App-based agriculture for a tech-savvy farmer

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The use of mobile technologies in African agriculture continues to grow. Photo: David Ng’ambi

Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing a digital revolution bought about through the advancement and increasing availability of mobile technologies. Improved affordability has placed mobile devices in the hands of more African’s than ever before, with 444 million subscribed users in 2017. Take Tanzania for example where the average cost of mobile phones has fallen by more than half in five years to just over $100 today.

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Taking action on invasives and youth unemployment in Zambia

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Tibonge Mfune sampling fall armyworm larvae to survey for natural enemies in Zambia.

Youth unemployment is a significant economic and social burden for Zambia. So too is the impact of invasive species on agricultural production and the natural environment.

Are these mutually exclusive challenges, or can youth unemployment and tackling agricultural challenges, such as invasive species, be effectively positioned together to deliver jobs, food security and sustainable agriculture?

 

 

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Adapt – Amplify – Accelerate – recommends new report on rural development

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According to a new report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) economic growth is not enough to transform rural areas in developing countries; governments need to develop inclusive policies and tailor investments if they want to make a fundamental change in rural peoples’ quality of life.

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Enhancing youth engagement in agricultural careers

Bangladesh trainees

The 12th August marked this year’s International Youth Day with a theme of Youth Civic Engagement.  The aim of the day was to promote civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life, so that young people can be empowered and make a full contribution to society, development and peace.

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Alcohol and sport: “drinking culture” affects youth health

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Building the beer tower at Lord's during England vs Sri Lanka.
Photo: Wendie Norris

We went to Lord’s cricket ground to see England play Sri Lanka recently [14/6/14]. In our Lower Compton stand, the cricket was incidental to the main sport of drinking & talking. When did cricket at Lord’s get like this? Apparently at least since 2011 according to The Guardian’s Barney Ronay:  Sozzled – how English cricket got lost in drink

Our enjoyment was marred by the constant hubbub and noise: you could not hear bat on ball.

A group of young men in front of us, with one prime instigator (who somehow never got caught), in great good humour started a “feed the snake”… plastic beer cups were collected into one stack or beer tower and passed through the stand to be added to, while particpants shouted “feed the snake”. Great cheers would start up from the crowded stand – nothing to do with what was happening on the pitch – but because of these precarious beer towers.  For me, it was amusing only the once: repetitions were distracting and required constant security intervention.

What hit me from the beer towers was how many beers our stand had clearly been through between 11am and 2pm. Aided no doubt by the cardboard drinks holders enabling people to carry at least four pints in one hand. And not just beer… 4 lads behind us went through 3 bottles of champagne in the afternoon’s play.

Who was in the stand? All ages, but our stand was particularly full of young people (mostly lads) in their mid-twenties, good humouredly drinking themselves silly but not aggressive. Just silly enough to lose a sense of proportion and consideration for others in the stand.

Most of the drink on the day was bought at the venue, and there was plenty of advertising sponsorship linked to alcohol. The UK government’s minimum pricing for different drinks (April 6, 2014) to stop extreme discounting of alcohol in England and Wales, wouldn’t have helped at Lords.

Back at work I decided to investigate the health facts behind the “drinking culture” amongst young people and in particular young sports fans.

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The ethics of tobacco packaging

It’s a surreal moment when you realise that packaging is an ethical issue. Where does the packaging end up after you have consumed the product (landfill or recycled or exported to become someone else’s problem)? Did the advertising on the packaging influence your choice of one food brand over another?

The choices you made, and your government allowed, affect your environment & your health. But I’m not about to tell you about improved food labelling on packaging to combat obesity. This is the week of the World NO Tobacco Day (31st May) and this blog addresses tobacco packaging: the use of standardized packaging to further reduce consumption and address the world's leading agent of death…tobacco.

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Despite the  WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,  taxation policies and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, MORE needs to be done.

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