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African Development Bank announces bold measures to curb coronavirus

COVID-19

The African Development Bank on Wednesday announced health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in countries where it has a presence, including its headquarters in Abidjan. The measures include telecommuting, video conferencing in lieu of physical meetings, the suspension of visits to Bank buildings, and the cancelation of all travel, meetings, and conferences, until ...

31 questions and answers about COVID-19

COVID-19

Yesterday I did a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on COVID-19. As usual, Redditors asked a lot of smart questions, and it was a great opportunity to have a fact-based discussion about this pandemic and what we can do to prevent the next one. (And as I mentioned in this exchange, it’s nice to have so many positive interactions in such an uncertain time.)

Below is a transcript of all the questions ...

Farmers’ lives transformed through improved access to agricultural extension services

Agriculture

Ward Agriculture Officers in Kiambu County are currently working with 439 community-appointed Village-Based Advisors (VBAs) to improve agricultural Extension Service Delivery to 125,000 farmers. 

Kiambu County, a potentially productive part of Central Kenya, has been producing agricultural products for local and export consumption. Most of the residents of the County are also farmers, and ...

The smart way to help African farmers tackle climate change

Agriculture

Agriculture is the most important sector of African economies, from the livelihoods it supports to the future jobs it can generate.

The basic recipe for boosting performance is well known: more investment, better access to financial services, improved seeds, and a lot more fertiliser (appropriately applied).

What is less appreciated is the key role played by agricultural extension workers ...

How to respond to COVID-19

Health
HANDLING CORONAVIRUS

In any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again. The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent case in point. The world needs to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general. The first point is more pressing, but the second has crucial long-term consequences.

The long-term challenge ...

“Crowd-farming” startups address vicious cycle, and eye wider impact

Agriculture

Africa is home to 25 per cent of the world’s farmland, but just 10 per cent of crops produced globally are generated on the continent. A vicious cycle exists here, but it is one being addressed by a host of African tech startups, many of whom are now eyeing wider opportunities.

What is the vicious cycle that affects African agriculture? According to Opportunity International, most African ...

Scientists turn to tech to prevent second wave of locusts in east Africa

Agriculture
A man attempts to fend off a swarm of desert locusts at a ranch near the town of Nanyuki, in Kenya’s Laikipia county. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Scientists monitoring the movements of the worst locust outbreak in Kenya in 70 years are hopeful that a new tracking programme they will be able to prevent a second surge of the crop-ravaging insects. The UN has described the locust outbreak in the Horn of Africa, and the widespread breeding of the insects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia that has followed, as “extremely alarming”.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION, AND DIGITALIZATION

Agriculture

The intrinsic value of empowering women farmers in developing countries is recognized as a fundamentally important element in the process of social and economic development. Women can play a critical role in decision-making on the allocation of scarce resources for household consumption, investment, and production choices. In a farm household, these investment and production choices include ...

Food fears grow as swarms of locusts reach Uganda and Tanzania

Agriculture

Massive swarms of locusts sweeping across much of east Africa have reached Uganda and Tanzania, the United Nations has said, threatening millions more people with hunger in an already fragile region.

Tanzania has detected swarms in its northern border areas close to Mount Kilimanjaro and hired three planes to spray pesticide, a tactic seen as the most effective means of countering the spread of ...

A humanitarian crisis looms in Africa unless we act fast to stop the desert locust

Agriculture

The destructive migratory pest threatens catastrophe as it swarms through countries already plagued by food insecurity. A colleague at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tells a terrifying story about the desert locust.

In 2005 she visited farmers in Niger as they prepared to harvest their crops. Just hours later, a swarm of locusts swept through the area and destroyed everything ...