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Mwang'ombe A.W.,University of Nairobi | Ekaya W.N.,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture | Muiru V.M.,University of Nairobi | Wasonga V.O.,University of Nairobi | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Water is the most limiting factor in crop and livestock production in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of sub-Saharan Africa. This study was carried out in Kibwezi district of Kenya mainly inhabited by agro-pastoralists. Information on historical trends of climate variability, its effects on crops, livestock, pastures, water resources and the coping strategies adopted by the farmers was captured using structured questionnaire. In addition, family portraits were developed from 10 households to generate more information. Data was analyzed by subjecting it to descriptive statistical analysis. Most (98%) of the respondents mentioned increased dry conditions as the main unusual climatic events. Other impacts of climate change were increased crop failures, low forage, reduced livestock productivity and increased livestock and human diseases. In response, households had developed both short and long term adaptive mechanisms and this included planting of drought tolerant and early maturing varieties, early or dry planting, water harvesting, migration of men to urban centers to seek wage employment, de-stocking of herds and change of herd composition. The effects of climate change are already being experienced by communities living in drylands and water scarcity is the main constraint. The inexpensive and locally adapted techniques in rain water harvesting needs to be up-scaled to alleviate water scarcity in these areas. © 2011 Asian Network for Scientific Information. Source


Rudebjer P.,Bioversity International | Chakeredza S.,A+ Network | Dansi A.,Institute Rech Development Sur La Biodiversite Plantes Cultivees | Ekaya W.,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture | And 5 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Concerns over food and nutrition security within a climate change scenario have brought about a growing interest in agricultural diversification and the conservation and use of neglected and underutilised species (NUS). Developing the value chain of NUS is critical to their promotion and commercialisation. This requires investments in human and institutional capacity for research, marketing and knowledge sharing, including policy dialogue. Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa face many constraints in this regard. Traditional agriculture research tends to be specialised and compartmentalised, whereas NUS research requires a multi-sector approach involving disciplines and stakeholders along the value chain from farm to fork. Setting priorities among hundreds of species is important, which calls for greater regional collaboration, standardised methodologies and effective information exchange. A partnership of eight African and European organisations is addressing such issues through the project 'Building human and institutional capacity for enhancing the conservation and use of NUS crops in West Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa'. The project has identified priority NUS crops and research needs in West Africa and Eastern/Southern Africa sub-regions. Moreover, it is developing capacity of young scientists on methodologies for such research, including project proposal writing, research design and data management, and scientific writing. It also provides training in key thematic areas such as value chain analysis, and food system approaches that link agricultural diversification to nutrition. Initial experiences show clear gaps in research, capacity and policy, coupled with a strong interest in NUS among young scientists. This indicates that investments in capacity for research on NUS crops can be strategically important for addressing Sub-Saharan Africa's food and nutrition challenges. Source


Egeru A.,Makerere University | Egeru A.,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture
Climate Risk Management | Year: 2016

Pastoralists in East Africa face a range of stressors, climate variability and change being one of them. Effective climate risk management involves managing the full range of variability and balancing hazard management with efforts to capitalise on opportunity; climate risk management information is central in this process. In this study, pastoralists' perceptions of climate change, climate risk management information types, sources and attendant responses in a pastoral region in East Africa are examined. Through a multi-stage sampling process, a total of 198 heads of households in three districts were selected and interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. In addition, 29 focus group discussions and 10 key informant interviews were conducted to generate qualitative information to supplement survey data. Descriptive and thematic analysis were utilised in summarizing the data. Ninety-nine percent of the pastoralists noted that the climate had changed evidenced by high but erratic rainfall, occurrence of floods and variation in rainfall onset and cessation among other indicators. This change in climate had led to emergence of 'new' livestock and crop diseases, crop failure and low yields leading to frequent food shortages, water shortages, poor market access, and variation in pasture availability among other effects. Climate risk management information was received from multiple sources including; radio, diviners, community meetings, shrine elders, humanitarian agencies, and Uganda People's defence forces (UPDF). Community meetings were however perceived as most accessible, reliable and dependable sources of information. Shifting livestock to dry season grazing and watering areas, selling firewood and charcoal, seeking for military escorts to grazing areas, purchasing veterinary drugs, shifting livestock to disease 'free' areas, and performing rituals (depending on the perceived risk) constituted a set of responses undertaken in response to perceived climate risk. It is recommended that an integrated early warning system that captures the perceptions and practices of the pastoralists is implemented as this would increase the credibility of climate risk information disseminated. © 2015 The Author. Source


Ochwo-Ssemakula M.,Makerere University | Sengooba T.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Hakiza J.J.,National Agricultural Research Laboratories | Adipala E.,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture | And 5 more authors.
Plant Disease | Year: 2012

This article describes the incidence and etiology of a viral disease of passion fruit in Uganda. Symptoms, including those characteristic of passion fruit woodiness disease (PWD), were observed on 32% of plants in producing areas. Electron microscopic observations of infected tissues revealed flexuous filaments of ca. 780 nm. Enzymelinked immunosorbent assays indicated a serological relationship with Cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus (CABMV) and Passion fruit ringspot virus (PFRSV). In host range studies, only species in the families Solanaceae and Chenopodiaceae were susceptible, and neither Vigna unguiculata nor Phaseolus vulgaris became infected. Coat protein (CP) gene sequences of eight isolates exhibited features typical of potyviruses and were highly similar (88 to 100% identity). However, the sequences had limited sequence identity with CP genes of two of the three potyviruses reported to cause PWD: East Asian Passiflora virus and Passion fruit woodiness virus (PWV). Deduced amino acid sequences for the CP of isolates from Uganda had highest identity with Bean common mosaic necrosis virus (BCMNV) (72 to 79%, with evolutionary divergence values between 0.17 and 0.19) and CABMV (73 to 76%, with divergence values between 0.21 and 0.25). Based on these results and in accordance with International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses criteria for species demarcation in the family Potyviridae, we conclude that a previously unreported virus causes viral diseases on passion fruit in Uganda. The name "Ugandan Passiflora virus" is proposed for this virus. © 2012 The American Phytopathological Society. Source


Egeru A.,Makerere University | Egeru A.,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture | Wasonga O.,University of Nairobi | MacOpiyo L.,University of Nairobi | And 3 more authors.
Pastoralism | Year: 2015

Piospheres in semi-arid areas are gradients of animal impacts around watering holes. Few studies have examined the impact dynamics of herbaceous and woody species composition and abundance in relation to piospheres in East Africa. In this study, we identified the trend in piosphere development, assessed piosphere use and change indicators, and identified herbaceous and woody plant structure in relation to piospheres in the Karamoja sub-region, Uganda. Results revealed that piosphere development has been reactionary to drought and/or insecurity events and increased rapidly in the last decade. A diversity of herbaceous and woody plants exists around the piospheres. Use and change indicators revealed high trampling and grazing intensity, high presence of erosion signs and low litter cover. Gradient distance had both positive and negative effects on trampling intensity, percent exposure and plant height, respectively. A negative and positive effect of gradient distance was also observed on different herbaceous and woody forage species leading to the identification of both increaser and decreaser species around the piospheres. Therefore, as concentrated use of the piospheres continues unabated, an outward ripple effect leading to loss and/or increase of undesirable herbaceous and woody species will be felt. This will have an impact on the composition and abundance dynamics of desirable forage species in the sub-region. © 2015, Egeru et al. Source

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