Japan International Cooperation Agency

Nairobi, Kenya

Japan International Cooperation Agency

Nairobi, Kenya
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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fao.org

Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been severely affected by unrest and military operations over the last decade. Some 260 000 families have been displaced from their homes. In response, the FATA Secretariat has implemented a “Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy” to support the return of displaced families. To support this initiative, FAO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the Recovery and Development of the Agricultural Economy in FATA project. The purpose of this project is to stabilize the area by reviving livelihoods, reducing poverty and decreasing economic inequalities. This is being achieved by restoring productive assets (including the reclamation of land), improving agricultural production and providing capacity building training for local famers, especially women. To date, the project has benefitted approximately 46 452 households in the Khyber and Kurram agencies. Gul Baro Bibi looks at her vegetable produce with relief. Her face glows with a sense of achievement as she watches her okra and bottle gourd ready to be harvested. The vegetables might appear ordinary to anyone else, but for Gul Baro Bibi, her small field is special because it tells her story. Conflict and militancy in Bara, Khyber Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) left Gul Baro Bibi and her family with no other choice than to flee their home. So many others suffered the same fate. This was also true for Ahmed Baz, a 32 year old farmer who once lived happily with his family in Khairabad village of Bara. He lived the life of an average farmer relying on their farm to make ends meet. When conflict hit the area, Ahmed, Gul Baro Bibi and so many others, were left with no other option than to leave their villages and move to safer areas. For Ahmed, it meant relocating to Polosai area of Peshawar, leaving behind his beloved farm. Leaving meant safety but it also meant losing their homes, poultry, livestock and standing crops with little hope of regaining these assets, assets that are the lifeline of these communities. Returning to our farms in Bara In 2015, when many families were able to return to Bara, they faced the daunting prospect of restarting their livelihoods. Upon his return home, Ahmed felt helpless with little idea about how to begin all over again. With grief, Ahmed talks about how the situation affected him: “My land remained barren for years and I was unable to prepare the land for farming. I had no money to purchase seeds of vegetables and crops.’’ In his and others’ hour of need, FAO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the Recovery and Development of the Agricultural Economy in FATA project in July 2015. Stabilizing the Pakistan–Afghanistan border areas is one of Japan/JICA’s priorities. H. E. Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, points out, “The stability of FATA is essential for the stability of the entire Pakistan.” With help from this project, things took a turn for the better. Identifying and selecting farmers, including Ahmed, FAO provided them with a piece of agricultural land and a farmer’s toolkit. The project also provided farmers with poultry, livestock and agricultural inputs for both the Rabi (winter) and Kharif (monsoon) seasons. Empowering women in Bara For Gul Baro Bibi, the cloud also had a silver lining. Agriculture, which has always been popular among women in Bara, presented a great opportunity for Gul Baro Bibi and her family to bounce back. More than two thirds of women farmers assist in growing crops in the area, but they often do not get their deserved share of the post-production income. Through this project, FAO has trained more than 400 women farmers. 15 Women Open Schools (WOS), led by female facilitators, are providing capacity building training to women throughout the various villages of Bara, Khyber Agency. Gul Baro Bibi talks fondly about the Women Open School she was able to attend. “I was unaware of proper agricultural techniques to grow vegetables. Growing on a small plot I learnt is easy and interesting,” says Gul Baro Bibi as she happily looks at her vegetable plot. Gul Baro Bibi’s vegetable garden produced a healthy harvest because she, along with other women like her, learned the skills and knowledge required for growing vegetables. These trainings also taught women about the benefits of improving nutrition through vegetable production and home gardening. Gul Baro Bibi now feels empowered: “Through WOS I am now able to grow and sell vegetables more efficiently. Throughout the season, my family and I consume fresh, chemical-free vegetables.” In addition to these capacity building trainings, FAO is playing an important role in the development of FATA’s agriculture by providing essential agricultural inputs such as quality seeds, agricultural tools and improved irrigation infrastructure. Renewed livelihoods Employing effective agricultural practices, Gul Baro Bibi often enjoys a surplus. The additional kilograms of okra and bottle gourd brings home PKR 1 000 - 1 500 (~ 9 - 14 USD) per week which has enabled her to provide a more nutritious diet for her family and send her children to school. From Ahmad’s side, the results were also positive: “I am really happy and thankful to FAO for giving me vegetable seeds and the tool kit. With FAO’s help to reclaim my land, I sowed okra and other vegetable seeds on 0.5 acre of land.” The yield means more income for Ahmed: “This has enabled me to harvest up to 150 kg of produce  which sometimes fetches me up to PKR 800  (~ 7 USD) a day in the local market.” FAO has helped revive and improve the agricultural production (crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries) of the people who have returned to FATA. Thanks to this project, farmers have regained the critical assets needed for their livelihoods. Ahmed, Gul Baro Bibi and the farmers of Bara are more hopeful for the future now that they can save some money, purchase good quality vegetable seeds and feed their families with nutritious food. These new farming skills and recovered livelihoods are helping the people of FATA regain self-sufficiency.

News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) along with the Vietnam National Productivity Institute (VNPI), Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) will host the 11th Eco-products International Fair (EPIF 2017) at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) in Ho Chi Minh City, 11-13 May 2017. Organized with the support of the Vietnamese Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, the EPIF 2017 will promote and raise stakeholder awareness of sustainable development through the production and consumption of eco-friendly products, services, and technologies. The theme Green Technologies and Products: Action for the Future focuses on future-proofing productivity efforts and achieving sustainable industrial development and growth in APO member countries. The EPIF is one of the largest international environmental exhibitions in Asia, and this is the second time for Vietnam to host the event. The 11th EPIF will also provide opportunities for domestic and international businesses to introduce their latest environmentally friendly equipment, products, and services. Industry players can explore business collaborations, investment cooperation, trade promotion, and technology transfers. The fair is also a good opportunity for local counterparts to build national strategies, identify needs, and promote activities for green growth in Vietnam. Another highlight of the EPIF 2017 is a parallel event with workshop sessions. The APO is organizing a three-day International Environmental and Economic Forum focusing on Action for the Future and Moving toward a Virtuous Circle for Sustainable Development, and the VEA is holding a scientific workshop on Applications of Environmentally Friendly Technologies in Waste Treatment on 12 May. The EPIF 2017 will also host an Environmental Policy Dialogue on Low-carbon Technologies and Vietnam's Nationally Determined Contributions toward Connecting Policy, Technology, and Finance to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. That one-day seminar on 13 May is jointly organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, and VCCI. On the second day of the EPIF, the 4th Korea-Vietnam Environment and Energy Cooperative Forum will be held. The exhibition at the SECC includes 200 standard booths displayed in a 5,000 square meter space. The environmental products, technologies, and services showcased include: steel and metal; polymers, ceramics, glass, and composite materials; renewable and recycled energy; chemicals for manufacturing; construction materials; electric/electronics and semiconductors; automotive components; and packaging. Other areas like housewares, IT, textiles, machinery and equipment, maintenance and cleaning services, reuse and recycling, waste management, energy recovery, water resources management, and reforestation services are also covered, as well as the conceptual categories of ecocities, ecoindustry, and ecotourism. Note to Editors: Please refer to the Fact Sheet and the list of earlier EPIFs below. FACT SHEET About the APO The APO was established in 1961 as a regional intergovernmental organization with the mission of contributing to the socioeconomic development of the Asia-Pacific region through productivity promotion. The current membership comprises 20 economies. The APO supports its member countries through capacity-building efforts such as training courses, workshops, seminars, and other activities to enhance productivity. Eco-products International Fairs In 2003, the APO established the Green Productivity Advisory Committee (GPAC) to receive advice and assistance from successful Japanese corporations with excellent environmental track records. In 2004, following the recommendation of the GPAC, the APO launched the EPIF to strengthen international cooperation in greening supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region and to provide enterprises opportunities to expand their eco-businesses. As part of the APO mandate, the EPIF is also designed to enable governments to explore methods for greening their policies. The EPIF, held in a different APO member country each year, is now firmly established as the largest environmental exhibition in Asia. EPIFs have been held in Malaysia (2004), Thailand (2005 and 2016), Singapore (2006 and 2013), the Philippines (2007), Vietnam (2008), Indonesia (2010), India (2011), the ROC (2014), and Thailand (2016).

Leveraging Japan's historic leadership in global health and innovation, along with the unique technology and knowhow of its domestic and global partners, GHIT invests in R&D projects to develop new medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to address a range of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It is the first public-private partnership of its kind for global health research and development (R&D), involving government, private companies, and private foundations. "In just four years, the GHIT's unique public-private partnership model has dramatically increased the global health community's capacity to develop technologies that can effectively battle the infectious diseases that afflict roughly one-third of the world's population," said GHIT Fund CEO BT Slingsby. "This work is moving us closer to achieving universal health coverage and human security goals." GHIT has moved quickly to fill a gap in R&D of new tools for malaria, tuberculosis and NTDs. In just four years, GHIT has broadened its funding partnerships substantially from eight core members in 2013 to almost twice that number today. The fund has invested approximately $100 million in 61 global product development partnerships that leverage Japanese innovation and capacities in pharmaceuticals. Eight of GHIT's 23 novel screening programs have advanced into the next stage of development; 6 clinical trials are under way in the developing world; and 2 projects have achieved proofs-of-concept (Phase II trials). GHIT's portfolio is characterized by products that are not only novel, but transformative for global health. This includes the first-ever pediatric formulation of the gold-standard drug for schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasitic disease linked to numerous acute and chronic health conditions. Other innovations include malaria drugs and vaccines, a TB vaccine that prevents initial TB infection—not just the later stages of active disease—and a new treatment strategy for Chagas disease, a tropical parasitic disease that can lead to heart failure. "Japan has shown strong leadership in accelerating scientific advances that save lives and have the potential to help millions escape the cycle of poverty," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "From investments in research and development for neglected tropical diseases, to support for the Global Fund's progress in combatting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and now through a continued commitment to GHIT, Japan continues to play a critical role in improving the lives of the world's poorest." "Fighting the world's most neglected diseases has long been a priority for Japan," said Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki of Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. "We believe in universal health coverage where all have access to the medicines and treatment they need. Given our scientific and technological strength, it is Japan's responsibility to work with others to eliminate some of the world's most intractable diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease, and schistosomiasis." As GHIT prepares to enter the second five-year phase of its work, it plans to broaden its role in advancing R&D product development to include additional partnerships that further facilitate access to and delivery of the tools that emerge from its pipeline. To reinforce the bonds between R&D, access and delivery, and strengthen health systems, GHIT will be strengthening its collaboration with global health entities, such as Japan's Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as the Global Fund, Gavi, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, and others. GHIT's prioritization of access and delivery in its investment decision-making, coupled with Japan's priority on universal health coverage, will continue to foster partnerships committed to meeting critical unmet needs in global health. "GHIT is a really important innovation in and of itself," said Mark Dybul, former Executive Director of the Global Fund. "It is a great example of a public-private partnership that was created to foster R&D in a way that advances the goals of achieving universal health coverage and human security, which are cornerstone policies of Japan's health and foreign policies." Because these products are extraordinarily expensive and high-risk to develop and low-middle income countries are unable to pay for them, there is little financial incentive for for-profit companies to invest limited R&D resources into malaria, tuberculosis, and NTDs. Yet the full engagement of the private sector is critical to developing these tools and bringing them to market. GHIT's model is a solution to the market failure and enables the private sector to contribute to global health financially and by bringing their pharmaceutical expertise and capabilities to the R&D table to create affordable and accessible new products. "Over 700 million people live in absolute poverty, and 14 percent of children worldwide are not getting basic vaccines," said Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Affordability and access of vaccines are key to filling these gaps. "GHIT's investment in the development of needed vaccines—and to making affordability and access a priority throughout the R&D process—is critical." Throughout its first phase, GHIT has been instrumental in helping to speed the discovery and development of a significant number of innovative technologies in record time. "With this replenishment of GHIT, Japan is further cementing its legacy as a leader in global health innovation," said Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Chair of the GHIT Fund Board of Directors. "The success of GHIT is catalyzing Japan's engagement with other new initiatives and transforming global health partnerships. This is good for Japan and for the world." * All amounts listed at the exchange rate of USD1 = JPY100. Koichi Aiboshi, Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said:  "Japan has a long history in global health. In 2000, we promoted the inclusion of infectious diseases to the G8 agenda, and during the most recent summit, the first G7 summit after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global health was highlighted. I am glad that the GHIT was introduced in the Summit outcome document as a well-coordinated Public-Private Partnership for R&D. Our investment in GHIT, as well as other partnerships, is a clear signal that Japan has a sustained commitment to global health." Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Minister for Global Health, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, said: "By leveraging GHIT's new platform, we have been able to demonstrate at home and abroad that Japanese pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, and universities possess technologies and capabilities which can not only contribute to the nation's health, but to global health as well. Based on these successful experiences, I am hoping that many companies and research organizations in Japan become motivated to help address the challenges of global health, and this will lead to further advancing Japan's global health R&D." "Japan is a leader in global health, and GHIT is a primary example of Japan's commitment to transforming the global health landscape with a partnership that brings together the unique resources of governments, pharmaceutical companies, and the philanthropic sector to develop products that can turn the tide against the greatest burdens of disease in low- and middle-income countries." "Japan has an outstanding science base and an exceptional culture of innovation, which, along with its excellent pharmaceutical industry, makes it ideal for the rapid advancement of new ways to diagnose and treat disease. We're proud to support GHIT and to work with the partners to develop drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics as quickly as possible and to put them in the hands of the billions of people around the world who need them most." Yoshihiko Hatanaka, Representative Director, President and CEO, Astellas Pharma Inc., said: "GHIT catalyzed a mindset shift for the Japanese pharmaceutical industry vis-à-vis solving global health issues. More specifically, it created a mechanism for Japanese pharmaceutical companies to take leadership roles in solving global health issues by combining their R&D expertise and capabilities in cooperation with those of governments, international organizations and nonprofits." Osamu Nagayama, Representative Director, Chairman and CEO, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., said: "In order for the global society to develop further, the realization of global health becomes increasingly important. GHIT Fund is the world's first public-private partnership which involves governments, private companies and foundations. The fund specializes in product development aiming for global health and engages in the critical mission. Chugai will contribute to the benefit for the medical community and human health around the world with its proprietary antibody engineering technologies and its compound library which is useful for drug discovery." "GHIT helps build bridges between our business and corporate social responsibility. We have significant resources to bring to bear on global health, including technologies, insights and experiences gained through the process of product development. It means a great deal to our company if we can leverage our technologies for global health and help develop and deliver products to patients in need." Haruo Naito, Representative Corporate Officer and CEO, Eisai Co., Ltd., said: "Our mission as a pharmaceutical company is to create new medicines and to deliver those medicines to all the people who need them. In order to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis, which are a source of suffering to the people in developing countries, it is essential to both accelerate the development of new medicines and to improve access through partnerships, and we applaud the GHIT Fund's new endeavors on this front. Eisai is proactively engaged in contributing to global health, which we consider to be a long-term investment in creating a healthy and prosperous middle-income class." Isao Teshirogi, President and CEO, Shionogi & Co., Ltd., said: "Japanese pharmaceutical companies have always played a major role as innovators and producers of lifesaving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics. We can play a stronger role in seriously expanding the supply and accessibility of these medicines and improve overall health in poor countries." "GHIT is an innovative model for creating medicines and vaccines against diseases for which there is a lack of R&D funding, and I think it has been very successful. Investing in it and contributing to its work makes sense for Takeda not only because of our global health interests, but also because of the strong capabilities in Japan that can help make GHIT successful." Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme, said: "UNDP is proud to partner with Japan and GHIT, including through its Access and Delivery Partnership, which helps low- and middle-income countries address critical bottlenecks within their health systems so that GHIT-funded innovations can reach more people, faster." "Partnering with the GHIT Fund has great significance for the delivery of solutions in developing countries where many unsolved infectious diseases exist. By utilizing its accumulated technologies, Fujifilm will create innovation in fields such as in-vitro diagnosis and therapeutic medications, and contribute to enhancing the quality of healthcare in developing countries." Tatsuo Higuchi, President and Representative Director, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., said: "Our multi-decade commitment to develop new treatments for tuberculosis resulted in the creation of delamanid, one of the first new anti-multidrug resistant pulmonary tuberculosis agents in almost half a century. Our partnership with the GHIT Fund enables us to further contribute to new drug development for the health of people across the world." "We look forward to cooperating with the GHIT Fund to strengthen R&D capability for diagnostics against infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries. Through collaboration with the GHIT Fund, we will accelerate the creation of diagnostic technologies with advanced medical value for people suffering from infectious diseases." Kihito Takahashi, Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Development and Medical Affairs Division, GlaxoSmithKline K.K., said: "As a science-led global healthcare company, we are committed to taking on some of the world's biggest healthcare challenges. GHIT Fund is contributing to accelerating the development of innovative medicines and vaccines to save the patients who are suffering from neglected diseases in developing countries. We are proud of being a member of GHIT Fund and of supporting the same mission to overcome global healthcare challenges by harnessing the partnership." "We, at Johnson & Johnson, know that good health drives human progress. However there remain critical public health challenges such as HIV and tuberculosis, which limit people's potential and could be addressed through innovation and collaboration. We are therefore proud to continue supporting GHIT's work to help develop innovative health solutions for people facing significant public health challenges." Nobuo Hanai, President and CEO, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd., said: "We share GHIT's sense of urgency about the need to deliver new tools to those suffering from diseases with no adequate treatments. Partnering with GHIT, which focuses on global partnerships, will advance the "CSV* management" based on Our Unique Business Structure." Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board & CEO Healthcare, Merck KGaA, said: "We at Merck are strongly committed to the fight against schistosomiasis in Africa and just celebrated 10 years of our Praziquantel Donation Program. Our leadership on the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, which is partially partnered by GHIT, makes me confident that this engagement with GHIT is bringing us ever closer to a potential treatment solution for the most vulnerable patients—very young children." "We are honored to make our chemical compound library available to global health R&D through GHIT. Our ongoing partnership between PDPs and GHIT will move the dial on battling drug-resistance and creating new treatments for the infectious diseases that burden the developing world." Masayo Tada, Representative Director, President and CEO, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., said: "We are dedicated to creating innovative and effective pharmaceutical products for people not only in Japan but also around the world. Through our participation in GHIT Fund, we are seeking to explore how we can utilize our innovative drug discovery technologies for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), malaria, and other disease fields in which there are significant unmet medical needs, thereby aiming to enhance Access to Health." For more information, contact: Katy Lenard at +1-301-280-5719 or klenard@burness.com To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ghit-fund-secures-commitments-of-over-us200-million-to-its-replenishment-for-the-acceleration-of-japanese-innovation-for-infectious-diseases-of-the-developing-world-300466665.html

News Article | August 16, 2017
Site: worldmaritimenews.com

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a loan agreement to provide up to CNY 23.5 billion (USD 3.5 billion) for the development of Sihanoukville Port New Container Terminal in Cambodia. Under the agreement signed on August 7, the Japanese ODA loan would be used to for the project to develop a new container terminal and improve the cargo handling capacity at the port with the objectives of improving the logistics environment in Cambodia and promoting trade. The loan funds will be allocated to container terminal and access road development, public works relating to marine routes and mooring basin dredging, the procurement of cargo-handling equipment, and consulting services. With the project, Sihanoukville Port’s container cargo handling capacity would be increased by 450,000 TEUs to more than one and a half times the current capacity. The project will enable the only deep-sea port in Cambodia to accommodate larger sized vessels. Due to its strategic location on the Southern Economic Corridor, which has been a focus of support from Japan, Sihanoukville Port is expected to become a logistics transfer hub for ASEAN overall, according to JICA.

News Article | June 19, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has signed a Y34.41-billion, or around $300-million, loan agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB), intended to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa through supporting the private sector. The loan is part of the enhanced private sector assistance (EPSA) initiative – a component of Japan’s Official Development Assistance to Africa. The seventh private sector assistance loan carries an interest rate of 0.35%, to be repaid in 40 years after a ten-year grace period. AfDB acting finance VP Hassatou N’Sele thanked the government and people of Japan, as well as Jica, for their continued support, adding that the agreement marked the conclusion of the second phase of the EPSA Initiative and the beginning of the third phase, which has a joint target of over $3-billion for the next three years. N’Sele added that, since 2007, the EPSA loans have reached a cumulative $1.5-billion. She thanked Jica, noting that its support in promoting private sector growth, quality infrastructure and alleviating poverty has helped the AfDB grow its private sector portfolio more than ten-fold.

News Article | June 21, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Sumitomo Corporation have secured an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Societe Tunisienne de l'Electricite et du Gaz (Steg) for the construction of a ¥38-billion, 450 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Rades, 10 km east of Tunisian capital Tunis. The initial operation of the power plant, which is expected to provide 10% of the country's total power generating capacity, will start in May 2019, with combined cycle full operation starting in April 2020. Sumitomo will provide balance of plant and undertake civil and installation work, while MHPS will provide an M701F gas turbine, a heat recovery steam generator and a steam turbine, as well as dispatching technical advisers and supervisors to support during the installation and commissioning periods. Financed by the Japanese Official Development Assistant and organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the power plant will contribute to the Japanese government's ‘Partnership for Quality Infrastructure’ initiative, and Japanese funds and technology will be used to meet domestic power demand and help improve basic infrastructure in Tunisia.

News Article | March 16, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

A tractor drives past at a rice drying yard at an export rice plant in the central Chainat province in Thailand, December 16, 2015. Last year at this time he was farming rice on his two-hectare farm 40 kilometers northeast of Bali’s airport. But a long spell of dry weather, which has lasted since last July, dried up irrigation channels in his village of Tegal Mengkeb. To survive, the 33-year-old walked away from his farm last December and began driving a taxi in Nusa Dua, a tourist hub with dozens of luxury resorts. He dreams of returning home. "We need regular good showers, but there is mostly drizzle. Unless the subaks (water channels) are full again, I can’t plant any crop,” he said. Aslam may have found a way to stay on the farm next year, however. He recently signed up for new government-backed crop insurance, one of 100 farmers to do so in Bali, where rice is grown on about 80,000 hectares of land. The Bali insurance program, launched last October, promises to pay farmers up to six million rupiah ($480) for a crop failure caused by disasters such as drought, flooding or pest attacks. The premium is 180,000 rupiah ($13) per hectare, but the state has agreed to pay 80 percent of the cost. That means a farmer like Aslam only has to come up with 36,000 rupiah, or about $2, per hectare. The program is part of a larger Indonesian crop insurance scheme introduced in 2012-2013 with financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In the first season of the program, 470 hectares of rice fields were insured in East Java and Sumatra. This year, the government has moved to include Bali and a few other provinces, though delays in the expansion have limited the number of farmers signed up. "Our previous target this year was 11,000 hectares of rice fields (insured), but only 4,000 hectares can be insured due to limited time," said Ida Bagus Wisnuardhana, head of the Bali provincial Agriculture and Foodstuffs Affairs office. Currently, the scheme targets only small-scale farmers growing rice, but the federal government hopes to bring in all 27 million farmers in Indonesia’s 33 provinces by 2019, according to a paper published by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. In Indonesia, the dry season runs from May to August. But Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BKMG) - the local official weather mapping organization – says the island of Bali has seen “extreme” weather since the end of August. The agency attributes the unusually hot weather to the El Nino phenomenon. In November, the temperature in the area around Denpasar, Bali’s provincial capital, rose as high as 37 degrees Celsius above the average daily temperature of 31.4 degrees Celsius, said Nyoman Gede Wiryajaya of BKMG. Bali's provincial agricultural department says nearly a thousand hectares of farmland are suffering some degree of drought, which threatens the coming harvest. With crops drying, local media have already reported food shortages in several villages. Buleleng, a north Bali district which has recorded crop failure on 160 hectares, has been declared under "severe drought". With no rice available, "we have been living off dried cassava for several weeks," said Palembang Kaka, a small-scale farmer from Buleleng who now works as a porter in Pasar Badung, Denpasar’s largest community market. Although globally El Nino is expected to start weakening soon, meteorological service officials in Bali are advising farmers to brace for more dry weather. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, of the National Disaster Management Agency, predicted that "rainfall will be extremely low until the end of this year". For Aslam, the prediction could mean another missed crop and another season at the wheel – unless his new insurance policy works. "We will see how the insurance (money) is paid. I hope it is enough to recover my losses,” he said.

News Article | January 28, 2016
Site: www.renewableenergyworld.com

Kenya Electricity Generating Co., the country’s biggest power producer, said it will receive a $387.2 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to fund the construction of a geothermal power plant.

News Article | April 25, 2016
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

FUJITA Ichiro, a Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering in Kobe University, has developed a piece of software that can measure the flow rate of rivers using image analysis. The software is called KU-STIV (Kobe University Space-Time Image Velocimetry). This technology makes it easier to obtain accurate data about river flow rates that can be used in strategies for flood risk management. Japan is hit by flood-related disasters almost every year – one of the most recent examples occurred in September 2015 when the Kinugawa River collapsed its banks, sending a wall of water into the nearby town of Joso. Accurate data for rainfall and river flow rate are vital elements in creating flood risk management strategies. Thanks to developments in radar technology, rainfall measurements have become highly precise. However, measuring the flow rate of rivers is still carried out using the old-fashioned method of dropping a stick-shaped float in the river and estimating the flow rate from the float’s speed through a section of the river. When extreme flooding occurs this method becomes difficult to conduct due to the dangers involved, and there are a growing number of cases in which flow rates cannot be measured at the peak of a flood. The KU-STIV system developed by Professor Fujita uses video footage taken from cameras and drones to measure the river flow rate. The system superimposes “searching lines” (each between 10 and 20 meters long) on footage of the river as measurement standards. It calculates the flow speed from the time it takes water surface features and floating matter on the surface of the river to cross these lines, then analyses distribution to indirectly calculate the river flow rate. Surface flow measurements taken using this system were very similar to those taken using acoustic current meters (ADCPs) and it can be used to measure river flow rates faster and more safely than the established method. KU-STIV has already been adopted by many river consultants and River Offices in Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and organizations in Hyogo Prefecture have begun adapting the system for river observation cameras. An English-language version of the system is also available, and recently Ghana researchers invited by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are being trained to use the technology. “We are aiming to adapt this system for real-time calculations, and at the same time we want to establish this as the standard method for measuring river flow rate both within Japan and overseas” commented Professor Fujita.

News Article | April 23, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

Highly ambitious annual solar power capacity addition targets have been announced by the Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. With a target to have an operational solar power capacity of 100 GW by March 2022, the Indian government has announced annual capacity addition targets for the next few years. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to add 15 GW and 16 GW solar power capacity in the financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively. In the current financial year, the government targets an addition of 12 GW solar power capacity. If this target is achieved, India’s installed solar power capacity will cross 17 GW by the end of March 2017. By early March this year more than 5.7 GW of solar power capacity was operational in India. The ministry has planned an addition of 17 GW in the financial year 2019-20, and 17.5 GW each in 2020-21 and 2021-22. A massive amount of funding will be required to achieve these targets. Thankfully, several Indian as well as international banks have already sanctioned large sums of funding for solar power projects. The ministry recently announced that Indian banks and non-banking financial institutions sanctioned Rs 71,200 crore (over $10 billion) as debt finance to renewable energy projects since February 2015. Most of this finance has been approved for solar power projects. Of the total amount sanctioned, Rs 29,500 crore have already been disbursed. Banks and financial institutions had committed to provide finance for 76,352 MW of renewable energy capacity. The total amount committed by the 40 participants entities was Rs 382,255 crore. India is also in talks with development banks like the Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, KfW, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the New Development Bank to access cheap debt finance for setting up solar power projects.   Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

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