn’t get adequate attention in Davos – the issue of prioritization.

To date, the technological innovation that has driven the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaped by the commercial prospects of small or large firms in the market. After all, one definition of “innovation” is the commercial application of invention. As an example, investment in alternative energy R&D fluctuates depending on oil prices, just as demand for hybrid or electric vehicles become more or less attractive depending on gasoline prices.

What if, instead of being driven solely by commercial returns, we could focus the Fourth Industrial Revolution more directly on the big problems our world faces? What if we could prioritize technological advances that have the most beneficial impact to society?

The world has recently defined its problems very clearly in a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, that were adopted by all countries last year to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all”. The goals cover poverty, hunger and food security, health, education, energy, and water and sanitation – to name a few. A successor list to the earlier Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals get quite specific.

Take Goal 3 as an example: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This goal is linked to 12 targets, including these top three:

By 2030: Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

By 2030: End preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.

By 2030: End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

Of course, technological advancement is not the only solution to all Sustainable Development Goals – there is much more to do – but it is likely one of the major contributors.

As the world thinks through how to harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we think it is worth questioning which technologies we should be prioritizing to meet these Sustainable Development Goals. How do we draft policies and create economic incentives to encourage the right types of technology advances? What should governments and the private sector do differently to focus technology on addressing these goals? How do we direct the energy and creativity of millions of entrepreneurs towards improving the state of the world?

The world’s innovation system is powerful and has generally worked well. However, it could use a guiding hand to nudge it in a direction that will benefit the planet beyond the incentives of commercial returns. Expanding our criteria for importance to solving areas of global need is not an inherently anti-capitalist idea. But it is one that would channel capitalism in the best direction for humanity as a whole. That, we hope, is the real agenda initiated by the focus in Davos on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which the world will seek to address in the coming year.

Source: World Economic Forum

Initiative that could cut Africa’s food waste and loss by 50%

(Photo/USDA/Flickr)

In Africa, 50% of fruits, vegetables; 40% of roots, tubers; and 20% of cereals are lost in the post-harvest stage or processes

FOOD waste has become a hot topic recently, as seen earlier this month when France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks.

The law came into place after heavy campaigning by shoppers and those opposed to food waste. And from the statistics, it’s easy to see why this has generated such a large grassroots following.

One-third of the world’s available food either spoils or gets thrown away before it ever reaches a plate – that’s enough to feed everyone in the world for two months – and even though sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, affecting about one in four people, between 30% to 40% of food produced on the continent for human consumption is lost or wasted.

In Africa’s case, with a population that will double to 2.4 billion by 2050, coupled with the pressures of climate change and vulnerable smallholder farmers – food coming from the continent cannot afford to be wasted on such a huge scale.

On the ground

There is a glimmer of hope that the waste will be reduced. On the ground, among others the Rockefeller Foundation is looking to tackle the problem through its recently launched YieldWise initiative.

The foundation has had a long interest in food security; but no gains can be sustained unless they stopped the huge food waste losses from happening.

In an interview with Mail and Guardian Africa, Mamadou Biteye, the Managing Director for Africa, explained that there are two key issues perpetuating these massive losses.

“Consumer-driven food waste” – this relates to consumer preferences, use by dates, aesthetic standards which are perpetuated by “perception and misleading information” and which “causes a huge amount of dumping of food”.

It is a problem that is increasing in Africa because of the growing middle class and changing consumer habits, but, said Mamadou, is a problem that is more prevailing in developed countries.

READ: Goodbye ‘nose to tail’ eating! As Africans get richer, expect to see more food wasted

The other key issue causing massive food waste is “post-harvest loss”. This is food that is lost between harvest to market due to inefficiencies, particularly at the level of the farmer. Things like inappropriate harvest techniques, inappropriate handling, inadequate storage facilities and loss due to poor roads. For example in Kenya the aggregated loss of the mango between the farm to the market is about 45%.

On the continent, 50% of fruits and vegetables, 40% of roots and tubers, and 20% of cereals – all of which are staple foods – are lost in the post-harvest stage or processes.

In addition, “on average, food post-harvest loss can cost up to 15% of farmer income [and] affects over 470million small-holder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa”, said Mamadou.

Looking to tackle this loss, the initiative has been “allocated $130million over the next seven years, and for starters, will work with partners to address post-harvest loss in the mango (in Kenya), tomato (in Nigeria), cassava (in Nigeria) and maize (in Tanzania) value chains.”

Simple solutions

They’re planning to try to solve this in several innovative and cost effective ways.

These include guaranteeing farmers steady access to new local and global markets, help ing farmers access technologies and solutions to curb preventable loss. These “technologies” can be things as simple as heavy moulded plastic crates to prevent damage or extending the shelf life of goods through solar drying and provision of cold storage units.

At a higher level, the foundation is engaging with big players. For example it’s working with the government of Tanzania to supply proper storage solutions, like metal silos and hermetic cocoons, to smallholder farmers. Or big companies like Dangote Farms Limited to build processing industries – a key initiative which could significantly support moving smallholder farmers into middle income status.

It is worthwhile to see such engagement on an issue that hasn’t been at the forefront of Africa’s development agenda, despite it affecting millions of people on the continent. It’s engagement with the private sector makes it all the more exciting.

Source: Mail & Guardian, Africa

ALIKO DANGOTE’S DAUGHTER APPOINTED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TIGER BRANDS

Halima Dangote, daughter of Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has been appointed an Executive Director of Tiger Brand Consumer Goods (TGBC) Plc. which was formerly known as Dangote Flour Mills. This was made known in a letter written to the Nigerian Stock Exchange by the company this week. According to the letter, her appointment is effective from February 15th, 2016.

Her appointment may not be a surprise to many, as she has been a member of the board of executives of the Dangote Industries Limited since 2008 and has proven to have the skills for business just like her father. She will be tasked with the responsibility of project management and new business development while working with every member of the executive team; particularly the President/CEO to develop expansion plans for the company.

Tiger Brand sold its stakes in its unprofitable Nigerian business to Dangote last year after buying it from him in 2012. Here’s what you didn’t know about Halima Dangote:

  1. Halima is the eldest of Aliko Dangote’s three daughters. She is the mother of two and has been married to Suleiman Sani Bello since 2008.
  2. Halima has a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster Business School London United Kingdom and a BA in Marketing from American Intercontinental University London, UK.
  3. She started her career as a Business Analyst with KPMG where she worked for a year and proceeded to become the Special Assistant to the President and Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited a position, which she still, holds to date. She is currently a Trustee of the Dangote Foundation, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MHF Properties Limited, Executive Director Commercial (EDC) NASCON, a subsidiary of DIL, and an Executive Director at Dangote Industries Limited. Halima also currently runs Cupcake Factory in Lagos, which specialises in unique cake designs.
  4. She has undergone several professional training exercises:
  • Program for Leadership Development (PLD) –  Harvard Business School.
  • Executive Development Program –  Kellogg School of Management United States.
  • Finance and Accounting for non-Financial Executive Columbia Business School, US.
  • Real Estate Entrepreneurial Course  – School of Estates Lagos, Nigeria.

by Fumnanya Agbugah

Source: Venturesafrica.com

The challenge of improving nutrition: Facts and figures

A healthy diet is more than just calories. Priya Shetty gets the figures on the cost of poor nutrition — and the scale of the challenge.

Hunger: it’s an emotive term for undernutrition. It conjures images of famine and starvation in the developing world.

Technically, undernutrition is the outcome of insufficient food and repeated infectious diseases. It includes being severely underweight or dangerously thin (wasted), too short (stunted), and deficient in vitamins and minerals.

But the world’s food problems are far more complex and widespread than just undernutrition.

Certainly, some people have no food at all and every year approximately 1.5 million children die from wasting caused by severe undernutrition. But most people in poor countries never have to grapple with total starvation — for them, malnutrition caused by an imbalanced or inadequate diet is more likely.

Many rely too much on high-calorie staples, like maize or rice. Good nutrition is not just about consuming enough calories — people need protein and micronutrients they can only get through a balanced diet. When people do not, or cannot, eat a wide range of food, they become malnourished. They can survive, but cannot flourish.

Developing nations already prioritise food security, i.e. ensuring access to food. But it is increasingly clear that simply providing food is not enough. To protect vulnerable populations, governments must also ensure nutrition security.

To do this, they will need interventions that work. These must treat and prevent malnutrition in the short-term and address its underlying causes including poverty, low agricultural output, limited education, and poor healthcare and hygiene in the long-term.

The burden of malnutrition

Back in 2000, the WHO estimated malnutrition affected one in three worldwide. [1] In 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated over a billion people suffer more serious undernutrition. [2]

This staggering statistic is partly the result of a slow but steady rise in the number of malnourished people over the past decade. Economic shocks are partly to blame. The 2006–2008 food and fuel crises priced millions of people out of access to basic staples. And last year’s financial crisis is estimated to have added 100 million to the number of malnourished people in the world. [2]

The developing world bears almost all of the burden, with South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa the worst affected (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Percentage of population that are undernourished (credit: FAO) [3]

The impacts of malnutrition can be severe (see Box 1). Even the lack of micronutrients that are only needed in miniscule amounts can be a killer, because without them the body cannot produce enzymes and hormones crucial for growth and development.

Box 1: Nutrition number crunch

Global burden

  • 1.02 billion people suffer from undernutrition — a serious form of malnutrition.
  • 99 per cent of undernourished people live in developing countries.
  • 642 million people in Asia and the Pacific are undernourished.
  • More than 60 per cent of chronically undernourished people are women.

Childhood malnutrition

  • 6 million child deaths every year are linked to malnutrition.
  • 1.5 million children die every year because they waste away from undernutrition.
  • 178 million children become physically stunted, partly because of not having enough food or vitamins.
  • 146 million children under five are underweight.
  • More than 50 per cent of those underweight under-fives live in South Asia.
  • 20 per cent of deaths in under-fives could be prevented by adhering to breastfeeding guidelines.

Micronutrient deficiencies

  • More than 500,000 child deaths every year are linked to lack of vitamin A.
  • More than 20 per cent of children under five in developing countries suffer from iron deficiency-related anaemia.
  • 40–60 per cent of children in developing countries have impaired mental development due to iron deficiency.
  • 2 billion people worldwide are iodine-deficient.
  • 176,00 people die from diarrhoea linked to zinc deficiency each year.
  • 406,000 people die from pneumonia linked to zinc deficiency each year.

Economic costs

  • US$20–30 billion is what undernutrition is estimated to cost economic development each year.
  • 12 per cent reduction in lifetime earnings in Zimbabwe is attributable to school years lost to malnutrition.

Overnutrition

  • up to 20 per cent of children under five are overweight in some developing countries.

Adapted from statistics published by the WHO and the World Food Programme.

Nutrition and disease

Increasingly, scientists are realising that nutrition interacts with treatments for most diseases — whether infectious or chronic — and that controlling these diseases requires better nutrition.

Malnutrition and infection act together in a vicious, and often deadly, cycle. Malnutrition weakens the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infection. Infection, in turn, runs down nutrient and energy stores, impairing treatment and exacerbating the damage caused by infectious disease (see Box 2).

Box 2: HIV and malnutrition

Medical treatment for HIV may have advanced rapidly over the past few decades but a key ingredient for treating the disease — good nutrition — is often ignored.

Undernourished people have compromised immune systems, making them more vulnerable to HIV infection. HIV infection, in turn, makes it harder for people to absorb nutrients from food because of frequent diarrhoea. It also disrupts the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins, exacerbating nutrient deficiencies.

The virus also raises the energy spent resting, meaning that infected people need more protein than usual. For HIV-infected children, energy requirements can double.

There are social as well as clinical implications. Hunger can force people into risky behaviour, such as selling sex for food or money, heightening their chance of HIV infection.

HIV and nutrition experts are increasingly calling for joint interventions (see Nutrition key to cutting infection rates). For example, targeting food aid at HIV patients, so supporting antiretroviral therapy.

But nutrition is no substitute for lifesaving antiretrovirals, as South African history clearly shows.

Harvard researchers have estimated that between 2000 and 2005, 330,000 South African lives were lost to HIV/AIDS, and 35,000 babies were born with the virus, because of government inaction and failure to provide antiretrovirals. [4]

And about five years ago, a German doctor called Matthias Rath travelled to South Africa to denounce antiretrovirals as toxic and unnecessary, claiming that his vitamin pills alone could treat HIV. Unfortunately, he won the support of Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, then health minister.

With a new government and new health minister in place, this denialism seems to be over (see South African court bans trial of ‘vitamin HIV cure’).

But how to integrate nutrition and HIV remains a problem. So far, for example, there is little data on the ideal form of nutritional support, or how cost-effective nutritional interventions for HIV are in resource-poor countries.

Until such problems are cracked, antiretroviral effectiveness may forever be compromised.

Children suffer most

Malnutrition can affect all parts of populations but children are without doubt the hardest hit. The WHO estimates that more than a third of child deaths are caused by undernutrition. [5]

Scientists frequently emphasise the importance of nutrition in early life. Malnutrition in the womb can lead to low birth weight, birth defects and low child survival rates as well as increasing the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, in adulthood.

Micronutrient deficiencies can be devastating. Up to half a million vitamin A deficient children go blind every year, half of them dying within a year of losing their sight; and iron deficiency is damaging the mental development of 40–60 per cent of children in developing countries.

Most worringly, there is mounting evidence that the damage caused by early undernutrition is irreversible after the age of two. [6]

As research now shows, childhood malnutrition can wreak lifelong damage by impairing intellectual development and productivity. One study in Zimbabwe found that stunted children started school seven months later than non-stunted children.

Other studies across the developing world have similarly associated undernutrition in early life with less schooling, reduced economic productivity, shorter adult height, and having lower birthweight children. [7]

And long-term studies in Guatemala suggest early nutritional interventions have persistent effects on schooling and economic productivity. [8] For example, boys consistently given a highly nutritious supplement before the age of three were found, as adults, to have improved reading comprehension and nonverbal cognitive ability, and to earn 46 per cent higher average hourly wages.

Paradoxically, undernutrition in early life can even predispose people to chronic diseases often associated with over-eating, such as diabetes and obesity, in adulthood.

Quality not quantity

Yet an increase in food supplies does not necessarily translate into improved nutrition.

Indeed, the ‘nutrition transition’, occurring in some rapidly developing countries as people shift away from traditional diets and lead more sedentary lifestyles, is far from benign. Studies suggest that populations with access to high-calorie diets take the bulk of their calories from fat and sugar. Correspondingly, the amount of complex carbohydrates and micronutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables stays low. [9]

Obesity’s rapid rise is creating new subsets of the population that face health problems linked to excess weight but still lack the key nutrients they need to be healthy.

The number of obese people in many countries is fast overtaking the number who are underweight — even in the poorest rural regions (see Figure 2). In Mexico, for example, nearly 60 per cent of people are overweight, compared with less than ten per cent underweight.

Figure 2: Percentage of women (aged 20–49) in rural areas that are underweight and overweight in selected developing countries (credit: Barry M. Popkin, University of North Carolina Interdisciplinary Obesity Program)

China is also facing an obesity epidemic (see China too must confront obesity). It is home to 215 million overweight people, and its annual increase in obesity is matched only by Australia and the UK. [10]

Genetic solutions

What if we could solve nutritional problems by tweaking our genetic makeup? The idea that our genes affect the way we process nutrients has given rise to a field of research called nutrigenomics. [11]

Sometimes, the link between genes and nutrients manifests itself fairly simply in the form of food allergies or intolerances (for example widespread lactose intolerance in South-East Asia and southern Africa).

In other cases, it is more complex. For example, changing the diet of patients with heart disease or cancer will have very different results, depending on the person and their individual genetic make-up.

Understanding how genes and nutrients interact within individuals, or within populations, could help design tailored interventions to improve nutrition in the developing world (see Using genetics to tackle malnutrition). But nutrigenomic research is still in early development and is unlikely to deliver pragmatic solutions in the near future.

So what about genetic modification of food crops? GM food offers one way of both securing food supplies in a changing climate (see Can crops be climate-proofed?) and developing biofortified crops such as the much publicised vitamin A-enriched golden rice. But genetically engineering nutritionally enhanced crops — whether it should be done at all, and whether it is possible to do so effectively — remains the subject of much debate (see Can GM crops feed the hungry?).

Proven to work

There are many other proven effective nutritional interventions that, if adopted on a wide enough scale, could do much to alleviate the global burden of malnutrition. These include micronutrient supplementation and food fortification.

Micronutrient supplements are widely recommended and have proved effective in reducing problems associated with malnutrition. The WHO estimates that 1.25 million deaths have been averted since 1998 through vitamin A supplements. And iron supplementation in Nicaragua has reduced anaemia among pregnant women by a third. [12]

Around two-thirds of households in the developing world have access to iodised salt

The Micronutrient Initiative

Iodised salt is the most common fortified food and, according to the WHO, iodine deficiencies have been dramatically reduced since the global campaign for universal salt iodisation started in 1993. Around two-thirds of households in the developing world now have access to iodised salt and the number of countries with iodine deficiency public health problems has halved over the past decade.

Many international agencies also recommend fortifying food staples such as sugar and wheat flour. And 58 countries — including many in the developing world — now have regulations to fortify flour with iron or folic acid.

Sprinkles — powdered micronutrients in single-dose packets that are sprinkled over foods — have proved effective in reducing anaemia in several developing countries across Latin America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Education and monitoring growth are also invaluable in improving nutrition. Growth monitoring helps identify early signs of malnutrition and, where accompanied by successful education to change behaviour, has reduced stunting. [12] Recommended practices include infant and young child breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding with oral rehydration salts during diarrhoea.

And social protection programmes can help ensure a nutrition safety-net in the short or medium term, especially in times of crisis (see Nutritional security is in the balance). These include food-for-work programmes, food stamps, school meals and conditional cash transfers that provide money for regular school or health clinic attendance. [2]

Root cause

But any effort to safeguard nutrition in the long-term must address the underlying causes of malnutrition — poverty, food insecurity, low education, limited healthcare and poor hygiene.

Investing in agricultural science to make crops more nutritious is also vital. And climate change makes this doubly important. A changing climate could even make current crops less nutritious, by altering the relative protein content in major staple foods (see The ‘hidden hunger’ caused by climate change).

But simply boosting agricultural productivity to ensure food availability should be a particular priority for developing countries. On this, many organisations, including the FAO and theInternational Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), agree.

References

[1] Turning the Tide of Malnutrition: Responding to the challenge of the 21st century. WHO, Geneva (2000)

[2] The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Economic crisis — impacts and lessons learned. FAO, Rome (2009)

[3] The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2006: Eradicating world hunger — taking stock ten years after the World Food Summit. FAO, Rome (2006)

[4] Chigwedere, P. et al. Estimating the lost benefits of antriretroviral drug use in South Africa. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes49, 410–415 (2008)

[5] 10 Facts on Nutrition. WHO, Geneva (2008)

[6] Ruel, M. & Hoddinott, J. Investing in Early Childhood Nutrition. IFPRI, Washington, United States (2008)

[7] Victora, C. G. et al. Maternal and child undernutrition: consequences for adult health and human capital. The Lancet 371, 340–357 (2008)

[8] Hoddinott, J. et al. Effect of a nutrition intervention during early childhood on economic productivity in Guatemalan adults. The Lancet371, 411–416 (2008)

[9] Eckhardt, C. L. Micronutrient Malnutrition, Obesity, and Chronic Disease in Countries Undergoing the Nutrition Transition: Potential Links and Program/Policy Implications. IFPRI, Washington, United States (2006)

[10] Popkin, B. M. Global nutrition dynamics: the world is shifting rapidly toward a diet linked with noncommunicable diseases. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84, 289–98 (2006)

[11] Mutch, D. M., Wahli, W., Williamson, G. Nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics: the emerging faces of nutrition. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal 19, 1602–1616 (2005)

[12] Levinson, F. J. & Bassett L. Malnutrition is Still a Major Contributor to Child Deaths. Population Reference Bureau (2007)

Source: SciDev.Net

Meet Asidu Abudu, The Young and Highly Talented Inventor in Ghana

Asidu Abudu is one of Africa’s millions of young, remarkable, highly talented but little-known inventors. This prolific Ghanaian inventor has created everything from food vending machines, ‘eating’ machines, vehicle tracking devices and fufu (cassava) pounding tools. No, he doesn’t hold a degree from MIT or any of the world’s top universities. His inventions are inspired by his dreams and observations. And boy, does he know how how to create amazing things out of nothing.

I’m sure this short video will leave you richly inspired.

Source: Meet Asidu Abudu, The Young and Highly Talented Inventor in Ghana

Tapping into local resources to curb malnutrition

Tapping into local resources to curb malnutrition

When I was a child, my mother used to tell me over and over: “Eat a carrot, it’s good for your sight.”

She was right. Carrots are an important source of vitamin A, which builds up the retina pigment necessary for vision and supports a healthy immune system.

My mother’s warning hovered in my mind during the second International Conference on Hidden Hunger, which took place in Stuttgart, Germany, from 3 to 6 March. Under scrutiny here is not starvation, but the quality of nutrition. A chronic lack of vitamins, zinc, iodine or iron often has no visible signs but can have a devastating impact on body development. More than two billion people are affected worldwide, mostly, but not exclusively, in developing countries. Overall, hidden hunger accounts for ten per cent of the global health burden.

The problem is complex and varies from country to country. So what can be done? Going back to the roots, literally, and making use of local and traditional knowledge can work wonders, the conference heard.

Katja Kehlenbeck, from the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, told the conference about a project at her centre, which aims to encourage farmers to grow more indigenous trees. With just eight tree species on each farm, fruits would be available for home consumption all year round, fully covering micronutrient requirements, Kehlenbeck said.

But traditional knowledge and confidence in local resources has often been corrupted, as imported food crops grown for the international market fetch more money. “I think in the past people valued their natural resources much more, because they would depend much more on that,” Kehlenbeck said. “This got lost due to westernisation.”

The conference, organised by the University of Hohenheim, heard that more effort should be made to promote the consumption of indigenous, nutrient-rich plants in poor countries. This could be done by addressing people’s pride in their local heritage and running information campaigns to highlight the health value of a diversified diet, Kehlenbeck said. As my mother’s advice demonstrated, local knowledge, once created, runs deep and has a high impact on people’s food intake.

Economic issues also play a role. Favouring the export of local crops and getting people in urban areas to eat more fruits would increase demand, adding market value to neglected agricultural products. This would encourage farmers to grow these crops, creating economic benefits for themselves and a more varied array of foods available in rural areas, the conference heard.

During a coffee break I met Olaniyi Odusina, from Tai Solarin University of Education in Ogun, Nigeria. Odusina presented a poster on the consumption of highly nutritious insects and wild plants in southwestern Nigeria, showing that traditional knowledge on local natural resources is present in many places in Africa and must be preserved.

“The use of these foods is still common practice among those who are traditionally oriented,” said Odusina. “I believe it is possible to combine the old way with the new one, advising people on the advantages of traditional food heritage while letting them benefit from the positive aspects of [Western food].”

– Andrea Rinaldi

Source: SciDev.Net

Millions Go Hungry – Here’s How To End The Food Waste Fiasco…

Millions Go Hungry – Here’s How To End The Food Waste Fiasco...

There are millions around the world who don’t know where their next meal will come from. Rob is on a mission to solve this problem. We can all easily be a part of the solution… and it starts with a dumpster.

Rob is an adventurer, activist, and dude making a difference. His purpose is to inspire health, happiness, and freedom on Earth and he’s dedicated his life to this mission. He has cycled across the United States, twice, on a bamboo bicycle, went 1,000 days without showering, and has dove into thousands of dumpsters across America, all to inspire positive social and environmental change.

When not out adventuring he lives off the grid in a fifty-square-foot tiny home in San Diego. His extreme adventures and activism campaigns may appear unattainable at first glance but within them are an abundance of simple lessons and tips that can be adapted into any life to live with more happiness, health, and freedom. Check out this inspirational Ted Talk by Rob…

Source: EcoSnippets

Meet Nakku Justine, A 25 Year Old Multi-Millionaire Farmer That Gets Things Done Herself!

http://nigeriacamera.net/

Africa as a continent suffers from a very high level of unemployment. Notwithstanding Nakku has taken responsibility for herself in her home country of Kenya, by creating a job that many look down on and she has become very successful at it.

Nakku Justine has become something of a viral sensation after she appeared on Nigerian news site Nigeriancamera.net. The 25-year-old operates her own lucrative 6 acre farm in Kenya producing dairy, cabbage, cereals, carrots and poultry.

 

http://nigeriacamera.net/

http://nigeriacamera.net/

http://nigeriacamera.net/

Nakku is making the world see that there is a future in Africa’s agriculture. She is also inspiring the young generation to get creative by becoming self employed. Nigeria and most African countries  have been blessed with a very fertile land and almost anyone can get enough land to start farming and supplying the products to those who cannot afford to buy the foreign products.

http://nigeriacamera.net/

http://nigeriacamera.net/

Ben Murray-Bruce, a Nigerian business mogul, common sense advocate and senator has recently come out to say that Nigeria needs to go back to how it generated its funds before the oil boom, which was through agriculture. He specifically highlighted the fact that local farmers are suffering, because they do not get the patronage they need to thrive. He cited the example of Nigeria spending a billion naira every day to import rice and 2 billion dollars annually while the country has people that can produce rice. Ben Bruce called on the Nigerian government to ban the importation of dairy products, rice, wheat and other food products that can be home grown. We must eat what we grow were his words.

http://nigeriacamera.net/

If the government of Nigeria and other African countries listen to the advice of Sen. Ben and more of our African youth agree to take the initiative, we will have many like Nakku in the near future – young, creative, hardworking, confident, rich and responsible enterprenuers. If a young woman from Kenya can do this, the young people of Africa have been challenged to follow suit instead of sitting idle waiting for an office job.

In America, despite blacks’ historical relationship with agriculture they have been largely shut out of the farming industry due in part to the denial of USDA loans. African Americans currently account for just 2% of the nation’s farmers — a number that has declined from 14% in 1920. We are hoping we see more young, black people working the land.

Source: Sunday Adelaja’s Blog