AfroMont, a knowledge sharing platform, was initiated in 2007 by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) to focus research attention on the diverse issues and challenges facing the mountainous regions of sub-Saharan Africa. AfroMont is an online media platform, now with eight years of activities, all with a focus on Africa mountain research and Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) in African countries. We follow advances in African mountain research and issues including news and specialized opinion articles covering all aspects of global change in mountains.
Photo credit: Outskirts of Mt Elgon, Mbale district, Uganda.
AfroMont was part of the organising committee for the WMF Sustainable Mountain Agriculture session, along with Boniface Kiteme, Faustin Gashakamba, RosaLaura Romeo, Ramahavalisoa Valérie Brigitte Kanyamuge and Gábor Figeczky. Gábor of IFOAM - Organics International led the preparations and was the facilitator of the conference session. Our keynote speaker, Dr Gete Zeleke from the Water and Land Resources Centre, Ethiopia, dealt with ensuring sustainability of investments on land and water management in mountain regions in Africa and making sure that benefits do accrue from development projects on the land, and two other session speakers covered South America and Africa. Hannes Van den Eeckhout gave a presentation on market connections as a key driver to sustainable mountain food systems and discussed how small smallholder farmers in Peruvian mountains need to be connected with buyers, a very important element in making small agricultural enterprises profitable. Mr MacPherson Nthara from Malawi, presented a paper on sustainable agricultural intensification in mountain areas of Malawi, and showed how apple production became a viable new activity for farmers in northern Malawi. MacPherson Nthara, who is a rural water expert from Malawi, showed how small scale farmers can find new crops to grow and respond to local market demands, provided they get assistance.
In Kenya, cultural and natural heritage has a particular value. Its pre-historic heritage not only tells the story of man's origin and evolution but has also contributed to the understanding of the earth's history: fossils and artefacts spanning over 27 million years have been discovered and conserved by the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). Alongside this, the steady rise in the market value of African art has also affected Kenya. Demand for African tribal art has surpassed that for antiquities of Roman, Byzantine, and Egyptian origin, and in African countries currently experiencing conflicts, this activity invariably attracts looters, traffickers and criminal networks.
The role of urbanisation as a potential driver of development has been recognised at the highest level in Africa. At this week’s United Nations Habitat III conference on housing and sustainable urban development a “New Urban Agenda”, intended to guide national governments globally, was adopted.
AfroMont and collaborators have written a book chapter on the Drakensberg Escarpment for the new Elsevier book called Mountain Ice and Water: Investigations of the Hydrologic Cycle in Alpine Environments. This book is a new volume of papers reviewed and edited by John Shroder, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Geology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, and Greg Greenwood, Director of the Mountain Research Initiative from Bern, Switzerland. Chapters in this book were derived from research papers that were delivered at the Perth III Conference on Mountains of our Future Earth in Scotland in October 2015. The conference was established to help develop the knowledge necessary to respond effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and to support transformations toward global sustainability in the coming decades.
Our chapter, the first in the book, is titled “The Drakensberg Escarpment as the Great Supplier of Water to South Africa” by S.J. Taylor, J.W.H. Ferguson, F.A. Engelbrecht, V.R. Clark, S. Van Rensburg and N. Barker.
If you use Facebook, follow the Mountain Research Initiative to get the latest mountain-related news, job announcements, blog posts and, every now and then, some mountain eye-candy to brighten your day!
At last – the online conference registration website is available.
AfroMont - Mt Kilimanjaro Mountain Research Conference 22 – 26 February 2017: the URL http://www.afromont.org will be available from 1st August 2016 to register. Delegates can now register online and submit an abstract and make an EFT Payment to pay for their attendance.
Getnet, M; Van Ittersum, M; Hengsdijk, H; Descheemaeker, K (2016): Yield gaps and resource use across farming zones in the central rift valley of Ethiopia. EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE, 52 (4):493-517; 10.1017/S0014479715000216 OCT 2016
De Beenhouwer, M; Geeraert, L; Mertens, J; Van Geel, M; Aerts, R; Vanderhaegen, K; Honnay, O (2016): Biodiversity and carbon storage co-benefits of coffee agroforestry across a gradient of increasing management intensity in the SW Ethiopian highlands. AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT, 222 193-199; 10.1016/j.agee.2016.02.017 APR 15 2016
AfroMont was initiated to focus research attention on the diverse problems facing the mountainous regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, as well as share information that may lead to the development of science-based solutions required for sustainable mountain development in the long term.
Anyone with an interest in African mountains and mountain research can contribute to this Digest, or to the blogs or the website. Please liaise with or send short concise material and photographs to Dr Sue Taylor. The AfroMont Research Digest is sent out every month to about 700 email addresses of the AfroMont Network.