I chose this photograph I took in Patuet in 2009 to create a poem! I have not really considered writing something to a photograph before; generally choosing a photo from our large photographic library to match something I have already written! it was rather interesting; I guess like a painter sitting in a beautiful setting, waiting for inspiration. It was challenging at first, but once the words began to flow, the well was no longer dry!
I am using a photo taken in Patuet, South Sudan, when I went several years ago. I have this photo and several others on my ‘Building Hope in Southern Sudan’ page. I love this photograph; this fellow is a typical working man, a shepherd. The shepherds walk their goats, sheep and cattle to the White Nile River to water and graze them. This is not unusual, except that Patuet is at least a two day walk to the river. A road now runs through Patuet. The medical center come school we built has brought a lot more foot traffic to the village. There is also a trading place there now, where people can sell and trade their goods. I have written a poem to connect with this photo. I will also add another photo I love, of a goat that the chief gifted to us for going and helping out with a medical team in 2009. We found it rather difficult to explain that we could not take the goat on the plane with us back to Australia. One of the great doctors, and a great nurse are in this photo with me, taking care of the goat, before we had to give it to someone else to take care of it for us. This gift was incredibly generous, as this goat was breeding stock, and worth a lot of money to these people, who live very humbly, and need every resource they have to survive.
As followers know, I have been to South Sudan a couple of times to do some work in a lovely village called Patuet. I took this lovely photo of a sunset, typically African. Sadly the trip we were supposed to be going on in April this year was cancelled for agriculture work, as we couldn’t get enough funding for the project to go ahead, so hoping that next year this will be another story. Fortunately the medical team got to go, and did a great job, as usual. I attached this poem I wrote to the photograph I took of the beautiful sunset in Patuet. Lovely memories….
I connected this haiku I wrote to a photo that was taken on the 2009 trip we made to Patuet, in South Sudan. I don’t know who in our team took this photo. It could have been either Dr Ian Everitt or photographer extraordinaire, Bena Wandei. I love the way the photograph depicts the livestock farming in the tropical wet and dry climate of South Sudan. Temperatures are high throughout the year, with a dry season from November to March and a wet season from April to October. The wet season arouses the earth, the country side becomes alive; yet the water and the earth are quickly dried up with the onset of the somewhat shorter dry season. South Sudan’s major water resources are the Nile (White and Blue Nile) and its tributaries, and aquifers. A large part of South Sudan is covered by wetlands at favourable times of the year. We were in Patuet in late February, the hottest and driest time of the year. The shepherds still herd their goats, sheep and cattle; nothing much grows this time of year, fresh fruit and vegetables are non-existent. The well is the only local water available, the water tank dries up quickly. The hot, dry conditions trigger seasonal human and livestock migration to more permanent water sources (the toic), which serve as dry season grazing pasture, and for some ethnic groups, such as the Dinka, they also serve as fishing grounds. The people living in Patuet are of the Nuer tribe, they are predominantly cattle herders.
By Nissi Ekpott
We recently carried out research in an African province with a population of over 4 million people and a yearly government income of over US$ 3 billion, and found little or no local industry for milk, feed, meat and other agricultural concerns. The entire region actually imports most of its agricultural and livestock products. Imagine what would happen if local industries were created instead.
Examples like this demonstrate that agriculture in Africa is a sitting gold mine. But also, as the world population increases, food demand is increasing at a rapid rate, and Africa is becoming recognized as the one place that has the capacity to feed the world. Already, fund managers and investors from various parts of the world are increasing their investment into agriculture on the continent, however, the surface has barely been scratched.
Most of the current focus in African agriculture has been on acquisition of large swathes of land for farming, production and export. This has generated its fair share of controversy with people complaining of various forms of abuse and exploitation. As a result, countries are beginning to place demands on investors and tighten conditions of land acquisition, which is are positive moves to make sure African communities benefit.
However, the greater opportunity may lie in developing and funding smaller scale operations, which come alongside African farmers to expand productivity. Investment needs to be made into development of technologies at this scale and helping farmers develop markets for their products. This approach will be less controversial as it tends to have tangible large scale benefit to communities at the grassroot level.
Pierre Mathijsen, President of EMRC, says African agriculture could be developed to such an extent that successful small-scale farmers emerged from all parts of the continent, returning Africa to its position thirty years ago as a net exporter of food. He pointed out that there is already sufficient funding available for African agricultural projects, but the challenge was developing a sufficient number of good, bankable projects.
The EMRC, partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and other role players are coming alongside to help Africans fill this gap. These development agencies are working on the premise that since agriculture already employs over 60% of Africa’s workforce, its growth would bring sustainable job and wealth creation to the continent. These they believe can be achieved through development of sustainable public/private partnerships.
At the recent AgriBusiness Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, says African farmers can be moved from subsistence enterprises to exports, but it will take government, business, and financiers.
Focusing on small-scale farmers is really not a new strategy. Many firms from large to small understand the imperative and opportunity. An example of a large firm is Yara International, which has worked in Africa for over 30 years focused on supply inputs for farmers and capacity building for the value chain. And, Backpack Farming, a small, entrepreneurial enterprise, creates portable packs for cultivating small plots of land in East Africa.
For investors, there are three spheres from which they can benefit. First is the local demand for food. At this point, most African countries are importing their major food needs like fish, meat, milk, and corn. Locally created agricultural ventures will find opportunities here and in regional markets. And, as noted before, the growing global demand for food will be an opportunity to leverage African agricultural investments.
While there is a lot of opportunity, there are still a lot of challenges, e.g., infrastructure, for foreign and African investors and businesspeople alike. In reality, it will take ten years for many of today’s challenges to be addressed on a large-scale, but smaller, focused ventures with clusters of complementary businesses that catalyze the value chain can unleash the potential of this market much sooner.
The above article was taken from: http://www.africagoodnews.com/development/agriculture/2775-smaller-might-be-better-in-african-agriculture.html
- Traditional Subsistence Sector in the African Economy (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Africa, the Good News: Irrigated Agriculture in Mauritania (figmentsandimagination.wordpress.com)
- Africa Blossoms: A Continent On the Verge of an Agricultural Revolution (time.com)
- ‘Fertilizer’ trees help African farmers increase yields (summitcountyvoice.com)
- Small farmers in vanguard of Africa’s battle for agricultural development | Mark Tran (guardian.co.uk)
- Trees ‘boost African crop yields’ (bbc.co.uk)