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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali

    Millet, rice, and sorghum constitute the basic staple foods for the majority of the Malian population. Millet has traditionally been the most widely consumed, but since 2005 rice has become a popular substitute in urban households. Sorghum is generally more important for rural than urban households. Markets included are indicative of local conditions within their respective regions. Ségou is one of the most important markets for both the country and region because it is located in a very large grain production area.
    Bamako, the capital and largest urban center in the country, functions as an assembly market. It receives cereals from Koulikoro, Ségou, and Sikasso for consumption and also acts as an assembly market for trade with the northern regions of the country (Kayes and Koulikoro) and Mauritania. Markets in the deficit areas of the country (Timbuktu and Gao) receive their supplies of millet and rice from Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria
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    Sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea, gari (fermented cassava starch), and rice are all found in Nigerian markets. Sorghum, millet and maize are widely consumed by most households, but especially in the north, and are used by various industries. Maize is mainly used by the poultry industry as a raw material for feed while sorghum is used by breweries for producing beverages. Sorghum and millet are important for households in the north, particularly the border markets where millet is also heavily traded with Niger. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north. Rice is produced and consumed throughout the country. The north is a major production and consumption area for cowpea which flows to the south for use by households and food processing industries. Ilela, Maidua, and Damasak are all critical cross-border markets with Niger. Saminaka, Giwa, Dandume, and Kaura are important grain markets in the north, which are interconnected with the Dawanu market in Kano, the largest wholesale market in West Africa, and some southern markets such as Bodija in Ibadan. Millet, sorghum, maize, and cowpea are among the most important cereals traded at Dawanu, while cassava and some cereals are traded with Bodija.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania
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    Local rice and sorghum are the most consumed food products by poor households in Mauritania followed by imported wheat which is a substitute that these households turn to the most. Local rice is grown in the river valley (in the southern regions of Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimakha). Sorghum is produced in all areas of production (rainfed) and in flood-recession areas. However, a significant portion is imported from Mali and Senegal. Mauritania depends greatly on food imports (70% in a good agricultural year and 85% in a bad year) than on internal production. Nouakchott is the principal collection market for imported products and also the distribution market where traders acquire supplies for the secondary markets referenced below. Cooking oil is consumed mainly in urban areas. The sale of animals is a lifestyle in all areas and an important source ofincome and food.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan

    Imagine urgently needing medical attention without available commercial airlines, only tracks running in the desert. Imagine trying to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance with roadways rendered impassable from flooding.

    N’Djamena – The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Chad constitutes an essential part of humanitarian operations, evacuating aid workers and providing access to vulnerable populations in the remotest parts of the country.

    In a vast country like Chad, access to health care and medication can be a challenge for aid workers. Regions in need of humanitarian assistance are often located far away from cities and medical facilities. UNHAS transports light cargo such as medical supplies, information and communications technology equipment, and carries out medical and security evacuations.

    In May 2012, Nassar, a WFP staff member was evacuated from Haraze to the capital N’Djamena, more than 900km away. Suffering from arterial hypertension, Nassar had seen a doctor in Haraze, but the medications he needed were not available in the region. Nassar’s health quickly deteriorated, requiring immediate medical evacuation. Thanks to UNHAS, Nassar was evacuated to N’Djamena on a day’s notice.

    “UNHAS service is excellent and responds quickly to emergency requests,” said Nassar. Once evacuated to N’Djamena, Nassar received immediate medical care. Two weeks later, he returned to Haraze on another UNHAS flight and resumed work.

    Not only is UNHAS critical for evacuating humanitarian aid workers, but it provides access to vulnerable populations in the remotest parts of the country. In Chad, sites hosting refugees from Sudan and Central African Republic, and food insecure and malnourished populations, are found in regions that are hardest to access. UNHAS is especially important during the five-month rainy season when many locations become inaccessible by road due to flooding.

    In 2012, UNHAS transported more than 65,000 passengers and 180 metric tons of cargo in Chad alone. UNHAS in Chad is managed by the United Nations World Food Programme. There are four UNHAS aircrafts in Chad and 17 destinations within the country. Thousands of vulnerable populations in Chad rely on humanitarian assistance for survival.

    UNHAS’ motto – “WFP Aviation, our wings save lives” – captures its critical role, whether it is for medical evacuation of humanitarian aid workers, or to provide WFP food assistance to vulnerable populations and refugees in need of assistance throughout the country.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, World

    El proyecto de la FAO "Las voces de los hambrientos" se llevará a cabo en forma experimental en cuatro países

    13 de marzo de 2013, Roma - Una forma nueva, más rápida y más precisa de medir el hambre y la inseguridad alimentaria en el mundo será pronto probada sobre el terreno por la FAO en varios países de forma experimental.

    Esta nueva medición se basa en la recopilación de información sobre el alcance y la gravedad de la situación de hambre de las personas que padecen inseguridad alimentaria, a través de una encuesta anual cuidadosamente diseñada que se realizará en colaboración con la empresa especializada en sondeos Gallup.

    A partir de este mes, el nuevo enfoque -conocido como proyecto Las voces de los hambrientos (Voices of the Hungry, en inglés)- se ultimará con la colaboración de importantes expertos en este campo y se probará de forma experimental en cuatro países: Angola, Etiopía, Malawi y Níger. Estos países han acordado avanzar hacia la erradicación total del hambre, en línea con el Reto Hambre Cero del Secretario General de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon.

    El plan es ampliar luego la encuesta a más de 160 000 participantes en hasta 150 países incluidos en la Encuesta Mundial Gallup, y publicar los resultados actualizados en cada país de forma anual. El proyecto tendrá una duración de cinco años y dará lugar a la creación de un nuevo estándar certificado por la FAO para la vigilancia de la seguridad alimentaria que podría ser fácilmente adoptada por otras encuestas en los hogares.

    Herramienta esencial en la lucha contra el hambre

    "Este método innovador será una herramienta esencial para los gobiernos, la sociedad civil y otras organizaciones nacionales e internacionales en la lucha contra el hambre", asegura Jomo Sundaram, Subdirector General de la FAO a cargo del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Social. "También será clave –añade- para aumentar la rendición de cuentas de los gobiernos y alentarles a comprometerse a erradicar el hambre".

    A pesar de las recientes mejoras, la metodología utilizada actualmente por la FAO no es capaz de proporcionar una visión global de las múltiples dimensiones del hambre. En este momento, la FAO es capaz de controlar con precisión la disponibilidad de alimentos a nivel nacional, sobre todo en términos de ingesta energética potencial, mientras que el nuevo indicador medirá el acceso a los alimentos a nivel individual, y proporcionará una idea más clara de cómo la gente sufre la inseguridad alimentaria a nivel personal.

    El nuevo enfoque complementará el indicador de la FAO ya existente sobre el porcentaje de personas subnutridas en la población, que se ha desarrollado para controlar el progreso hacia el primer Objetivo de Desarrollo del Milenio de reducir a la mitad la prevalencia del hambre en 2015. Se trata de un complemento muy necesario, ya que proporciona información sobre una serie de aspectos que caracterizan la vivencia de la inseguridad alimentaria, y no sólo sobre el consumo de calorías.

    Ocho preguntas

    En virtud del proyecto Las voces de los hambrientos se seleccionarán muestras representativas a nivel nacional de entre1 000 y 5 000 personas –en función del tamaño del país-, para responder ocho preguntas diseñadas para averiguar si -y de qué forma- los encuestados han experimentado inseguridad alimentaria en los últimos 12 meses

    Las preguntas son:

    Durante los últimos 12 meses, ha habido algún momento en el que, debido a la falta de dinero o de otros recursos:¿Estuvo preocupado por la posibilidad de quedarse sin comida?¿Fue incapaza de consumir alimentos saludables y nutritivos?¿Consumió solamente unos pocos tipos de alimentos?¿Tuvo que saltarse alguna comida?¿Comió menos de lo que piensa debería haber comido?¿Su familia se quedó sin comida?¿Estaba hambriento pero no comió?¿Pasó un día entero sin comer?

    Las preguntas están formuladas de tal manera que se pueda establecer la posición de los encuestados en una escala de experiencia de inseguridad alimentaria que diferencia entre la inseguridad alimentaria leve, moderada y grave. Cuestionarios similares y las escalas de inseguridad alimentaria han sido utilizados por el Gobierno de EEUU para identificar a los beneficiarios de cupones de alimentos, y por Brasil para elegir a los destinatarios de su programa de bienestar social Bolsa Familia.

    Un indicador asequible y oportuno

    "Esta es una iniciativa nueva y apasionante de la FAO, ya que nos permitirá entender mejor la gravedad de la inseguridad alimentaria de una manera económica y oportuna", señala Carlo Cafiero, el estadístico de la FAO a cargo del proyecto. "También proporcionará a la FAO una herramienta asequible y coherente a nivel metodológico para la vigilancia del hambre en el mundo", añade.

    Los resultados de las encuestas estará disponible en días en lugar de años, permitiendo a la FAO obtener una instantánea casi en tiempo real de la situación de la inseguridad alimentaria de un país. Esta será la primera ocasión en que la FAO se hace cargo de la recolección de datos. Al mismo tiempo, la Organización de la ONU ayudará a los países a incluir la escala en sus planes y programas de encuestas en curso para asegurar la sostenibilidad futura.

    La FAO está actualmente en conversaciones con potenciales socios para que aporten recursos con el fin de movilizar fondos para el conjunto del proyecto Las voces de los hambrientos, mientras que el proyecto experimental en cuatro países será financiado mediante una iniciativa separada.


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  • 03/13/13--18:29: World: Drought Hits Policies
  • Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Kenya, Kiribati, Mexico, Morocco, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    By Isolda Agazzi

    GENEVA, Mar 13 2013 (IPS) - Drought has dramatically increased as a consequence of climate change. Most countries react to it only after it has occurred, but don’t have national policies to prevent it. The high-level meeting on national drought policies in Geneva this week is trying to match scientific knowledge with political awareness.

    “Drought is a natural phenomenon, but over the last decades, as a consequence of climate change, it has been escalating in frequency and intensity, affecting millions of people across the world,” Loc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCC), said at the meeting.

    The meeting, jointly organised by UNCC, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), brings together scientists and government officials to “start a dialogue on national policies,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO. “We have to facilitate the transition from crisis management to catastrophes prevention, like it has been successfully done for tsunamis and other natural catastrophes.”

    Drought affects more people than any other natural disaster: since 1900 more than 11 million people have died as a consequence of drought, and over two billion people have been affected. In Africa, a third of the people already live in drought-affected areas.

    Half of the world population will live in areas of high water scarcity by 2020. And drought is the single most common cause of food shortages, severely affecting food security in developing countries and jeopardising the FAO’s effort to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050 in order to feed a world population of 9 billion.

    “Last year, the U.S. was hit by a severe drought that cost 1 percent of GDP,” Ann Tutwiler, special representative of the FAO in Geneva told IPS in an interview. “It affected the livestock that had to be sent earlier to the slaughterhouse. Damages could be somehow limited since U.S. biofuel policies allow, in cases of emergency, to use the cereals to feed the cattle instead of fuelling the cars. But it did not have much impact of human beings, except for the increase in the prices of cereals.”

    In the Horn of Africa, drought affected 13 million people in 2011. In the worst-affected regions of Somalia, cereal prices were up 260 percent and, in Kenya, wheat yields dropped 45 percent compared to the year before.

    In the 2007-2008 drought in Syria, 75 percent of the country’s farmers suffered total crop failure. The drought in Northern Mexico between 2010 and 2011 destroyed 900,000 hectares of farmland, and 1.7 million head of livestock were lost.

    “The only country in the world that has a full-fledged drought policy is Australia,” Mohamed Bazza, senior official at the land and water division at FAO told IPS. “Kiribati and Morocco have national policies on water that are first steps towards good drought policies, but they are still sectorial and not comprehensive. Water is not the only sector that needs to be well planned, but all sectors do, like agriculture. Or, the strategy exists, but it is not implemented.”

    Tackling drought has been at the centre of the FAO’s mandate since its establishment. The Rome-based UN agency has implemented projects in emergency responses, but also in mitigation and preparedness, like establishment of regional drought management networks.

    “We were able to work in specific countries and regions where challenges are recognised, but we cannot work in countries that don’t ask us to,” Tutwiler told IPS. “The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness at the political level. Not enough countries are able to organise interdisciplinary responses to drought, and in many areas it is much easier to respond to emergencies than to longer-term issues. And from the side of donor agencies, prevention and response to drought are often not well coordinated.”

    On the financial side, Mohamed Bazza believes that countries can fit their policies in their own regular budgets, like the ones for agriculture. “Drought policy is country specific and it should accommodate economic and social conditions. Of course, the more funding you have, the better; but you don’t need to have extra funding to start. It is not the costs that prevent countries to have proactive policies. It is the lack of political awareness.”

    According to Tutwiler, the private sector has a special role to play in preventing drought, for example by developing new irrigation technologies or systems, by providing training for farmers in production techniques that can mitigate drought, or in identifying drought tolerant crops.

    What about the NGOs who maintain that there are enough traditional drought resilient seeds, that ecological agriculture is the best response to climate change, and there is no need to develop new varieties of seeds whose control will be in the hand of a couple of multinationals through patents?

    “It is important that this issue of intellectual property has been addressed by NGOs because there is much more sensitivity to it now, and the international community is trying to find solutions,” Tutwiler said.

    “A lot of lessons have been learned from organic agriculture that can be applied more broadly. But given the challenges of climate change, we cannot a priori rule out a particular technology. A single one will not be right for all countries. Whether you use traditional seeds or commercial ones, you must make sure that they are adapted to the local conditions and wont’ affect the environment.

    “There is more and more integration of local knowledge with more sophisticated techniques that will help getting the local varieties that are found to be drought resilient, into a wider use.”

    She added that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture allows for flexibilities for smallholder farmers to be reimbursed if some of their traditional seeds are commercialised.


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    Source: International Monetary Fund
    Country: Mali

    Communiqué de presse n° 13/73

    Le 13 Mars 2013

    Une mission du Fonds monétaire international (FMI) conduite par M. Christian Josz, a séjourné à Bamako du 28 février au 13 mars et est parvenue à un accord préliminaire sur la poursuite du soutien au Mali dans le cadre de la facilité de crédit rapide (FCR).

    La mission a rencontré M. Django Cissoko, Premier Ministre, M. Tièna Coulibaly, Ministre de l’Économie, des Finances et du Budget, M. Marimpa Samoura, Ministre délégué chargé du Budget, M. Konzo Traoré, Directeur national de la Banque centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, ainsi que des représentants de l’Assemblée nationale, de la société civile, des syndicats, du secteur privé et des partenaires au développement du Mali.

    Au terme de la mission, M. Josz a fait la déclaration suivante :

    «En 2012, l'économie du Mali a souffert de la crise politique et sécuritaire. L'occupation du Nord du pays a perturbé la production agricole et le commerce. L'instabilité politique et l’insécurité dans le Sud ont freiné l'investissement. Le nombre de voyageurs à destination du Mali a considérablement chuté, ce dont ont particulièrement souffert le secteur du commerce et celui de l’hôtellerie et de la restauration. Les bailleurs de fonds ont interrompu leur soutien budgétaire et une bonne partie de leur aide-projet. En réaction, le gouvernement a réduit la plupart des dépenses d'équipement, de sorte que le secteur du bâtiment et des travaux publics a accusé un net repli. Cependant, la campagne agricole 2012-13 a été bonne et le secteur minier a aussi contribué à la croissance. Globalement, le Produit Intérieur Brut (PIB) s’est contracté de 1,2 pour cent en volume et l’inflation moyenne a augmenté jusqu`à 5,3 pour cent en raison de la mauvaise campagne agricole en 2011.

    «A la suite de l'évolution récente favorable de la situation politique et sécuritaire, les perspectives économiques pour 2013 sont encourageantes. La croissance du PIB devrait atteindre 4,8 % en volume et, grâce aux bonnes récoltes, l'inflation devrait tomber en dessous de 3 %. Plusieurs bailleurs de fonds ont annoncé la reprise de leur aide au développement après que les autorités eurent adopté une feuille de route pour rétablir l'administration dans le Nord et organiser des élections. Le gouvernement prépare une loi de finances rectificative pour allouer cette aide. Ces fonds seront utilisés pour financer la mise en œuvre de la feuille de route et pour soutenir le secteur privé en réglant les arriérés et en reprenant les dépenses d'équipement. Grâce à l'intervention militaire de partenaires étrangers, les dépenses militaires devraient rester à l’intérieur de l'enveloppe prévue dans le budget initial.

    Il n'en demeure pas moins que des besoins essentiels ne sont toujours pas financés. Le gouvernement présentera ces besoins aux bailleurs de fonds lors de la table ronde qui doit se tenir en mai à Bruxelles dans l'espoir de combler l'écart de financement qui subsiste pour 2013 et les années à venir.

    «Le FMI a apporté son concours au Mali en janvier sous forme d'un décaissement de 18 millions de dollars ( environ 9 milliards de francs CFA) au titre de la FCR et il a la ferme volonté de continuer à soutenir le Mali au moment où il sort de la crise. La mission est parvenue à un accord préliminaire sur des indicateurs quantitatifs pour le reste de 2013 et des réformes d'accompagnement. Sur cette base, et pour autant que les résultats restent bons jusqu'à fin mars, la mission proposera un deuxième décaissement, d'un montant de 15 millions de dollars (7,5 milliards de francs CFA), au titre de la FCR. La réunion du Conseil d'administration pour examiner ce dossier est prévue pour début juin.

    «Les membres de la mission tiennent à remercier les autorités pour leur excellente organisation, les informations exhaustives qu’elles ont mises à leur disposition, et les entretiens francs et productifs qu’ils ont eus avec elles.»


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    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Cameroon

    By Monde Kingsley Nfor

    DOUALA, Cameroon, Mar 14 2013 (IPS) - The fruit farmers in Njombe, a small town in the coastal Littoral Region of Cameroon, learned a life lesson about “making lemonade out of lemons” – or rather “dried fruit out of fruit” when their land was taken from them by the government and leased to an international farming company.

    In 1998, 34 fruit farmers lost 70 hectares of their land to Plantation de Haut Penja (PHP), a subsidiary of French company Compagnie Fruitiere, to which the Cameroonian government leased 4,500 hectares of land to grow bananas.

    But in 2003, thanks to the assistance and loans from the local NGO the Network for the Fight against Hunger (RELUFA), the farmers were able to purchase farmland in Njombe. The NGO also assisted the farmers with loans to buy fertilisers and chemicals and organised them in a cooperative called the Common Initiative Group (CIG) Esperance.

    Bika Sadi is one of the farmers who has been growing bananas, pineapples and papaya on his new land and selling it to the dried fruit manufacturing business that RELUFA set up in 2009.

    “We supply our products at set prices to the dried fruit project. A kilogramme of fresh papaya is sold at less than 20 cents on the local market, but the project buys it at 31 cents. And a kilogramme of fresh banana and pineapple sell for 10 cents on the local market but the project buys them for 24 cents,” Sadi told IPS.

    The initiative, called the Fair Fruit project, sells oven-dried pineapples, mangoes, bananas and papaya. But it was born out of failed attempts by the farmers to obtain compensation for the loss of their land.

    The farmers took PHP to the Wouri High Court in Douala in 2005, and after five court appearances over three years, the company and the farmers reached an out-of-court settlement in 2008. However, only 28,000 of the 120,000 dollars promised in the negotiations were paid to the farmers.

    A year later, Fair Fruit was created. The dried fruit packaging is clear about the reasons for the business. The label reads: “Fair Fruit is grown by Cameroonian farmers who were forced off their land by a transnational company seeking to establish its vast plantations. The fruit is cultivated and harvested in a just and environmentally friendly manner and traded under fair terms”.

    Daniel Mahatma, a local fruit farmer in Njombe, manages the project that employs 10 people to work in the small processing plant built by RELUFA.

    “The workers in this plant earn 2.50 dollars a day for five hours of work, which is a modest income for a youth who has the rest of the day for other activities,” Mahatma told IPS.

    The dried fruit is packaged and then distributed to supermarkets, hotels and airports.

    “We also sell the product to potential buyers through trade fairs and agro-pastoral shows,” Michelle Danleu, Fair Fruit’s sales and marketing officer, told IPS.

    The profits have been ploughed back into the project and will fund a second phase.

    In a country where an increasing number of smallholders have been forced off their land, the expansion of the project could help many more farmers like the ones in Njombe.

    “Fair Fruit … could also tell the story of other marginalised farmers all over Cameroon,” Jaff Bamenjo, the assistant coordinator for RELUFA, told IPS.

    “We are concerned about the new wave of investments in land and the negative impact on local food production and rural communities’ access to land,” Bamenjo added.

    According to a 2012 Food and Agricultural Organization report titled “Investment Policy Support, Foreign Agricultural Investment Profile Cameroon”, the general foreign direct investment inflow into Cameroon was less than 113 million dollars in the 1990s, but reached 337 million dollars in 2009.

    While there are no official figures on foreign agricultural investment in Cameroon, the report notes that some 48 percent of Cameroon’s population depend on agriculture for a living.

    Even the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is concerned about the number of large agricultural plantations in the country that have pushed smallholders off their land.

    “Large plantations have a negative effect not only on local food production and supply, but they also affect the social economy of the locality where they exist. Added to the fact that most local farmers are usually evicted from farm lands, the farmers in most cases are restricted from farming close to the boundaries of plantations for fear that they might steal from the plantation farms,” Collette Ekobo, the agriculture inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told IPS.

    As an agriculture inspector, Ekobo evaluates the performance of agricultural services, rural productivity and development in the sector and has authority to represent the ministry’s views.

    “The complaints from farmers (kicked off their land) have been overwhelming in the Littoral and Southwest Region of the country, where most plantations are located,” she said, adding that she was unable to provide figures for the number of farmers affected.

    She said the country’s current land tenure system “does not protect the interests of the locals who have been using these lands since the time of their forefathers.”

    The land tenure system in Cameroon makes it difficult for private individuals to acquire title deeds. The 1974 Ordinance No. 74/1 on land tenure stipulates that private land must be titled and registered. All remaining land is classified as national land, which includes most unoccupied land, unregistered land, communal land held under customary law, informal settlements and grazing land.

    However, obtaining a land right certificate is a costly and long administrative procedure.

    Samuel Nguiffo, from the Centre for Environment and Development, Cameroon, told IPS that as a result most villagers had no formal land titles to their customary agricultural land.

    “Land agreements given to large companies do not respect customary land rights or informal land holdings. The laws and the institutions in place do not protect their interests,” he said.

    An inter-ministerial committee from the Ministry of State Property and Land Tenure is currently revising the land tenure law, and a bill will be introduced in parliament. But civil society groups complain that the process has not been participatory.

    Nguiffo added that there was an assumption that foreign investors created more jobs than local smallholders, but said it was not a proven fact.

    “If communities are given support through access to land, capital and technical assistance you will see them create jobs and wealth and contribute to national development more sustainably than large companies,” he said.

    Meanwhile, on Jan. 16, PHP finally agreed to pay out the remainder of the settlement to the Njombe farmers. The reasons for this are unclear, but it could have had something to do with the labels on the dried fruit.

    “As a precondition for the company to pay this money, they said we must remove the message that is on Fair Fruit packages. The farmers have agreed to this condition,” Bamenjo said.


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Somalia
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • The number of people in food crisis, unable to meet basic food needs without aid, reduced by half in the past six months to 1 million in January 2013. The 1 million people in crisis represent about 14 per cent of the population. At present, none are facing famine conditions
    • An additional 1.7 million people who emerged from crisis in the past year are still, at risk of falling back into crisis without continued support to meet basic needs and build up their livelihoods
    • An estimated 1.1 million Somalis are internally displaced, often living in deplorable conditions. Another one million Somalis are refugees in neighbouring countries
    • 615,000 of the 1.1 million internally displaced people are in food crisis with those living in IDP camps worst off
    • Malnutrition rates remain among the highest in the world. An estimated 215,000 children under five years of age are acutely malnourished
    • In southern Somalia and parts of the North and Central regions, the nutrition situation is likely to remain critical in the first half of the year due to the lack of health infrastructure, poor feeding practices and outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and measles during the April to June rainy season

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    Source: Food Security and Nutrition Working Group
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan (Republic of)
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    REGIONAL WATCH:

    Hotspots

    DR Congo: While conflict in the east is reducing, large areas remain in the control of different factions and with reports of indiscriminate violence against individuals (HRW Feb 13). These threats to personal security restrict movement diminishing household production as well as access to markets

    Watch

    KENYA: Possibility of localised violence during March/April elections may impede access to employment, commerce, production or interrupt local markets with impacts on food security. In the 2007 election, violence also close

    KEY MESSAGES FROM THE FSNWG MEETING February 21, 2013

    Consecutive good seasons have transformed food security conditions into some of the best observed in the past few years in this region. Current conditions have benefited from normal to above normal harvests in 2012, stable food prices and generally good conditions for livestock. Reflecting the improving conditions, numbers of people in IPC Crisis or Emergency (Phase 3 & 4) have reduced.

    Despite currently good, acute food security conditions, seasonal deterioration is expected over the coming months. Dry season conditions including GAM rates of 15 - 30% and low levels of food consumption can be anticipated until the arrival of the March to May rains. Current stable food prices, labour opportunities and small-scale commercial activities will be increasingly important through this period.

    No Regrets responses or interventions that assist short-term crisis coping and reinforce long-term developmental priorities, are receiving increased attention. The ICPALD led Livestock and Pastoralist Working Group used these principles to present response options for the Mandera Triangle pastoral areas predicted to have normal to below normal rainfall this year. Likewise, Nutrition Surge Plans illustrated how government and non-government agencies can enable health facilities to expand basic services during periods of crisis. A one page brief has been prepared to outline No Regrets responses as a different way of working.


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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Kenya, Somalia, Yemen

    Although the humanitarian situation in Somalia has improved slightly, there remain significant concerns: among them, the fate of more than 10,000 Somalis separated from their families. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working to restore contact between family members

    "After two decades of conflict, the task of re-establishing contact between members of dispersed families and of establishing the whereabouts of people who are unaccounted for is immense," said Asha Ismael, the head of ICRC tracing activities for Somalia. Together with the Somali Red Crescent Society and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world, the ICRC has been conducting a major operation to reunite people separated by conflict.

    In Yemen, for instance, ICRC field officers like Mohamed Hersi are trying to put members of the Somali diaspora in touch with their relatives: "We ask the elders in all parts of Yemen to forward tracing lists to their tribe and clan members." In South Africa, where about 70,000 Somalis live, the Somali Association of South Africa runs a family programme supported by the South African Red Cross and the ICRC. "Large numbers of people who had lost contact with other family members have been put back in touch with them, thanks to the programme," said Amin Salat, one of the association's senior officials.

    The ICRC has set up a mobile phone service for the many Somalis who have found refuge in camps in neighbouring Kenya. When she was 19 years old, Yasmeen left Mogadishu for the Dadaab refugee camp: "The Red Cross/Red Crescent service enabled me to get in touch with an old childhood friend who had fled to South Africa," she said. "She was the only person I could still contact."

    Radio programme helps people find their relatives

    As radio remains the easiest way of reaching many Somalis, the ICRC and the BBC have been pooling efforts for many years to locate people whose whereabouts are not known. Each week, the ICRC provides 125 names of such people for the BBC Somali Service to read out. The Service broadcasts the names on a 15-minute programme that is aired five times a week. When people hear their names read out on the radio, they contact the ICRC or the Somali Red Crescent to get in touch with the relatives trying to find them.

    Hashi who lives in Mogadishu, has lost touch with members of his family – his sisters, brothers, and in-laws. He submitted tracing requests to the Somali Red Crescent and now unfailingly tunes in to the BBC programme. Hashi says, “I hold this small radio to my ear every day; I bought it just for this purpose.”

    Local and worldwide tracing services

    The Somali Red Crescent has 23 offices throughout Somalia working to help people to re-establish and maintain ties with their relatives in the country and abroad. In 2012, 543 people submitted tracing requests for family members whose whereabouts were not known; 300 were located and put in touch with their families. All over the world, members of dispersed families seeking to restore contact with each other during or after a crisis can use familylinks.icrc.org, a new website that allows them to get in touch with dedicated specialists who will provide personal follow-up on enquiries. In 2012, the names of 12,000 people were posted on the website: they were all people whose families were looking for them. Anybody in the Somali diaspora can log on to and search the website.

    For Video B-Roll broadcasters, rights free: TV news footage, "Somalia: Tens of thousands still separated from their loved ones," broadcast on Eurovision News and available on www.icrcvideonewsroom.org.

    For further information, please contact: Fatuma Abdisalam Abdulahi, ICRC Somalia, tel: +254 731 008 754 Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 60 or +41 79 536 92 58


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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, REACH
    Country: Mali
    preview



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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, REACH
    Country: Mali
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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Mali
    preview


    Le 14 janvier 2013, la ville de Diabali a été la cible d’attaques et est rapidement passée sous contrôle de différents groupes armés en provenance du Nord Mali. Suite aux combats menés par les forces armées françaises et maliennes (précédés de bombardements aériens), la zone de Diabali est revenue sous contrôle gouvernemental le 21 janvier 2013. C'est à la suite de ces événements et des opérations de déminage menées par les forces armées présentes sur place qu'ACTED, avec le soutien d'UNICEF et en coordination avec CARE et WeltHungerHilfe (WHH), a énvoyé une équipe dans cette zone afin de mener une évaluation rapide des infrastructures de la ville et des principaux services de base (point, eau, hygiène, et assainissement (EHA), écoles, centres de santé et marchés) du 31 janvier au 8 février. Les différents villages périphériques qui ont été affectés par les bombardements ont également été inclus dans les zones ayant fait l'objet de cette évaluation rapide.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: India, Malawi, World

    By Jaspreet Kindra

    GENEVA, 14 March 2013 (IRIN) - It takes more than weathermen and agriculture experts to design an effective drought response policy. Recognizing this, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) invited social scientists and economists to the 11-15 March High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy, at which ministers and other officials are expected to draw up a framework that countries can adapt and mould for their individual use.

    The meeting has underscored the need for a multi-sectoral approach. Drought affects all of society, from agriculture to industry. Both villagers’ and urban residents’ electricity, water supply, income and food might depend on the amount of rainfall in their country.

    Drought kills and displaces more people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined, making it the world’s most destructive natural hazard, according to WMO. As the world’s climate changes, drought intensity and frequency are expected to increase, said Michel Jarraud, the WMO secretary-general.

    "Without national drought policies, countries will continue to respond to drought in a reactive way, or, in other words, they will stay in a constant crisis-management mode," said Robert Stefanski, chief of WMO's agrometeorology division. "The goal is for countries to be resilient and not be totally dependent on relief to deal with droughts. Of course, relief will be a factor, but it should not be the only way countries to deal the droughts or other disasters."

    The economic, social and environmental consequences of droughts have increased significantly worldwide. The World Bank predicts that in Malawi, for instance, severe droughts expected to occur once in 25 years could increase poverty by 17 percent, hitting rural poor communities especially hard. And in India, losses from droughts recorded between 1970 and 2002 have reduced the affected households’ yearly incomes by 60 to 80 percent.

    Getting development right

    A good national drought policy is a good national development policy, says Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, who heads the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. The objectives of both drought policy and development policy are the same: to make populations and systems resilient enough to withstand drought - or other shocks - and continue to grow.

    It is about getting sustainable development right, said Bai-Mass Taal, the executive secretary of the African Ministers’ Council on Water, who led Africa’s discussions on the elements of a good drought policy framework.

    “A drought policy is about integrated land and water management, which in turn is about sustainable use of water and land. And it is also about all other sectors - such as health and the economy - working together,” said Taal, who served as Gambia’s minister of fisheries and natural resources until a few years ago. “It is not just an environmental or agricultural issue anymore.”

    A drought in a major food-producing region can have wider global ramifications, as the 2012 drought in the US demonstrated, pushing prices of major staple grains to record levels, affecting not only people’s access to food in many countries but also their economies.

    Donald Wilhite, who teaches applied climate science at the University of Nebraska and gave the keynote talk on the first day of the meeting, said the development of a national drought policy “should be linked to national development and national water policies, if they exist. This process is about building institutional capacity in many areas.”

    Many countries have early warning systems in place to predict droughts. But an early warning system “is worthless without a mechanism to engage decision-makers at all levels and the institutional capacity to deliver messages in a timely manner."

    And the engagement should move beyond sectors.

    Siddharth Chatterjee, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), pointed out that “as droughts affect all of the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and the environment”, governments will require a framework “to craft a country-specific national drought policy”. They must also balance “between a top-down and bottom-up approach, keeping vulnerable populations at the centre of their focus” by, for example, consulting with civil society.

    Bottom-up

    But climate is growing increasingly variable, making it difficult to plan a response, said Gideon Galu, a scientist with the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). FEWS NET, which provides early warning data for most countries in Africa, has started offering possible scenarios to governments and aid agencies to help them plan.

    Rainfall can vary from village to village, says Hilary Motsiri, IFRC’s senior officer on food security. “We need to bring the communities to the table in the consultations on a drought policy to identify their needs.”

    Communities also have indigenous knowledge and coping mechanisms that need to be strengthened and built upon. “You just cannot hand rain gauges to them to monitor rainfall - many of them have their own ways to measure rainfall and have even maintained communal grain reserves in the past.”

    Faced with increasing climate variability, Australia - one of the few countries to have had a drought policy in place since the 1990s - has engaged in major reforms, conference participants heard. The country now intends to offer a constant package of safety-net measures to farmers and rural communities that are vulnerable to drought. Previously, the measures only kicked after a drought was declared.

    The package, which provides technical support to farmers and their families and an exit plan should they wish to leave farming, aims to make them resilient and not dependent on government support.

    Ultimately, countries have to decide what will work best for them, said Taal. “But it is going to be a tough challenge to make people think beyond their sectors and drive an effective drought policy. It needs tremendous political will at the very top to make this possible.”

    jk/rz


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali, Niger
    preview


    Faits saillants

    • WASH: Plan Niger certifie l’avancée sanitaire du canton de Kourthèye
    • Santé: De nouveaux cas de rougeole à Filingué en dépit de la riposte sanitaire
    • Nutrition: dépister encore et toujours plus

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    Source: International Telecommunication Union
    Country: Mali

    Emergency telecommunications provided to UN humanitarian agencies

    Geneva, 14 March 2013 – ITU has provided satellite terminals for both voice and high-speed data to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support their humanitarian work in the Mali crisis.

    ITU has supplied 30 Thuraya satellite phones to WHO to facilitate health relief efforts in northern Mali.

    “At a time when Mali is recovering from conflict, relief effort by UN humanitarian agencies is much needed to assist people in the affected towns and villages,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said. “ITU is working with WHO and UNHCR to provide requisite support with emergency telecommunication equipment, which is critical in coordinating operations to help the people affected by the crisis.”

    Dr Richard Brennan, WHO Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response, said, “The deployment of satellite communication equipment will help fill a major resource gap in the health sector’s response to the Mali crisis.” He also stated that “during a humanitarian crisis, WHO operations require a range of logistical equipment, including communications for health information management and to comply with field security measures”.

    “We take humanitarian work very seriously,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “In dire situations such as the one in Mali, ITU is ever ready to support UN agencies in their humanitarian effort to assist people and communities caught up in conflict, especially those who have been afflicted by illness and those who have been displaced from their homes.”

    ITU regularly deploys emergency telecommunications across the globe in response to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters.

    For more information, please contact:

    Sanjay Acharya
    Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
    +41 22 730 5046
    +41 79 249 4861
    pressinfo@itu.int


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    Source: EARS
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania

    Delft, March 2013

    Aiming to serve all African farmers, FESA Micro-insurance is growing fast. But, large scale crop insurance puts special demands. Using automated insurance design and monitoring tools, EARS has developed a geo-information approach to crop insurance. Mapped insurance designs can be provided for the entire region, thus allowing for unrestricted sales. This enhanced capability is also reflected in the offer to develop proof-of-concept, free drought insurance design.

    FESA Micro-Insurance is a drought and excessive precipitation insurance system, developed by EARS Earth Environment Monitoring Ltd, a remote sensing and climate services provider in Delft, the Netherlands. The FESA initiative started in 2009 with financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this country. The aim is to develop crop micro-insurance reaching every farmer in Africa. Drought risk analysis is based on more than 30 year of Meteosat relative evapotranspiration (RE) data. Scientific studies and FAO reports show RE to be proportional to crop growth. In this respect RE is considered a more suitable drought insurance index than precipitation.

    2012 was a successful year. Drought insurance has developed for a dozen of projects in Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique and Malawi. These projects were carried out in cooperation with PlaNet Guarantee and other micro-insurance partners. The number of actually insured farmers reached 23 thousand. This number is expected to double every year.

    FESA drought insurance can be developed for every location in Africa without the need to have weather stations around. Therefore, there is a high potential to grow. EARS is currently confronted with the task to develop insurance for thousands of locations on the continent. The challenge has been addressed by developing more fully automated tools. This has resulted in a geo-information approach, where drought risk and insurance design parameters such as strike, exit and premium, are mapped for an entire region. In this way there is maximum spatial coverage and no limitation to selling the insurance product to farmers. This helps reaching a scale where crop drought insurance becomes financially sustainable and affordable to every farmer.

    To demonstrate its enhanced capability, EARS is providing free drought insurance design for up to ten locations to relevant stakeholders. Interested parties must explain their interest and specify crop, sowing/planting window, length of growing season, as well as the name and decimal coordinates of the locations for which the insurance is to be developed.

    -.-
    For information please contact:
    Andries Rosema, Jolien van Huystee
    EARS Earth Environment Monitoring BV
    Kanaalweg 1, 2628 EB Delft, the Netherlands
    Email: fesa@ears.nl, tel +31-15-2562404


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Mali

    LES TITRES

    • Chad: UNHAS plays vital role in saving lives (WFP, 13 March)
    • Tchad : la Première dame plaide pour la scolarisation des filles (Xinhua, 9 mars)
    • Le Tchad envoie 150 étudiants en médecine à Cuba (Xinhua, 12 mars)
    • Les migrants tchadiens déplorent les mauvais traitements infligés par les autorités libyennes (IRIN, 12 mars)
    • Les pays du Sahel tributaires de la pluviométrie et vulnérables aux variations climatiques (Le Soleil, 13 mars)
    • La BAD lance l’autoroute de l’information en Afrique (Agence Ecofin, 12 mars)
    • Tchad : La police nationale reprend du travail après un contrôle général (Xinhua, 13 mars)
    • 15 Mars 2013: «Une journée sans téléphonie mobile» au Tchad (JDT, 14 mars)

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/14/2013 17:35 GMT

    GAO, Mali, March 14, 2013 (AFP) - Thousands of people who fled when Islamists attacked the largest city in Mali's war-torn north have returned, a survey by a local charity working to resettle refugees told AFP on Thursday.

    Tassaght said a study of returning refugees and internally displaced people indicated that 5,800 residents who fled the occupation by Al Qaeda-linked Islamists had come home, most after Gao was liberated in late January.

    The survey, which took the form of a questionnaire to returning residents, showed that "their primary needs are food", Tassaght head Almahadi Ag Akeratane told AFP.

    "The displaced are coming back with nothing," he said, adding that many of those who fled have yet to return.

    Gao and the rest of the northern desert area comprising about 60 percent of Mali fell to ethnic Tuareg rebels a year ago.

    But they lost control to Islamist fighters who imposed a brutal version of sharia law on the local population before Mali's former colonial power France sent in troops and took back the cities of the north in January.

    Gao has enjoyed an uneasy calm in the three weeks since a raid by resurgent militants, and buses coming back from the capital Bamako have been crowded.

    Around 170,000 Malians have fled the region to neighbouring countries and 260,000 others have been displaced internally since early 2012, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Gao had about 90,000 inhabitants, but Tassaght estimates that around 80 percent fled the Islamist invasion.

    "There isn't a single family that isn't missing someone," local councillor Yacouba Maiga told AFP.

    sj/stb/ft/bm


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