New centre to enhance food security

first_imgRay Maota Through the 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, countries on the continent committed to allocating at least 10% of their national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development within five years. (Image: International Land Coalition) Mompati Merafhe, vice-president of SADC, urged the centre to put both regional and international resources to good use and to launch new technologies that would enhance the productivity of small-scale and commercial farming operations. (Image: Wikipedia) MEDIA CONTACTS • Southern African Development Community  +267 395 1863 RELATED ARTICLES • SA allocates R500m for black farmers • Quality inputs for Kenya’s farmers • First World Forestry Congress for South Africa • R104m leg-up for Zim cotton farmersFood security efforts in Southern Africa have been boosted by the launch of a new organisation focusing on agricultural research and innovation.The Centre for the Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) opened in mid-July 2011 in Botswana.An initiative of Southern African Development Community (SADC), the centre is based at the Ministry of Agriculture in the nation’s capital city, Gaborone.The SADC aims to facilitate the economic integration of all Southern African countries and improve living standards, social justice and sustainable growth throughout the region.Christian de Graaff, Botswana’s minister of agriculture, said at the launch: “The issue of food security is particularly challenging to our region because despite the various challenges we have, the region is endowed with reasonable resources that, if put to good use, can change the situation.“Food security is undeniably one of the major challenges that the world has to deal with.  Food insecurity is more pronounced in our continent Africa and particularly prone in our region, hence it is a priority for all of us.”Research and innovationResearch, technology and innovation have been identified as key ways to achieve food security for SADC member states and the continent as a whole.The centre will help facilitate joint regional research programmes, the sharing of research information and resources, while also strengthening partnership ties.The research and development centre is hoping to help SADC countries reach their Millennium Development Goals through the coordination of the SADC’s Multi-country Agriculture Productivity Programme.It will also address challenges the SADC countries face in trying to feed over 250-million people.Mompati Merafhe, vice-president of SADC said: “To keep pace with population growth and other life demands, research and technology development must remain focused and ahead of time. Africa must position herself to compete with the best in the global market.“The theme for this meeting is Research and Development:  Key to Food Security. I find the theme both timely and appropriate.”Merafhe urged the centre to put both regional and international resources to good use and to launch new technologies that would enhance the productivity of small-scale and commercial farming operations.Agriculture vital for food securityHeads of states on the continent endorsed the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa in July 2003.Through this declaration, African states committed to allocating at least 10% of their national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development within five years.Merafhe said: “We cannot afford to ignore the fact that agriculture is the backbone of most SADC states as about 80% of our people depend on the sector for food, employment and income.”Botswana has identified and funded agricultural programmes involving backyard gardening and bee-keeping to eradicate poverty in the country.Merafhe added that African countries needed to have faith in their scientists, who have an abundance of traditional knowledge, and use this to drive agriculture on the continent so that it could compete with the rest of the world.Rural development programmeAs part of its poverty reduction plan, South Africa initiated the R54-million comprehensive rural development programme in Louis Trichardt, in the Limpopo province, in 2010.The programme, funded by the National Lotteries Board, is a partnership between the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform; the NGO Resource Africa and the Matsila Community Development Trust.Zwelivelile Mandela, a portfolio member of parliament for rural development and land reform, said at the launch of the programme: “This government is conscious that our people in rural areas face the harshest conditions of poverty, food insecurity and lack of access to basic services on an almost daily basis. Women, in particular, who form the majority of residents in rural areas, face the burden of poverty even more.”Mandela aded that the government will prioritise rural development across the country over the next five years.last_img read more

Social Revolution: Crowdsourcing For Change

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Government#People in Tech#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market michael tchong A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting How often have you thought our country needs to change? That something is fundamentally and systemically wrong that needs fixing? And that things could be fixed if we leveraged social media to find the best ideas to agree on?In the world of technology, we’re used to upheaval. In fact, we rely on it to drive innovation and improvements. So why can’t we use technology to solve some of the underlying problems we all agree need to change?Technology innovations have often been able to fill gaps – even leapfrog them in many cases – between our “old world” habits and the demands of the “new world.”How Technology Plugs GapsApple is a classic example of what I’m talking about. We used to live in a world where music lived on compact discs. Then came MP3 files, which made music infinitely more accessible – too accessible some might say. But it took Apple to make buying music and transferring it to a portable player easy, putting your entertainment microcosm in the palm of your hand. Today, the iTunes Store is the world’s largest music retailer.Another revolution is taking place in retailing, where the use of “big data” – the technology of parsing huge amounts of customer information to help companies like Target, for example, identify whether a female shopper is pregnant and offer her appropriate products – is significantly reshaping marketing.This type of insight has privacy advocates up in arms. Technology’s benefits often cut both ways, yet it’s evident that this type of arrangement holds the potential to benefit both marketers and consumers – letting Target offer shoppers useful and timely promotions without consumers having to lift a finger.In our high-speed world ruled by Time Compression, nothing has roiled financial markets more than the art of high-frequency trading, which combines sophisticated algorithms with millisecond performance to give equity traders a distinct advantage.And in education, perhaps the thorniest challenge of all, Khan Academy has made giant strides using a primitive set of YouTube videos that can be watched for free. This is a remarkable achievement considering U.S. spending on education has jumped 17-fold since 1970 without a lot to show for it. Change Everyone Can Believe InThese examples vividly illustrate how technology has brought beneficial change to entertainment, retailing and education, so the question is why can’t we use technology to change the body politic?As the founder of Social Revolution, I am trying to do just that. Social Revolution aims to harness innovative ideas through crowdsourcing, and distill them into a “Business Plan for U.S.A.” to help propel the country forward.We’re going to crowdsource ideas in five key areas – education, healthcare, business, finance and government. All these sectors are clearly ripe for a major disruption.To manage the idea stream, we’re relying on an innovative crowdsourcing platform from Pleasanton, Calif.-based Spigit. If you’re a company or individual that wants real change, and have a cogent idea about how to implement it, we want to hear from you. If you’re using technology to make things better, we need to hear from you.At Social Revolution, we believe that applying the new technologies offered by social media will unleash the power of ideas and turn the status quo on its head. Crowdsourcing has already shown its disruptive power in a number of fields.Wikipedia is perhaps the best-known example of a crowdsourcing success story, leading Encyclopedia Britannica to give up on its print edition earlier this year.Yelp has similarly reinvented the restaurant review business, while TripAdvisor has upended the travel industry with its incisive crowdsourced reviews.The time is certainly right. A surging interest in “clicktivism” has enabled Change.org to sign up 13 million clicktivists, proving that our population wants to get more engaged and involved.As President John F. Kennedy once said, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” To put a sharper point on it, allow me to paraphrase Steve Jobs’ pitch to hire Pepsi’s John Sculley, “Do you want to read sugar water the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” last_img read more

US Open fashion: Crystals, shapes and knee-high socks

first_imgAfter her first-round upset of No. 2-seeded Simona Halep, a triumphant Sharapova even gave her fashion choices a little plug.“Behind all these Swarovski crystals and little black dresses, this girl has a lot of grit,” she said.But for those seeking to get Sharapova’s dress to make the ultimate tennis club entrance, it won’t come cheap. Nike stores sell them for $500 — $700 for the matching warm-up jacket.The prevailing fashion theme at Flushing Meadows seemed to be designs with geometric shapes of color, bold but more understated than last year’s fluorescent reds, oranges and yellows. (Rafael Nadal bucked that trend with a bright pink shirt).Rising star Dominic Thiem led a slew of players wearing Adidas’ most ubiquitous kit, also designed by Williams, featuring big rectangles of red, blue and yellow. Top-seeded woman Karolina Pliskova wore a Fila skirt made up of tiny triangles of blue and red.And then there was tour rebel Fabio Fognini, whose rain-delayed match Tuesday was expected to feature him in one of the most daring designs of all: a mostly black outfit from Hydrogen emblazoned on the back with a huge tattoo-like design of a snarling rattlesnake ready to strike. Nadal says it’s noisy under US Open roof, despite changes LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Zverev himself acknowledged after his match ended early Tuesday that he was thinking about doing the same, but was mindful Williams was sitting in his spectator box.“Obviously I didn’t want to disappoint him and put them down a little while he’s watching me,” he said.Maria Sharapova got a much different reaction when she took the court Monday under the lights at Ashe, her first Grand Slam appearance after serving a 15-month ban from the game for doping. The Russian sported a black Nike mini dress that featured lace in the sleeveless top and shimmering Swarovski crystals dotting the skirt.“She’s got lace AND sequins,” Chris Evert commented during the ESPN broadcast. “She’s all sparkly.”Sharapova said in an interview with Vogue that she and designer Riccardo Tisci chose black for her night matches because it is the same color she wore on her way to her lone U.S. Open title in 2006 and because it evokes the image of “Audrey Hepburn and her classic Givenchy dress.”ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:46Duterte has only scratches on elbow, knee after motorcycle accident — Go00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Alexander Zverev, of Germany, returns as shot to Darian King, of Barbados, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK — Crystals, shapes and knee-high socks.Some players at this year’s U.S. Open are making daring fashion choices that scream everything from shimmering sophistication to retro dorky. And in the age of social media, the reaction — good and bad — can come in as fast as a 120-mph serve.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Take the Twitter backlash to No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev’s getup for his first-round match: a pinstriped shirt and striped headband that evoked Bjorn Borg, and striped knee-high socks that some fans compared to Will Ferrell’s 1970s basketball player look from the movie “Semi-Pro.”It was part of a line designed for Adidas by Pharrell Williams, the musical artist behind the hit “Happy.” Critics of his Zverev ensemble were more “Snarky.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Zverev’s socks make me want to vomit,” said one Twitter critic. Added others: “Preoccupied with Zverev’s schoolgirl-meets-Borg look.” … “He was moving slow because he was wearing an extra 10 pounds of socks.”Even the Adidas store a few steps away from Arthur Ashe Stadium seemed to downplay the $35 knee-highs in its picture-window displays. Mannequins wore them scrunched down around their ankles. View commentslast_img read more

Petron blazes past Iriga City in Batangas

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Nazareth, La Salle reach Rebisco semis unscathed Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City03:27Foton, Branislav ready for PSL’s biggest conference01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH As early as the opening set, Iriga City coach Parley Tupas surrendered every illusion of scoring an upset against Petron on Saturday.In a huddle, when they were trailing, 20-10, Tupas was telling his charges to “relax, we have nothing to lose, let’s just score as much points as possible.”ADVERTISEMENT Iriga City did lose. But it wasn’t clear if Tupas was happy with the points his team collected.The Blaze Spikers, brimming with confidence as well big-name stars, hammered out a 25-12, 25-15, 25-22 triumph over Iriga in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at Batangas City Sports Center.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutPetron registered its sixth win in seven games, while handing Iriga City its fifth defeat in seven outings. Both will qualify for the quarterfinals.From the onset, when the Blaze Spikers piled up a 7-1 lead, it was very clear they were leagues away from the Oragons, who simply had no answer for Petron’s massive firepower anchored on Lindsay Stalzer, Hillary Hurley, Remy Palma and Ria Meneses, among others. LATEST STORIES Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Read Nextlast_img read more

Enbridge shares up after it raises dividend sells shares and plans asset

first_imgCALGARY – Shares of Enbridge Inc. popped higher in early trading after the company announced plans to raise its dividend, issue shares and sell off at least $3 billion in assets next year.The stock was up $2.72 or about six per cent at $48.47 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.In a strategic update after markets closed Wednesday, the Calgary-based pipeline company said it has identified $10 billion of what it describes as non-core assets.The company also announced Wednesday a private placement of $1.5 billion in common shares and plans to issue an additional $4 billion of hybrid securities through the end of 2018.The moves follow Enbridge’s takeover of U.S. -based Spectra Energy earlier this year.“With the Spectra Energy assets now in the fold, we will focus our attention on what we do best and the value proposition that has served shareholders well over the years,” Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco said in a statement.“We will rationalize our asset mix to a pure regulated pipeline and utility business model, which emphasizes low risk businesses and strong growth in our three crown jewel businesses: liquids pipelines and terminals, natural gas transmission and storage and natural gas utilities.”Enbridge (TSX:ENB) said it will pay out a quarterly dividend of 67.1 cents per common share, payable on March 1, 2018. The dividend represents a 10 per cent increase from the previously quarterly rate.The company also said it expects to continue to grow its annual dividend by 10 per cent through 2020.The company has an extensive network of oil and natural gas pipelines that ship about 65 per cent of Canadian crude oil exports bound for the U.S.last_img read more

Frontier Oil Sands Mine project headed for public hearing this fall

first_imgCALGARY – A joint federal-provincial review panel says the Frontier Oil Sands Mine project application is now complete enough to advance to a public hearing set to take place as early as September.It says it is now accepting submissions about preferred locations and dates for the hearing, adding that requests to submit evidence or participate must be made in writing by June 22.The open pit project proposed by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. is estimated to cost $20 billion and designed to produce 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen from a site about 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta.That’s more than the recently completed 194,000-bpd Fort Hills mining project in which Teck is a minority partner holding 21 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. is the operator holding 54 per cent of the project.The joint review panel was appointed in May 2016 and given 13 months to assess the project and its environmental impacts. It won approval last November for an eight-month delay to complete its review.Two years ago, Teck said the earliest date for first oil from Frontier would be 2026.Companies in this article: (TSX:TECK.B, TSX:SU)last_img read more

Registration open for 6th Annual Community 2 Community Poker Ride

first_imgCommunities included in the ride are Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge.Poker hands cost $30 each while the ride is free for all residents to attend. The ride will also feature a free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Pomeroy Sport Centre as well as a barbeque in Chetwynd. Residents interested in registering for the poker ride must sign up at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.The poker ride starts at 9:00 a.m. on August 18th at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Registration is now open for the 6th Annual “Community 2 Community” Poker Ride.The poker ride will see participants motorbiking all around the Peace Region, with half starting in Fort St. John travelling North and the other half starting in Dawson Creek and travelling South. The two groups of bikers will then pass by each other at the halfway point of the ride.Participants will draw a card at every community they visit during the ride. The goal of the ride is to have the best poker hand once they visit each location.last_img read more

Peace Seniors Connect Care need your help

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Christmas is approaching and the group, Peace Seniors Connect & Care needs your help by providing donations that will go directly to the seniors in our community.PSCC is a group of caring people that came together three years ago to touch the lives of seniors in our community. The first year the group helped 86 seniors and this year’s numbers look to be helping 200 seniors as there is a need for this type of campaign.Group Administrator, Vanessa Siemens-Ford says “Seeing the looks on these seniors faces is more then one can handle at some points when on realize that these interactions through the parties we hold may be the only ones they get all year long.” PSCC has asked businesses around FSJ to set out collection bins and now needs the community’s help to fill them by donating items.  These donations will become gifts which will be handed out to seniors this Christmas at Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors Housing.“I am a very lucky individual. I have 3 of my grandparents still living. 88, 89 and 99 years old! The little things and time spent with them is so important for their health. This is a wonderful way of getting involved.” said Annamari Miles of Harvest Wine OutfittersA list of suggested items you can donate;– small bags of nuts or candy (diabetic candy too)– socks– hand cream– gift cards for Cool Beans (cafe downstairs at the hospital), Wal-Mart, Tim Hortons,  McDonald’s, Shoppers, Grocery stores, etc– hats, toques, mitts– puzzles– playing cards– pajamas, slippers, housecoats– magazines– crossword or word search books– nail polish– scratch or lotto tickets– brain teaser puzzles– Handy Dart passes– lip balm– chocolates, licorice– hair brushes & combs– adult colouring books, crayons, pencil crayons & markers– art supplies– fidget toys– nail clippers and files– change purses– toothbrushes– toothpaste– throw blankets– coffee mugs or teacups– watches– ladies necklaces– calendarsOther items needed for the preparation of gift giving:– gift wrap– tape– gift bags– gift tags– donations of food items for each seniors party, including Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors HousingPlaces to drop off Donation;Fort Motors: 11104 Alaska Road NorthNEAT: 10003 – 95 AvenueMLA offices: 10104 – 100 StreetHarvest Wine Outfitters: 8221 – 100 AvenueIG Wealth Management (beside Unforgettable Memories )Anna’s Laundry Service: (Taylor 10264 – 100 Street)12-6pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri9-2 SaturdaysVanessa Siemens-Ford’s House: 9103 – 87 Avenuelast_img read more

MLA Dan Davies voices concerns over Peace Valley OSB Plant closure

first_imgStaff were told the shutdown was due to poor market conditions in Western Canada and the US. “It’s certainly a sad day for Fort St. John and area. Anytime there is a large layoff, it not a good thing and my heart goes out to the employees that are affected by this.”According to Davies, one reason for this closure is due to the fact that B.C. is becoming uncompetitive when it comes to doing business. He also puts part of the blame on the new Forest Amendment Act, Bill-22.“B.C. is just becoming far too uncompetitive. It’s hard to get business done in B.C. Bill-22, that was recently passed, was just another slap in the face against forest companies. It’s really hard to find a compelling reason to come to B.C. and do business.”Davies says Premier John Horgan needs to stop talking and needs to focus on stopping the trend of mill closures.“The Premier needs to just stop talking, he needs to put some decisive things in play, and stop this trend of mill closures, not only here but across the Province.”Sources say the staff were told Thursday morning that the plant would close as of August 9, 2019. Approximately 190 people work at the facility. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the Peace Valley OSB Plant set to close this summer, the news has many within the community concerned and upset.One of those concerned with this closure is Peace River North MLA Dan Davies.Davies says this news is a sad day for Fort St. John, adding that his heart goes out to those affected by this closure.last_img read more

Chinas Long March3B rocket series complete 300 launches

first_imgBeijing: China’s Long March-3B rocket, regarded as the main stay of the country’s space programme since 1970, successfully completed its 300th launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit on Sunday. The indigenously-built rocket had send more than 500 spacecraft into space. “This is a milestone for China’s space industry development,” Wu Yansheng, board chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said. The Long March carrier rocket series, developed by CASC, is responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China. It took 37 years for the Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Long March carrier rockets helped provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Algeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. “Intensive launches have become normal in China, indicating the rapid development of the space industry, the progress of science and technology and the enhancement of national strength,” said Shang Zhi, director of the Space Department of the CASC. China joined the space club on April 24, 1970, when the Long March-1 carrier rocket launched the country’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit. At that time, the carrying capacity of the Long March rocket was only 300 kg. On November 3, 2016, China’s current largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, made its maiden flight, with its carrying capacity reaching 25 tonnes for low-Earth orbit and 14 tonnes for geosynchronous orbit. The success rate of the 300 launches of the Long March rockets stood at 96 per cent, according to CASC. During the third 100 launches, the Long March rockets sent a total of 225 spacecraft, weighing about 240 tonnes, into space, with a success rate of 97 per cent, reaching a high level in the world, said Shang. From October 1996 to August 2011, the Long March rockets set a world record for 15 years of successful consecutive launches. In 2018, the Long March rockets completed 37 consecutive successful launches, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches. A total of 17 types of Long March carrier rockets have been developed and put into use since 1970, ensuring the implementation of a series of key space projects including manned space program, lunar exploration, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the Gaofen Earth observation project. In addition, the Long March carrier rockets also launched a large number of meteorological satellites, resource satellites and oceanographic satellites, as well as several innovative science satellites including DAMPE to search for dark matter, the world’s first quantum satellite, and an electromagnetic satellite to study earthquakes, playing an important role in promoting the economic, social and scientific development in China, the Xinhua report said. Currently, China is developing new generation medium launch vehicles including the Long March-6A, Long March-7A and Long March-8. A test version of the Long March-5B, which has the largest carrying capacity to low-Earth orbit, has been produced and will be used to launch the modules of China’s space station, according to CASC.last_img read more