BRUSSELS AIRLINES RETUNS TO KENYA AFTER A NINE-YEAR ABSENCE

Nairobi, Tuesday June 4th,2024: Brussels Airlines, Belgium’s flag carrier and the largest airline of Belgium has resumed flights into Nairobi, Kenya after a nine- year hiatus.

The airline which is a member of the Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance touched down at the Kenyatta International Airport on Monday night with 288 travelers, enhancing connectivity between Kenya and Belgium. This marked the first time the airline was landing into Kenya after having previously served the Nairobi route between 2002 and 2015.

Speaking during the reception of the airline, David Tanki, who represented the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Board of Directors said that the resumption of flights to Nairobi by Air Brussels was a positive development for tourism as Kenya aims to become a year-round destination known for its diverse and sustainable tourism offerings. He added that the resumption shows that Belgian and European travelers still have an appetite for Kenyan as a destination.

The Brussels Airlines flight is received with a Water Cannon Salute on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The airline has resumed flights into Kenya after a nine- year hiatus

“The year-round service we shall now be receiving from Airlines Brussels is a significant development for the destination that will boost arrivals throughout all the seasons. This comes as we continue to see interest from other airlines from Europe and other continents into Kenya. We are pleased to see this airline come back to into Kenya after a long absence and hope that it will bring more people to be inspired by the beauty of Magical Kenya” said Tanki.

Mr. Tanki also exuded optimism in the future growth of the sector, noting that travelers from the larger Europe continent will play a big role in the full turn-around of the sector.

“Europe is a key source market for Kenya’s Tourism, ranking second with a 29% market share and contributing 572,352 arrivals last year. In 2023, the number of arrivals from Belgium reached 12,960, up from 9,981 in 2022 indicating a growing recognition of Kenya as a desirable destination within Belgian tourism. The entry of Brussels Airlines is particularly timely as we expect to increase in Belgian arrivals into Kenya and further strengthen our numbers,” he said.

The resumption of air Brussels flights to Nairobi will now bring the number of the airlines’ destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa to 18.Kenya is the second largest market by frequency with 5 weekly flights by Lufthansa, 6 flights by Euro wings discover into coast and now 6 flights into Nairobi by Air Brussels. The service will boost passenger transfers for the diverse Belgian travel sector, which includes charter services, business travel and MICE specialists, online travel agencies, and retail travel agents.

Brussels Airlines Chief Executive Officer Dorothea von Boxberg says “We see a very high interest in our home market Belgium to explore Kenya. Our first flights to Nairobi are completely full. Nairobi is a vibrant city and the perfect gateway for an unforgettable trip to Kenya. The other way around we offer connections to Europe and beyond via Brussels to let Kenyans explore the world, study, or grow their businesses.”. She said.

Ms Von Boxberg added that the airline was working on ways to have more flights going by the increased demand for business and leisure travel among others as well as a positive market reaction.

According to data from Statbel, the third quarter of 2023 saw 6.92 million trips of Belgians abroad, marking an increase of 3.8%, compared to the same period in 2022. However, international travel numbers have yet to reach the peak of 2019 when 7.15 million trips were recorded during the summer. The preference for overseas travel remains high, with 64% of Belgians likely to travel abroad for leisure in the next 12 months. Cost and affordability are crucial factors for 34% of Belgians when planning international trips.

The travel preference for Belgian travelers includes eco-friendly travel experiences, priority in sustainable and responsible tourism practices, and value for authenticity, environmental consciousness, and a sense of community engagement among others.

Kitui Farmers See Success with introduction of Regenerative Agriculture Practices

KITUI COUNTY, 4th June 2024: Smallholder farmers in Kitui county have seen success with the introduction of regenerative agriculture practices to their farms. This comes after AGRA, in collaboration with its implementing partner the Cereal Growers Association, introduced the Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture (STRAK) program in the county.  

The Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture program advocates for adopting agricultural policies in county governments and resilience through home gardens, water conservation, poultry keeping and agroforestry. The Project, funded by the IKEA Foundation and AGRA, has had a successful first and second phase.

The project has proved to be beneficial to farmers with 91% of farmers reporting substantial increases in crop yields by incorporating regenerative agriculture practices. A further 54% of farmers observed improved water retention, signifying a positive impact on water conservation efforts. The project has also influenced soil health, with 52% of farmers noting improvement in soil quality. Regenerative agriculture practices have also contributed to environmental preservation, as 45% of farmers have witnessed reduced soil erosion.

During a courtesy call to Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe, AGRA and CGA made a presentation detailing the progress that the project has made in the county.

“Regenerative agriculture practices have proved to have economic advantages, with 32% of farmers realizing cost savings. An additional 16% of farmers observed a significant increase in the availability of animal feeds, underscoring the multifaceted positive outcomes associated with adopting RA,” said Dr. Kiwia during his presentation.

The courtesy call was then followed by a farmer’s field day that saw farmers from around the county gather at a demo farm to receive information and training on how to incorporate regenerative agriculture practices into their farms.

The farmers field day also allowed the Village Based Advisors to showcase the success of the regenerative agriculture techniques that include use of ripping to reduce soil disturbance, zai pits, incorporating agroforestry as well as livestock integration and home gardens.

In attendance was chief guest, County Executive Commissioner for Agriculture in Kitui County Dr. Stephen Kimwele, who stressed the importance of sector players:

“This farmer’s day is a testimony that despite climate change, we can still do well in agriculture. As far as seed distribution is concerned, the county government will work with the national government to ensure that all agrovets sell genuine certified seeds,” said Dr. Kimwele.

Farmers have gained a wealth of knowledge on Regenerative Agriculture, spanning a wide spectrum from seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals to effective storage methods. AGRA’s commitment lies in bridging the gap between suppliers and farmers, ensuring that agricultural products, brands, and the knowledge and skills needed to utilize them are readily accessible to farmers. 

Also present, CGA Regenerative Agriculture Project Manager, George Maguka, reported:

“The partnership between CGA and AGRA has been very instrumental for the farmers. We have reached 47,000 farmers directly with training and capacity building through our 310 Village Based Advisors (VBAs),” said Maguka.

About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution dedicated to placing smallholder farmers at the core of the continent’s burgeoning economy. AGRA’s mission is to transform agriculture from a mere struggle for survival into a thriving business. In collaboration with its partners, AGRA catalyzes and sustains an inclusive agricultural transformation aimed at increasing incomes and enhancing food security in 11 countries.

About CGA:

The Cereal Growers Association (CGA) is a leading agricultural organization in Kenya dedicated to promoting the interests of cereal farmers and advancing sustainable farming practices. CGA plays a pivotal role in providing training and support to farmers in various regions to enhance food security and rural livelihoods.

EABL Celebrates Tujengane National Consumer Promotion Winners in Grand Style

Nairobi, Kenya-Monday 3rd June 2024-East African Breweries Limited (EABL) hosted a grand celebration party, to honor winners of its ongoing National Consumer Promotion, Tujengane.

Hosted in the heart of Kikuyu, the event sought to bring together the winners to a night of celebration and gratitude. The gathering not only honored over sixty lucky participants but also aimed to reinforce the sense of community that EABL strives to foster among its customers. The event was a testament to EABL’s commitment to rewarding loyalty and enhancing the lives of its consumers.

Launched back in April, the campaign holds a significant relevance in embodying the collective spirit of resilience and togetherness as Kenyans by rewarding EABL customers for their loyalty and foster a sense of community.

Lilian Mbugua, Brand Manager, Chrome, expressed her delight, stating, “We are thrilled to celebrate our Tujengane winners today. This promotion, anchored in the spirit of togetherness, was designed to reward our loyal customers and express our gratitude for their continued support. Seeing the joy on the winners’ faces, some of whom shared stories of how these prizes will transform their lives, makes this initiative even more rewarding.”

Rent waiver winners; Peter Mwangi Gikonyo (left) and Isack Nyota Kamau (Right), pose with Jonathan Rutto - Shopper Manager, EABL (center) at the Tujengane winner's party held at Muthiga Inn in Kikuyu.
Rent waiver winners; Peter Mwangi Gikonyo (left) and Isack Nyota Kamau (Right), pose with Jonathan Rutto – Shopper Manager, EABL (center) at the Tujengane winner’s party held at Muthiga Inn in Kikuyu. 

To participate, one has to purchase any of the participating EABL brands—Chrome Gin, Chrome Vodka, Triple Ace, Kane Xtra, Kenya Cane, Orijin, Gilbeys, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan—submit a unique code found on the labels and stand a chance to win. The promotion features daily, weekly, and monthly draws, offering a variety of exciting prizes that include; 4 brand new cars that will be awarded to 4 lucky winners; 3 lucky winners will each win Ksh 1Million each; 24 lucky winners will ride away with their very own Motor bikes. Also up for grabs are rent waivers worth Ksh 50,000; shopping vouchers worth Ksh 5,000, airtime and more cash prizes. Total targeted number of winners will be over 200,000 ensuring widespread participation and excitement nationally.

Among last winners who were feted were Adriel Juma, a mechanic from Juja who won a motorbike; Isaack Nyota Kamau from Industrial Area, and Peter Gikonyo from Dandora, who both won rent waivers.

The winners shared how the promotion has positively impacted their lives. Isaack Nyota Kamau highlighted the immediate benefits of his rent waiver, allowing him to set up an emergency fund. Peter Gikonyo emphasized the “immense” significance of the win. Adriel Juma, who won a motorbike, expressed how it would enhance his business operations.

“The Tujengane Campaign has so far been a huge success. This event is a testament to that commitment. Witnessing the positive impact on our winners’ lives is incredibly fulfilling.” Added Lilian.

EABL looks forward to creating more rewarding experiences for its customers in the coming weeks, strengthening community bonds and enhancing the lives of many more.

About East African Breweries Limited:

East African Breweries PLC (EABL) is East Africa’s leading branded alcohol beverage business, offering a diverse collection of brands ranging from beer to spirits and adult non-alcoholic drinks. Established in 1922, EABL operates extensive breweries, distillers, and distribution networks in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, with products available in over 10 countries across Africa and beyond. As a consumer-driven company, EABL continuously invests in innovation to meet dynamic consumer needs and trends.

Kenya Airways (KQ) is pleased to announce progress towards resolving the recent grounding of two 787 Dreamliners.

The airline received the necessary engine components on 22nd May 2024 for one of the affected aircraft and as a result, anticipates having it back in operation within 24 hours. 

The  Kenya Airways (KQ) teams have worked tirelessly to readjust the network and schedules and are delighted to report that the network is gradually returning to normal.

Dear Valued Customers,
On Sunday, May 19th, 2024, we issued an update regarding disruptions in our flight schedules due to the unscheduled and extended grounding of two of our 787 Dreamliners. This grounding was caused by constraint in delivery of engine components. Today, we are pleased to announce that we have received the necessary engine components for one of the affected aircraft. As a result, we anticipate having it back in operation within the next 24 hours.


Over the past few days, our dedicated teams have worked tirelessly to readjust our network and schedules. We have also proactively communicated with passengers who were impacted by these changes. We are delighted to report that our network is gradually returning to normal.

We understand the importance of your travel plans and the expectation of a seamless, hassle-free experience when you choose to fly with us. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control led to this disruption, and for that, we sincerely
apologize. Your patience and understanding during this challenging time are greatly appreciated, and we are truly grateful for your continued support.


Rest assured that we are exerting every effort to swiftly and efficiently resolve this issue. Your safety and well-being, along with that of our crew, remain our unwavering top priority.

INTEGRATING BIODIVERSITY IS KEY TO ENHANCE LIVELIHOODS AND PROMOTES EQUITABLE GROWTH IN FOOD SYSTEMS

May 23rd 2024…The government has urged development partners to support small holder farmers adopt sustainable models of farming, in order to build a resilient food system.

While addressing, Food and Land Use (FOLU) coalition meeting in Naivasha, during the International Biodiversity Day, the PS Eng. Festus K. Ng’eno argued that the war against climate change can be only won if all the various stakeholders integrate biodiversity in the food systems.

“By integrating biodiversity into our food systems, we can combat climate change, maintain ecosystem health, and ensure that future generations have access to a diverse and nutritious food supply. This approach not only supports agricultural sustainability but also enhances livelihoods and promotes equitable growth,” explained Eng Ngeno.

He further, added, “Transforming Kenya’s current food system for better nutrition and health will require a paradigm shift that puts consumer diets at the center of policymaking. As agriculture is by far the dominant sector in Kenya’s food system, such a shift will entail striking a balance between traditional objectives like agricultural productivity growth, export stimulation, and farmer support, on the one hand, and the new responsibility for better nutrition and health for all Kenyans.”

Food systems in Kenya are not sustainable in their current status; they rank as a major contributor to national carbon emissions and continue to contribute to the loss of biodiversity. The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the fragility of these systems and underscored the urgency of change. Inclusivity and equity must be at the heart of any food systems transformation.

AGRA’s Country Director John Macharia who gave the opening address noted that “As we work towards food systems transformation efforts in Kenya, we must acknowledge the need to work together. I believe we can do this through focusing on several key areas such as adoption of healthier diets and enhanced food safety, enhanced productivity, and improved access to agricultural inputs and mechanization.”

However, one of Kenya’s strengths in addressing these issues lies in its devolved governance structure. Devolution empowers local authorities to tailor solutions to the unique challenges faced by various regions. Recognizing this potential, we must integrate a context-specific approach into our efforts, embracing inclusivity and innovation as vital enablers of food system transformation.

The meeting was attended by the Food and Land Use Coalition partner organizations including; Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, World Resources Institute and Sustainable Development Solutions Network among 48 other partners.

The 2024 FOLU convening served as a platform for Food Systems and Land Use stakeholders in Kenya, encompassing agriculture, SMEs, policy makers, water management, climate resilience, natural resource management, sustainable consumption, and healthy diets, among others. This years’ FOLU Coalition Wide Meeting tackled a wide array of topics, most notable being;

  • The evaluation of the progress in the implementation of the Kenya Food Systems and Land Use Action Plan 2024-2030
  • Sharing best practices and lessons learned in sustainable food systems transformation through various pathways.
  • How to strengthen partnerships and collaboration among government, private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders.
  • The identifying and prioritization of actions for the next phase of the food systems transformation efforts in Kenya.

End….

About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution dedicated to placing smallholder farmers at the core of the continent’s burgeoning economy. AGRA’s mission is to transform agriculture from a mere struggle for survival into a thriving business. In collaboration with its partners, AGRA catalyses and sustains an inclusive agricultural transformation aimed at increasing incomes and enhancing food security in 11 countries.

About FOLU

Launched in 2022, the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) Kenya seeks to achieve a sustainable food and land use system. FOLU Kenya country platform is part of the global Food and Land Use Coalition already operational in China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, and Indonesia with affiliated platforms in Australia, the Nordics countries and the United Kingdom.

AFRICA FREEDOM DAY – UPHOLDING DIGITAL RIGHTS IN AFRICA

Nairobi, Kenya – Bloggers of Zambia and Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) joins fellow Africans across the continent in commemorating Africa Freedom Day, a momentous occasion that celebrates the hard-fought struggles for independence, democracy, and human rights in Africa.

As we mark this important day, we are reminded of the fundamental principles of freedom, equality, and justice that underpin our collective aspirations for a better, more prosperous Africa.

At the core of Africa Freedom Day is the recognition of the inherent dignity and rights of all Africans, including the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. In today’s digital age, these rights are more relevant and essential than ever before, as they shape our ability to participate fully in the digital sphere, exercise our democratic freedoms, and hold those in power accountable.

However, despite the progress made in advancing digital rights across Africa, significant challenges persist, threatening to undermine the principles of freedom and democracy that we hold dear. From internet shutdowns and censorship to arbitrary arrests and harassment of online activists, we continue to witness violations of digital rights that stifle dissent, silence critical voices, and erode the foundations of democracy and good governance.

As bloggers and digital rights advocates, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Africans across the continent in demanding the protection and promotion of digital rights. We call upon African governments to uphold their commitments to international human rights standards, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, by ensuring:

  1. Freedom of Expression: We urge governments to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression both online and offline, allowing individuals to express their opinions, share information, and engage in public discourse without fear of censorship or reprisal.
  2. Access to Information: We call for the removal of barriers to access to information, including restrictions on internet access, content blocking, and the criminalization of online speech. Access to information is a cornerstone of democracy and development, empowering citizens to make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in civic life.
  3. Privacy and Data Protection: We advocate for robust data protection laws and mechanisms to safeguard individuals’ privacy rights and prevent unauthorized surveillance and data breaches. Privacy is a fundamental human right that must be respected and protected in the digital age.
  4. Digital Inclusion: We emphasize the importance of bridging the digital divide and ensuring universal access to the internet and digital technologies for all Africans, particularly marginalized and underserved communities. Digital inclusion is essential for promoting economic opportunities, social equity, and sustainable development across the continent.
  5. Accountability and Transparency: We call for greater transparency and accountability in the governance of digital technologies, including the regulation of social media platforms, online content moderation, and surveillance practices. Governments must ensure that regulatory frameworks are transparent, inclusive, and subject to democratic oversight.

On this Africa Freedom Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to defending and promoting digital rights as essential components of freedom, democracy, and human dignity in Africa. Together, let us strive to build a continent where the digital space is a vibrant, inclusive, and safe environment for all Africans to exercise their rights and freedoms without fear or discrimination.

Richard Mulonga,                              

CEO- Bloggers of Zambia

Kennedy Kachwanya,

Chairperson, Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE)

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka Receives African Aviation Leadership Award

Nairobi, 24th May 2024 – Kenya Airways Group Managing Director & CEO, Allan Kilavuka, has been honoured with the 2024 African Aviation Leadership Award.

Established by African Aviation Magazine in 1999, this prestigious award recognizes individuals, companies, and organizations that have made significant contributions to the development of aviation in Africa.

Nick Fadugba FRAeS, CEO of African Aviation, praised Kilavuka’s remarkable leadership, stating, “This award highlights Allan’s exceptional leadership, visionary approach, and dedication to advancing the aviation industry across the continent. His innovative strategies and commitment to excellence have set new benchmarks in the industry, inspiring peers and driving significant progress.”

Expressing his appreciation, Kilavuka said, “I am deeply honoured to receive the prestigious African Aviation Leadership Award. This accolade reflects the dedication and passion of the entire Kenya Airways team. It highlights our commitment to excellence, innovation, and enhancing connectivity across our continent.”

The panel of judges for the award included notable professionals such as Nick Fadugba, CEO of African Aviation; Alfred Jones, Managing Director of Fulcrum Capital, USA; Richard Bouma, Chairman of ARC Group, South Africa; Joao Jorge, Former CEO of LAM-Mozambique; and Joachim Vermooten, Transport Economist at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

This year also marks the 32nd Anniversary of African Aviation’s MRO Africa & African Aviation Training and Air Finance Africa Conferences, celebrating decades of excellence and progress in the industry.

Past notable recipients include Ethiopian Airlines, awarded “African Airline of the Year”; Michael Shirim, founder and Chairman of Precision Air, who received the “African Aviation Individual Achievement Award”; and Mr. Nick Fadugba, CEO of AFRICAN AVIATION, honored with the “African Aviation Lifetime Achievement Award.”

FOLK FUSION FLAVA EDITION FLAVORED BY MANYATTA; A WEEKEND TO CELEBRATE AFRICA

Nairobi, May 27th, 2024 – Folk Fusion festival and Manyatta Cider came together this past weekend to treat revellers to a celebration of African heritage by holding the Folk Fusion Flava Edition, which happened at Paradise Gardens off Kiambu Road on Saturday 25th May.

Revellers were served with non-stop entertainment from the artist line-up that boasted local big wigs, including Okello Max, Watendawili, Fadhilee Itulya, Serro Shad Mziki, DJs Ally Fresh and Mura, with surprise performances from Gudda man and Hype Ballo. Flava Edition certainly delivered a day filled with electrifying performances, vibrant energy, and a celebration of African music and heritage that transcended borders.

Musical duo Watendawili performing at the Folk Fusion Flava Edition flavored by Manyatta event this past weekend at Paradise Gardens
Musical duo Watendawili performing at the Folk Fusion Flava Edition flavored by Manyatta event this past weekend at Paradise Gardens

“We at Manyatta are thrilled to be a part of the incredible African energy at Folk Fusion Festival. Seeing people connect and celebrate Africa through music, under the African sun, perfectly embodies the spirit of our brand. We are glad that this partnership worked towards celebrating our culture and heritage that is uniquely ours.” Faith Nyambura, Marketing Manager, Manyatta stated in regards to the event. She also noted that “The energy at Folk Fusion was electric! It mirrored the feeling you get when you enjoy a Manyatta cider drink – refreshing, vibrant, and perfect for creating lasting memories while celebrating our African heritage”.

Manyatta is driven by the desire to appreciate and promote our culture, following its vision of being true to our roots in a modern way. It comes in flavors that are expressions of the Tastes of Africa: Mango, Lemon, Ginger, and Mint. Manyatta is a curator of authentic African Tastes: Fashion, Food, Vibe, you name it.

The success of the Folk Fusion Flava flavored by Manyatta goes to show Kenya Breweries Limited’s dedication to celebrating African culture and heritage, appreciating uniqueness, creating unforgettable experiences and celebrating its consumers.

About East African Breweries Limited

East African Breweries PLC (EABL) is East Africa’s leading branded alcohol beverage business with an outstanding collection of international and local brands ranging from beer to spirits and adult non-alcoholic drinks. Established in 1922, EABL’s extensive network of breweries, distillers, and distribution networks is concentrated in the three core markets of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Their unique products can also be found in more than 10 countries across Africa and beyond. As a consumer-driven business, EABL takes time to study the market and understand consumer needs and wants as well as how best to satisfy them.

KTDA PARTNERS WITH CO-OPERATIVE BANK OF KENYA AND GLOBAL GREEN FUND ECO.BUSINESS FUND TO IMPLEMENT ITS ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG) INITIATIVES

Nairobi 2nd May 2024 Directors affiliated with KTDA-run factories are set to benefit from capacity building and training on Environmental Social and Governance initiatives under a partnership between the Co-operative Bank and green financing fund Eco.business Fund.

Under the partnership, KDTA Holding will utilize support from the two institutions to enable it to implement its Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) initiative aimed at strengthening the resilience of the smallholder tea value chain. KTDA’s ESG initiative are aimed at enabling smallholder tea farmers and factories to develop economic resilience while adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly practices that will enable the sector to combat the diverse effects and challenges posed by climate change.

KTDA plays an important role in improving the livelihoods of tea communities by promoting sustainable growth and prosperity for the smallholder tea sector with a direct and indirect impact on the markets and communities where it operates.

The key objective of the partnership is to build capacity for tea sector players especially the leadership through sector-related ESG pillars and ensure that the sector continues to support the socio-economic needs of the more than 700,000 smallholder tea farmers under KTDA management. The initiative targets over 400 Board Members, Independent Directors, Factory Directors, and senior leadership at all levels.

Commenting on the partnership, Co-operative Bank’s Group Managing Director & CEO Dr Gideon Muriuki said, “Co-op Bank implemented an ESG roadmap in 2022 which integrated ESG imperatives in all its operations. As such, this partnership is one of many strategic initiatives that the bank is involved in providing capacity building and technical support to the farmers”. 

Co-operative Bank became the first Kenyan financial institution to secure funding from the Eco.business Fund in 2021 when it secured an investment of $10 million as a subordinated loan for onward lending to sustainable agribusinesses.

 “Eco.business Fund Development Facility, in collaboration with KTDA and Cooperative Bankco-sponsored this insightful event for the KTDA board and senior management, shedding light on crucial environmental and social issues in Kenya’s smallholder tea production,’’ said Hector Gomez Ang, Fund Director of eco.business Fund advised by Finance in Motion GmbH.

‘‘We need to address challenges like climate change, biodiversity, and their impact on livelihoods by exploring the potential for innovative adaptation solutions. Our partnership helps pave the way for sustainable growth in the tea industry by enabling the tea sector to harness modern factory equipment to extract valuable tea derivatives for pharmaceutical use and exploring the creation of alternative tea-based beverages like iced teas and tea wine.” He added.

KTDA Holdings has tasked the Climate Action Committee of its board and Foundation to lead and implement this joint program touching on the 12 KTDA Zones with 71 factories in operation.

Speaking in the just concluded governance and ESG training for KTDA board and senior management, KTDA Group Chief Executive, Wilson Muthaura noted that,

“Matters related to climate change can no longer be ignored as they have an impact on tea production which is rain-fed. Variations in weather have a direct impact on tea production, the only way to ensure farmers have a sustained tea business is by implementing actions that mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.”

The KTDA Foundation plans to roll out climate action activities geared towards greening the smallholder tea value chain and enhancing the adaptive capacity of the sector which is a key GDP driver of the Kenyan economic prosperity.

The eco.business was initiated in 2014 by KfW Development Bank, Conservation International and impact asset manager, Finance in Motion, with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Finance in Motion has served as Fund Advisor since the inception of the fund.

The eco.business Fund provides dedicated financing and technical assistance to local financial institutions and businesses that are committed to implementing sustainable practices in unique ecological landscapes both in Latin America and the Caribbean and in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund aims to promote business and consumption practices that contribute to biodiversity conservation, to the sustainable use of natural resources and to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts.

Opinion: Africa’s Soil Health Crisis Demands Immediate Attention

Soil serves as the foundation of life on our planet, yet the demands humans place on this vital resource are rapidly approaching critical thresholds.

The cost of land degradation due to poor soil health is estimated to be between USD 850 and 1,400 per year for every individual, with a global cost of USD 6.3 to 10.6 trillion annually.

Soil fertility decline not only reduces crop yield, but also exacerbates the impacts of climate change by reducing the land’s resilience and capacity to adapt. Since the 1960s, land degradation in Africa has led to a significant expansion of agricultural land by about 300%, compared to 25% elsewhere. 

This has happened at the expense of forests, wetlands and other fragile systems. This expansion is driven by the need to compensate for the loss of productivity caused by soil fertility decline.  It is imperative to minimize or eradicate significant soil degradation in Africa to preserve the services rendered by all soils, which is significantly more cost-effective than rehabilitating soils post-degradation.

This week, the African Union and Government of Kenya hosted AFSH Summit in Nairobi Kenya to delve into the importance of soil health and fertilizer use in African food systems.

Five pivotal policy imperatives emerged, demanding the attention of African governments:

Firstly, policy incentives and investments must pave the way for a paradigm shift towards sustainable farming practices. Smart subsidies, tailored to usher farmers into this new era, are paramount. Investment in land restoration, concurrently, promises not just enhanced productivity but also beckons the dawn of a greener, more resilient agriculture.

Secondly, the imperative of land tenure policies cannot be overstated. Empowering farmers to safeguard their land will foster a culture of stewardship, vital for the sustainable use of this finite resource. There is a lot of evidence that shows that farmers protect land from erosion and other physical damage when the incentives are right- there is no question that land titling to farmers would be such an incentive and would reduce the high rate of ecosystem degradation and erosion.

Thirdly, a robust investment in fertilizer systems is indispensable. African governments should invest in improving access to both organic and mineral fertilizers to enhance soil health. This includes promoting domestic production, distribution, and intra-regional trade of fertilizers and increasing the production and use of lime for managing soil acidity. Ensuring the affordability and availability of fertilizers is essential for soil nutrient replenishment and maintaining agricultural productivity. Nitrogen inputs should increase at least fourfold.to close the yield gap in Africa. Liming of acid soils increase crop yield by 35 to 50%, and its effect could be pronounced by an additional 20-25% when integrated with sources of carbon including green manuring and composting.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata President, AGRA

Fourthly, the last mile delivery systems must be fortified.Governments must invest in functional extension systems and create capacity for availing locally relevant soil health and fertilizer management technologies and practices. Providing advisory services to smallholder farmers and establishing regional networks for knowledge exchange will empower farmers to make informed decisions and adopt best practices for soil health and fertilizer use. Empowering farmers through farm level innovation is crucial for promoting soil health and fertilizer use. 

AGRA’s and partners have demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the farmer extension ration from 1:3000 to 1:500 and the last mile from over 22 kilometers to less than 8 on average across 11 countries. This strengthens the last mile and allows farmers to have access to both information and technologies. Today, farmers that produce 5 metric tonnes per hectare can be found in each of these countries but it must be scaled and anchored in a sustainable private sector ecosystem.

Lastly, research and innovation must be championed. Governments should support local research capacity and infrastructure, including functional soil labs. They must also enable and leverage private sector organizations, facilitating integration between research institutions, universities, extension services, so that new technologies can be developed/available faster to address the challenges of soil health. An assessment of investments on research in the CGIAR found that over the past 50 years there had been a 10-dollar return on every dollar invested in research and development.

The Abuja Declaration, endorsed by the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in 2006, highlights the importance of managing soils to address the challenges of soil fertility decline.

African leaders have recognized the multifunctional roles of soils in agriculture and the need to increase fertilizer use and complementary inputs to stimulate sustainable agricultural productivity growth and economic development. It set a target of increasing fertilizer use from 8 kilograms of nutrients per hectare to at least 50 kilograms of nutrients per hectare by 2015. However, uptake remains low at an average of 18kg per hectare and as a result, productivity and income of small holder farmers have marginally improved.

Climate change and externalities such as the Ukraine-Russia war and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the challenges faced by African farmers. These external factors have further hindered or reversed the early gains of crop yield enhancement, posing additional obstacles in the path of agricultural development in Africa.

Nonetheless, there has been significant progress in certain areas:  the African continent now produces approximately 30 million metric tons of fertilizer each year, which is twice as much as it currently consumes.

This increase in local fertilizer manufacturing is the result of over $15 billion of investments by the private sector, primarily focused on local production.

Second, public-private partnerships have been formed to address challenges related to fertilizer and nutrient use efficiency, research and development, and improved research infrastructures such as soil labs.

Third, average fertilizer use at the farm level has more than doubled in the last 18 years since the Abuja declaration. To address all these challenges, opportunities and more, the African Union and its partners have organized the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health (AFSH) Summit 2024, which took  place from May 7-9th, 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The summit brought together relevant stakeholders to highlight the crucial role of fertilizer and soil health in stimulating sustainable pro-poor productivity growth in African agriculture.

The Summit goal was to achieve a negotiated Africa-focused Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan, offer policy directions and concrete recommendations for African governments in the coming decade, establish an implementation roadmap for the action plan, mobilize policymakers, development organizations, and other stakeholders to enhance soil health and fertilizer use, and strengthen the private sector while addressing challenges related to landscapes and systems for efficient nutrient and water resource utilization.

By endorsing the action plan to improve soil health and fertilizer use in African agriculture, leaders and stakeholders will show their commitment towards the implementation.  The action plan will guide policy decisions and interventions in the next decade. 

Sustainable pro-poor productivity growth and economic development in the agricultural sector will only happen when leaders are committed and are prepared to be bold about the necessary commitment and changes the continent must undertake.  Finally, it is my hope that the summit will pave the way for increased collaboration, knowledge sharing, and investments in soil health and fertilizer use, ultimately unlocking the potential of African agriculture.

We are constantly reminded of the need to balance human needs and ingenuity with environmental needs, fragility and finiteness.  For Africa, let’s be deliberate and let’s do what is right for us today but also for future generations of this continent.

The good news is that we have a lot to learn from and we are trying to do this when there are incredible new tools in research, predictive analytics, AI etc. if well harnessed can make our economic transformation journey so much less painful.

Ends

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President AGRA

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