For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Mar 23rd 2015
The EastAfrican 34 OUTLOOK MARCH 21-27,2015 D E VE LO PME N T Food prices to rise as more staple foods hit global output peaks Af≥ican count≥ies will inc≥ease impo≥t of ce≥eals by 3 pe≥ cent this yea≥ By JEFF OTIENO The EastAfrican T he production of some of the world’s major staple foods is beginning to slow down after reaching “peak production level,” posing a potential risk to future efforts to feed the planet. According to research by ag- riculture scientists, the supply of 21 staple foods ranging from maize, wheat and rice tochicken, vegetables and beef is beginning to run out of steam as the world’s population continues to grow. The recent study published in the journal Ecology and Society discovered that staples like maize, rice and wheat, which millions of East Africans consume daily, peaked several years ago. Scientists from Yale Universi- ty in the US, Michigan State University in the US and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany found that maize peaked way back in 1985, rice (1988) and wheat in 2004. Peak production refers to the point at which the growth in production of a crop, animal or any other foodstuff begins to slow down, before flattening and finally decreasing. According to agricultural economist George Mwangi, peak production normally act as a warning that something needs to be done fast. Any decline in the global production of the major cereal crops will be disastrous for East African countries, given the fact that the five member states are considered food deficit countries and rely on importations to meet local demand. “The biggest problem for East Africa will be how to feed its growing population now that research has shown that the cereals the region depends on for food have reached their peak production,” said Mr Mwangi. He warned that East Africa should prepare for an increase in global food prices. “We must start looking at ways of increasing local production or else we will spend even more on importation,” he adds. The Food and Agriculture Or- ganisation (FAO) singles out rice as one of the staple crop which many African countries have stepped up importation. According to an FAO report, the importation of the cereal by African states, will increase by Kenya to enfo≥ce wildlife law By SCOLA KAMAU Special Correspondent KENYA IS implementing the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, to curb poaching while reducing on human Wildlife conflict after years of failing to curb the crisis. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources last week issued a gazette notice to the chairmen of the County Con- servation and Compensation Committees. The 47 chairmen will aid in the compensation process by vetting the claims. “There are more than 20 guidelines and laws required to aid the implementation, and the appointment of the chairmen indicates thate work is in progress,” said Paul Udoto, Kenya Wildlife Service, communications manager. KWS will be registering claims but according to the new law, the mandate of proof lies in the hands of the compensation committees. A consultant has been recruited Maize being offloaded in Kenya. Staple foods like maize are in decline Picture: File about three per cent this year. In other words, African countries are expected to import 14.4 million tonnes of cereals, or 36 per cent of the world total. “Most nations will buy more, in particular Nigeria, which is predicted to purchase about 3 million tonnes, seven per cent above 2014. Likewise, significantly larg- er volumes are foreseen to enter Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and South Africa but also Benin, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau as most will need additional supplies to compensate for the expected 2014 production shortfalls and to meet the steady rise in domestic consumption,” says FAO. If rice production slows We must looking at ways of increasing local production or we will spend more on importation.” George Mwangi agricultural economist down, Kenya will be the most affected, since it is the top importer of the crop in the region. Currently, the country is on- ly able to meet 20 per cent of its consumption needs due to production inefficiencies and increased demand. The National Irrigation Board (NIB) estimates per capita rice consumption at seven kilogrammes but this is projected to rise to 11 kilogrammes this year. Kenya’s Ministry of Agri- culture estimates annual consumption to increase at a rate of 12 per cent compared with 4 per cent for wheat and 1 per cent for maize, attributed to a progressive change in eating habits, particularly for urban THE SITUATION The world population stands at 7 billion but is expected to reach 8 billion by the year 2024, according to the United Nations. A chunk of this population will be in the developing world, still struggling to adequately feed its population and achieve food security. It also means the world will need to more than double its consumers. At the global level, the major worry for scientists is that multiple crops have peaked in the past two decades. Currently, the world popula- tion stands at 7 billion but is expected to increase by an extra one billion to reach 8 billion by the year 2024, according to the United Nations. A chunk of this population will be in the developing world, still struggling to adequately feed its population and achieve food security. In addition, it also means the world will need to more than double its current production to feed the extra mouths, a task that will not be easy with the slow growth in yields. Other important global foods that are losing their growth momentum are sugarcane which peaked in 2007, fish caught in water bodies (1988), eggs (1993), meat (1996), vegetables (2000) and milk (2004). Though many separate studies have estimated the year of peak, current production to feed the extra mouths, a task that will not be easy with the slow growth in yields. Other important global foods that are losing their growth momentum are sugarcane, which peaked in 2007, fish caught in water bodies (1988), eggs (1993), meat (1996), vegetables (2000) and milk (2004). or maximum, rate of using an individual resource such as oil, the latest study stands out since it has estimated the year of peak rate for multiple resources and investigated the relationships among them. “We exploited time series on the appropriation of 27 global renewable and non-renewable resources. We found 21 resources experienced a peak-rate year, and for 20 resources the peakrate years occurred between 1960 and 2010, a narrow time window in humanity’s long history,” the scientists who conducted the study said. The renewables studied in- cluded staple crops, which FAO identified as providing 45 percent of global caloric intake, combined with data on the consumption of animal products. The scientists also evaluated resources with a long history of use, for example, cropland and domesticated species, and renewable energy sources, which may be increasingly important in the future. An elephant killed by poachers in a game park in Kenya Picture: File to work on the formulation of the regulations in relation to access and benefit sharing of wildlife resources. KWS is part of the team working towards the formation of the proposed Kenya conservation Alliance aimed at ensuring that the wildlife industry in Kenya is organised to jointly and effectively confront the Conservation challenges in the country Failure to compensate humans has aggravated humanwildlife conflict, which experts said requires a lasting solutiont. Other organisations like the Af- rican Wildlife Foundation (AWF) have joined in the efforts to curb human-wildlife conflict. AWF is working with local communities to zone areas for human activity and other areas strictly for wildlife activity. In Kenya’s Amboseli ecosys- tem, AWF is asking a number of elephant practitioners to develop a human-elephant mitigation strategy and AWF’s partners have mitigation strategies such as a predator compensation fund that reimburses pastoralists who lose livestock to lion or other carnivore attacks, to prevent retaliatory killing.
Mar 16th 2015
Mar 30th 2015