Archive for February 2016

How to make agriculture profitable   Leave a comment

Pause:  Release of special report:  “African farmers in the digital age.”
__Soon it will be Africa’s turn to help feed the world…

This week an American journal called Foreign Affairs has released an excellent collection of essays entitled: “African Farmers in the Digital Age: how digital solutions can enable rural development.”

In this new report, 20 African and global experts discuss ways to transform African agriculture, with a focus on food systems and rural smallholder farmers. A quick summary of a few priorities to speed up change:

# Rethink agricultural policies;
# Expand access to digital technology (to help smallholder farmers carry out business transactions like banking, networking and sourcing info on inputs, innovations, pricing, markets, training, etc.); and
# Improve collaboration and information sharing.

__Most important of all is… wider access to valuable information, which is why I’m telling you about this new report right away!

The report is 141 pages long so I’ll share just one excerpt written by Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) which first appeared in this special edition (February 2016):

“. . .Right now, hundreds of millions of Africans rely on farming for a living, but they don’t grow as much—and they don’t sell as much of their surplus—as they could. As a result, Africa had to import $40 billion worth of food last year. Something is not functioning properly when half of the continent’s labor produces food, and the continent still buys its food from somewhere else!

So what is going wrong? Why aren’t African smallholders tapping into that $40 billion market? The main problem stems from the fact that agricultural markets, like banks, exist on a formal plane, whereas smallholders exist on an informal one. So farmers and markets cannot communicate effectively. Smallholders don’t know what the market will pay. They can’t grow crops according to the market’s specifications because they don’t know the specifications. They have no way to learn the farm-management practices that would let them double or even triple their yields. Instead, they grow mostly what they can eat or trade locally, the way they’ve always grown it.

As long as this information disconnect exists, there will be a related physical disconnect. The rails and roads that would take crops from the farm gate to the market don’t exist, because the market doesn’t want the crops the farmers are growing in the ways and volumes they’re growing them. So farmers are isolated, stuck with no money and no voice that the marketplace can hear.

But digital technology can act almost like a secret decoder ring that links the formal and informal sectors. Smallholders are already using mobile phones to communicate within their networks, to talk to family and friends. The institutions that make up the formal marketplace communicate in much the same way. So it is now possible to generate a two-way conversation between Africa’s producers and Africa’s consumers—and this is an entirely new conversation. Each party will be able to express its needs to the other for the first time ever.

Imagine a smallholder farmer who can discover, easily, that yams are expected to fetch a high price this year. She can also contact a local cooperative to combine her yams with those of her neighbor, satisfying the buyers’ volume requirements. Because she is assured of sale at harvest, she can afford to take out a loan, using her phone, to buy fertilizer or better storage or whatever else she needs to maximize her yield. In the meantime, instead of waiting for a visit from an extension worker who may or may not know about yams and the soil in this particular region, she can get advice tailored by crop and soil type via digital video or text.

When information can flow easily, when data is democratized, the cost of doing business in agriculture goes way down, just as transaction costs go way down when financial transactions are digital. The excessive time and money farmers, agribusinesses, and cooperatives spend managing the risk of doing business with unknown partners is a drag on efficiency. When these partners can know each other easily—can function as nodes in a single marketplace—agriculture will thrive.

It’s not as easy as the above paragraphs may make it seem. Building a digital agriculture system that actually accomplishes these goals will take innovation and investment. But the point is that before it wasn’t possible, and now it is. The added variable of digital technology has changed the
agricultural development equation. . .”

You can view and download (free of charge) the full Foreign Affairs special edition on agriculture here: http://fam.ag/20JyIQm

END

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Posted February 16, 2016 by KIVIWOSHEG in Uncategorized

Valentine   Leave a comment

vantentine day is marked today we decided to inspire the children by giving them clothes as their guardian go out to work for food in order to at least have a meal a day. The children were excited with others opting to put on the clothes immediately. This just show how things we take for granted becomes the things some pray for everyday. The art of giving doesn’t have limitation hence each one of us have something to offer in their lifetime.

Posted February 14, 2016 by KIVIWOSHEG in Uncategorized

Civic education   Leave a comment

There are this much hyped issue of youths who have reached 18 years to take Id’s and subsequently to register as voters in readiness for the 2017 general elections.  This clamor is good idea as its the only opportunity for them to determine the leaders that will represent them in the subsequent years but there is fundamental questions to be asked as pertaining to mismanagement of the last general election going by the number of petitions that were filed as some are still pending in court three years down the line.  What assurance do they have that the coming election the people’s decision will be reflected on the announced outcome.  Secondly we have witnessed numerous scandal happening in the recent past without clear mechanism of recovering the looted money from the public money what guaranteed do we have that the same money won’t be used to bribe voters to vote in certain manner and that their voters card is only ticket to get opportunity to share in the loot.  Like in last general election their was rhetoric fear created following the violence that occurred in 2007/8 that similar occurrence would happen in 2013 so most voters in certain informal settlement like Mathare were being offered vehicle to transport them to their respective home prior to voting day thereby denying them a chance to vote. What security measures are put in place to avert similar misleading information or how are the voters being sensitized to register in regions they feel comfortable with.  Lastly their are national leaders who are known to visit their constituents after election and are only seen during campaign when seeking for reelection . This are generally the most dangerous leaders in terms of incitement and voter bribery and as the citizens too understands this also their time to eat what was looted from them in the past years and it’s only their opportunity to enjoy what measures have been put in place to make sure the money doesn’t divide communities that have coexisted peacefully for the past years only to turn to killing each other falling to prey of divide and rule tactic of an incumbent to maintain status quo. Also there have been biasness when it comes to nominations depending on who you know or how close you are to to the party leadership or how much money you can offer the party I think this should be another important aspect to be addressed before the primaries as it help in reducing violence and bring hope that their is open space for succession. And again this issues of different institutions arm twisting the government as we had to election that unless their issues as institutions aren’t addressed they won’t vote in a particular manner this is what has led to peace meal way of

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addressing issues as issues can’t be addressed holistically as citizens are left divided as a few individuals are left comfortable with how things are at the expense of the majority citizens who might not have voice to air their views.  Now those clamoring for voter registration should tell us the issues they want to tackle to warrant us register as voters and strategies they intend to use to provide solutions to the raised issues as we are not only stepping stones for individuals to achieve their personal goals of ascending to power we deserve better treatment as equal partners on how we want to be governed

Posted February 11, 2016 by KIVIWOSHEG in Uncategorized

Leadership   Leave a comment

Source: Leadership

Posted February 8, 2016 by KIVIWOSHEG in Uncategorized

Leadership   1 comment

  • Being a leaders doesn mean you wait until you are given opportunity to lead but rather identifying a problem then taking action to make the difference.
  • Education the children is not only securing their future but also building peace because to build peace, we must promote fair and sustainable development that will relieve inequalities. Inequalities can drive and perpetuate conflict, which, in turn, hinders all aspects of development – leaving conflict areas caught in a continuous struggle.Income inequality impedes growth and hits the poorest of the world the hardest, whose wages plateau while chief executive salaries continue to increase rapidly. Not to mention that rising income inequality intensifies other inequalities therefore to close this wealth gap and therefore ameliorate other existing inequalities, Oxfam has made suggestions for policy-makers that stress transparency and easier accessibility. They have also called for an approach that would require all countries, developed and developing, to cooperate in ensuring a multilateral system for exchanging information on a regular basis. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 aim to further the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2015 with a new set of objectives. The MDGs reached the goal of halving the world’s extreme poverty, but now the bar is set higher with SDG #1: to eradicate extreme poverty altogether. In addition, the SDGs now also make clear the important link between development and peace. SDG 16 sets a goal of promoting “just, peaceful, and inclusive societies” as a critical part of the global development agenda.

    If we are to reduce inequalities and violence and find permanent, peaceful solutions to conflict, local communities themselves must be at the forefront of leading the peacebuilding and development agendas in their societies. By supporting local peacebuilding, we support sustainable solutions to conflicts and strengthen the development potential of societies. Building peace from the ground up, instead of trying to impose it externally, is lasting and results positively in every aspect of a society, including the economy. Extreme violence and conflict have dire effects on a country’s economic growth and result in injustices that last for years. Areas that are ridden with conflict have to face healthcare costs, the costs of criminal justice and social welfare responses, in addition to the costs of lost productivity and security services that could have been put to more constructive social spending. Promoting peaceful alternatives to violence and advocating for human rights is vital to the process of eradicating injustices and reducing global inequality.

    We can close the wealth gap by 2030, country by country, while promoting just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. A call to policy-makers and for government participation is crucial, promotion of peaceful and just societies is vital, and taking action is critical. Without change, the current trend of increasing wealth inequality will continue, compounding conflict and undermining the right to human dignity for all, and the world can t never be at peace

     

     

     

     

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Posted February 8, 2016 by KIVIWOSHEG in Uncategorized