Archive for the ‘Niger’ Category


The Kuri: A Unique Study in Natural Selection

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By Edyth Parker

The Kuri cattle are a rare breed, found along the shores of Lake Chad Basin as well as across north-eastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and Niger. Kuri are classified as humpless longhorns, but are known by many other names such as Baharie, Dongolé, Koubouri, or Buduma. The most common name, Kuri, stems from the regional tribe who herded the breed for centuries in the Lake Chad area.

The Kuri male. (Photo credit: International Livestock Research Institute)

This natural habitat of the Kuri is hot, with an average temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and semi-arid with an extremely seasonal rainfall pattern. Lake Chad is surrounded by semi-aquatic and aquatic vegetation, which is the main food source of the Kuri. Their reliance on aquatic food sources and water as cooling mechanism has required some interesting adaptations in their physical appearance.

The Kuri breed is characterized by its unique horns. Though the horns can be anything from 60-150 cm in length, the internal fibrous material and thin exterior casing leaves the horns surprisingly lightweight. These hollow horns are used as flotation devices, necessitated by their semi-aquatic habitat.



Good Samaritans Help Feed Those in Need

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By Graham Salinger

In the mountainous rural communities of  Bolivia, thousands of children receive food through a school feeding program implemented by Samaritan Purse. Samaritan Purse is a faith-based organization that has been working since 1970 to support communities impacted by natural disaster, war, disease, and famine. Through food security programs, Samaritan Purse works to bring nutritious food to impoverished communities while helping them develop economically sustainable agricultural practices.

Samaritan Purse programs help people in regions suffering from food crises. (Photo credit: Samaritan Purse)

In Bolivia, where 23 percent of the population is undernourished, the school feeding program  delivers food to72 rural schools while  helping farmers who struggle to grow crops. Many children, up to 30 percent in the Chucananqu region, do not have access to milk, eggs, or meat. Through the school feeding program, which purchases food from local businesses, 28,000 children under the age of 14 receive food that is high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins.

Two of the businesses that supply food for the program were set up by Samaritan Purse. The Andean Grains Processing Center processes local crops that are brought in by local families and then purchased for the feeding program. Samaritan Purse also built a meat processing center that helps local herders sell their food. The Samaritan Purse also trains parents to prepare healthy meals for their children. Through this initiative they created a cookbook with recipes using local food. Samaritan Purse also helps parents track their children’s nutritional health by training more than 580 local volunteers to record the children’s height and weight every month.



Nourishing the Planet TV: “Re-Greening” the Sahel through Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration

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In this week’s episode, research intern Graham Salinger discusses the natural regeneration methods being used in the Sahel region of Africa to bring back indigenous trees and improve the livelihoods of traditional farmers.


To read more about farmer-managed natural regeneration, see: Innovation of the Week: “Re-Greening” the Sahel through Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Manufacturing success: an interview with Navyn Salem

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Navyn Salem, founder and director of Edesia, talks about her July  field diary reflection and explains the global impact that  emergency food aid programs have.

 Name: Navyn Salem

Affiliation:  Founder and Executive Director of Edesia

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Bio: In 2009 Navyn Salem founded Edesia -a non-profit factory that specializes in producing Plumpy’nut- a high calorie edible paste made of peanuts that is rich in vitamins and provides nutrition to starving children. As a manufacturer of Plumpy’nut and other nutritional supplements including, Supplementary’Plumpy, Plumpy’doz, and Nutributter, Edesia is a member of Nutriset’s PlumpyField Network, a global network of partners that produce these ready to use foods.

Photo credit: Boston College Magazine

By way of background, can you talk about why you founded Edesia and how you decided to focus your efforts on producing Plumpy’nut?

When I first started, I was certain of one thing- I wanted to have a big impact on children but get there by using a smart business approach. For over a year, I traveled, consulted and spoke with some of the most amazing development and global health leaders to gather ideas.

Edesia was created with the purpose of creating jobs and contributing to economic development as well as having a social mission that contributes to a global health challenge. We first got started with this model in Tanzania where 38 percent of the population is stunted due to malnutrition, most of the raw materials needed to make Plumpy’nut are available locally and products were being imported from France.  We began back in 2007 to develop this project and our factory there called Power Foods has been operational since December 2010.  They can now produce enough Plumpy’nutto fulfill the demand in Tanzania and some of the bordering countries.



Targeting Gaps in the Food Supply Chain: Going Beyond Agricultural Production to Achieve Food Security

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Agricultural production is only the first step in moving the world’s food from farm to fork, according to Nourishing the Planet, a project of the Worldwatch Institute. The other links in the food chain—harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, marketing, and selling—ensure that food actually reaches consumers. Inefficiencies in these activities, rather than just low yields or poor farming techniques, are often to blame for food shortages and low prices for growers.

Farmers need the right tools, including access to markets to sell their products, in order to improve their livelihoods. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

“Many of the farms and organizations we visited in Africa seemed to have the most success reducing hunger and poverty through efforts that had little to do with producing more crops,” said Nourishing the Planet director Danielle Nierenberg, who spent two years traveling across sub-Saharan Africa researching food chains in over 25 countries.

With the United Nations projecting a global population of more than 9 billion by 2050, increasing food chain efficiency will become ever more essential. Producers and consumers must be part of a food chain that feeds the world, provides fair prices to farmers, and works in harmony with the environment. “When groups of small farmers better organize their means of production—whether ordering the right inputs at the right time or selling their crops directly to customers—they become more resilient to fluctuations in global food prices while also better serving local communities,” said Robert Engelman, Executive Director of Worldwatch.



Aizen: The Sahel’s Number One Famine Food

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In the Sahel—a semi-arid area along the southern edge of the Sahara desert that stretches from Senegal’s Atlantic coast to the Ethiopian highlands—drought persisted from the late 1960s to the 1990s. The region has experienced repeated bouts of famine since the 1960’s, and once productive croplands have given way to desert. But in the face of adversity, some farming communities across the Sahel have been reviving traditional land management practices to reverse desertification. Among these practices is planting native, food-producing, and drought-resistant trees and shrubs in and around crop fields to improve soil fertility and moisture and reduce erosion.

A girl harvests Aizen in Niger. (Photo credit: Eden Foundation)

Aizen (Boscia senegalensis) is one of the native edible species that has the potential to make conditions more bearable in the Sahel, a region rife with poverty and coping with rapid population growth and increased incidence of drought as a result of climate cha