INDESEEM INCORPORATED Opens National Office in Monrovia, Liberia

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 26, 2018

INDESEEM Incorporated Liberia has recently opened our national head office in Monrovia, Liberia. INDESEEM Incorporated is a not-for-profit research, development, and education corporation base in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our vision is to enhance partnerships for development to provide evidence-based technical and non-technical services to assist our partners collaboratively achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are a not-for-profit organization because we do not have shareholders, our works are focused on research and development with education to ensure sustainability. The revenue we generate from income-based projects and initiatives are not intended for generating profits. Annual excess net revenues are re-invested in new projects and programs design and development, staff enrichment opportunities, scholarships and grants committed to other organizations and members of the civil society recognized for their honorable contributions in their respective communities that directly or indirectly contribute to or reinforce our vision and mission.

We will provide specialized services in sustainable development, environment, and climate change, sustainable agriculture and food systems, poverty reduction, health and sanitation, community-led social business, and information communication technology (ICT). We design or work with our partners to design, implement, manage, and evaluate projects aim at realizing our shared visions, strategic goals, and objectives. 

The Board of Directors in consultation with the management team of INDESEEM, Inc. – USA and our team in Liberia have set up our national office in the Bassa Community on King’s Avenue, Montserrado County, Monrovia, Liberia. INDESEEM Incorporated Liberia is directed and supervised by Mr. Harenton Cashier Chea, Country Director under the auspices of the Board of Incorporators, a designated body of individuals directly appointed by the Board of Directors of INDESEEM, Inc. USA.

The Board of Incorporators of INDESEEM, Inc. Liberia has initiated the process to formalize our existence as an international non-governmental organization. We will work with the public and private sectors to promote and enhance Liberia’s strategic development agenda with interest in ensuring that Liberia meets its sustainable development goals targets and milestones by 2030.

Our work involves recognition and sector clearances from various government entities including the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and Development, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Each year, we will strategize ways to apply for and achieve sector clearance from each of the listed government ministries. We will work with other development partners and community-based organizations towards strategic partnerships to harness and utilize our share development goals within the overall development agenda of Liberia.

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Harenton Cashier Chea, Country Director, INDESEEM INCORPORATED Liberia

 

Team setting up systems at the office

Aligning needs with solutions: Data-driven agricultural innovation for Vietnam’s farmers

 by  | Jul 27, 2018

 

In many ways, technology, including information and communication technology (ICT), has made our lives easier and helped solve many of society’s challenges. But how do we make sure that ICT lends itself as well to help those who grow our food?

To help Vietnam’s technology innovators rest assured that their ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag) solutions do in fact adequately respond to Vietnamese farmers’ current and important challenges, they, together with farmers, convened at a workshop in which both parties gained a deeper appreciation of the challenges in the field on the one hand and existing technology solutions on the other.

Photo by Timm Walker/GIZ

 

Photo by Nguyen Ngoc Son/GIZ   

 

Held at Can Tho University on July 13th, 2018, the workshop titled “Aligning needs with solutions: Data-driven innovation for Vietnam’s agriculture sector” attracted more than 120 farmers, technology providers, researchers, and government representatives from all over Vietnam.

“Having technology developers and farmers in one place is extremely beneficial to both parties,” Ole Henriksen, Senior Technical Advisor for the GIZ-Integrated Coastal Management Programme, said. “For researchers, it provided an opportunity to learn what other challenges farmers face that aren’t currently being addressed by available technologies and that knowledge is the impetus for innovation.”

With officials from some of Vietnam’s key agricultural institutions, such as the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) present, workshop participants also identified ways on how supportive policy could foster a vibrant environment for technology innovation and adoption.

“It was important to involve policymakers and decisionmakers in the very beginning as they will ultimately spell out regulation for the sector. Enhancing individual and institutional capacity and knowledge had been a prime interest in preparing for and conducting this workshop,” Henriksen added.

One of the biggest concerns raised is the affordability of technology solutions, which participants felt, could be addressed if adoption increased and brought down costs due to economies of scale. An enabling policy environment could help increase the adoption of technology solutions by farmers.

At the workshop, participating farmers learned of available, useful technologies, for example, nutrient managers and site-specific agronomic advice delivered through mobile phones, that they never knew existed in Vietnam.

“The technology users – the farmers – are central to technology development,” Dharani Dhar Burra, data scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), said. “In order for us to be able to harness insights from big data, and later develop effective solutions based upon those insights, we first have to consistently know every minutest detail of what goes on in the field. This is where farmers come in.”

 From farmers’ data to climate-smart agronomic information

In a parallel initiative by GRET through the Agro-Ecology Learning Alliance in South East Asia (AliSEA)program, and participated in by CIAT, RT Analytics, and An Giang University-Research Center for Rural Development, rice farmers in Cho Moi upload, through a mobile application, data on their farming activities and management practices in a standardized manner. These data include farm location, and those pertaining to the farm’s production processes such as amount of water used, amount of chemicals used, and others. Data coming from each farm will be entered as a quick response – QR – product code, which can relay to consumers, at point-of-sale, some information regarding the product’s environmental footprint.

Photo grabbed from the Agro-Ecology Learning Alliance Facebook page

“Farmers hate writing the most. The mobile app liberates them from the paper-based farm diary, and that is why they love it,” Le Dang Trung, Chief Scientist at RT Analytics, said. “The data which they enter into the app is then used to help them optimize their farm operations, as well as provide buyers with full traceability.”

Piloted among 20 rice farmers in Cho Moi, the data entry mobile application is seen to expand among more Vietnamese farmers. In fact, maize farmer groups in upland Lai Chau in northern Vietnam will also start using the mobile application this season, with technical support from CIAT, RT Analytics, and Consultative Institute for Socio-Economic Development of Rural and Mountainous Areas (CISDOMA).

According to Trung, beginning next year, RT Analytics will focus on adding artificial intelligence (AI) to the app, to help, for example, diagnose what disease the crop is exposed to after farmers upload a photo into the app. And depending on consumer demand for more information, it can later host more types of data that will contribute to further enhancing the agricultural product’s traceability, and in some cases, the farm’s reputation for food quality and safety.

But that is just the beginning. As farmers become accustomed to uploading all sorts of data – farming schedule, water use, weather observations, pesticide use, crop or yield observations – into the mobile application, researchers receiving all these data will be able to combine these with other data such as satellite weather data and soil data, to develop automated, timely agronomic advice based on each site’s specific conditions.

“It is a give and take situation,” Burra said. “The more data the farmers give and input into the app, the better the quality of information and advice they receive in return. And the better all these data could later inform policy, for example, related to the impact of chemical use at the landscape level.”

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Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 08/16/2018 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM, Inc. accordingly.

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More cassava for less time

Aeroponic-cassava_resized

Aeroponics involves growing the cassava with its roots suspended in air and automatically sprayed with a special solution. Photo by: Neil Palmer / CIAT


By  | Apr 5, 2018


Cassava has a relatively long growth cycle compared to other important crops. It takes an average of 10-12 months — sometimes up to 24 months! — for farmers to harvest the roots; maize, rice, and potato’s growth cycles span less than a third of that.

In other words, farmers can grow cassava at most once a year, or, in some cases, every two years. Dr. Michael Gomez Selvaraj, a CIAT crop physiologist, is working to change that.

There is very little understanding of how and why few roots in cassava turn into organs that store starch, the part of the crop most valued by rural communities and industry.

Together with his colleagues at the CIAT Phenomics Platform, Selvaraj is developing a method that will lead to identifying the genes and factors that cause early bulking of roots. This will help them establish how to shorten the growth cycle of cassava to as little as seven months.

In addition, the technique will help identify the genes and factors that can increase the number of storage roots, so farmers can sell more of these in the market.

A novel technique

The method being tested by Selvaraj and his team involves growing the cassava with its roots suspended in air and automatically sprayed with a special solution.

Known as aeroponics, it offers a controlled environment for breeders to identify the genes that trigger early bulking of roots and the conversion of fibrous roots — which are all what the cassava initially has — to storage roots.

In the past, breeders would need to dig up the root from the soil to study the genetic traits of cassava. But it was difficult to isolate genes as the plant interacted with numerous elements in and around the soil, such as insects, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

With aeroponics, breeders can see how and when some roots start to swell and become starch storage organs. Root swelling is the crucial step toward cassava yield. As such, if breeders can learn to manipulate the genes that induce this swelling, they can manipulate cassava yield.

Apart from locating which gene triggers early root bulking, Selvaraj and his team want to know at which point such a gene does this and why the plant selects certain fibrous roots to become storage roots. Temperature and certain types of hormones could be factors, Selvaraj suggested.

With that, breeders will be able to trigger the process of bulking of roots at the earliest possible time and of increasing the number of storage roots the plant develops.

In the future as such, a cassava variety whose roots start bulking at the fourth month and that only has at most 10 storage roots might have roots that would begin bulking from the second month and have 20 storage roots.

“If we can double the storage roots, farmers will have an equivalent of two harvests in one growing season,” said Selvaraj.

Next steps

Selvaraj aims to follow up his experiment with trials to test how the cassava would perform in the field. And he plans to do this again without having to dig up the root from the soil.

One part of the trials will involve the use of the so-called ground-penetrating radar technology or GPR.

GPR can detect objects underneath the surface. It has numerous applications in several fields such as engineering, military, and archeology.

“But this is the first time that the technology will be used on plants,” according to Selvaraj.

GPR can validate whether the roots of cassava are bulking as early as expected. A study found it to be a suitable technology to predict and estimate storage root growth of cassava.

Another part of the future trials will entail using drones to see how the crop is performing depending on the type of soil and level of nutrients. Knowledge of the proper timing for fertilizing cassava is still limited, and drones can provide valuable information on this.

For instance, if the amount of nitrogen is low, the plant will likely be short. But with the right amount of nutrients, the plant will likely grow tall.

For farmers, the taller the cassava plant, the better. This means they have more planting materials for the next growing season, as farmers only need stem cuttings to propagate the crop.

“With the combination of all these innovative technologies, we are hopeful that one day farmers can produce more cassava in less time,” Michael Selvaraj said. “More importantly, this allows them to earn more and have more to feed their families.”

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Additional information:

The project titled “Low-cost 3D Phenotyping of Cassava Roots” is funded by the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is a partnership between CIAT and the University of Nottingham’s Computer Vision Laboratory.

The use of GPR by the Phenomics Platform is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and forms part of the partnership between CIAT, Texas A&M University, and IDS North America Ltd.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 04/09/2018 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM, Inc. accordingly.


 

A 5-year voyage to tackle plastic pollution

UNEP| 22 FEB 2018 | Story | Ocean & Seas


 

It’s possible to cross all of the world’s oceans without using a single drop of fossil fuels: the Race for Water is proof. Entirely propelled by solar energy, hydrogen and wind, the boat set off last year on a five-year journey around the globe to raise awareness of the urgency of curbing plastic pollution in the oceans.

This week, the vessel arrived in Panama City as part of a series of stops in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Bermuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe. 

Race for Water
A view of the boat’s solar panels, part of the renewable energy mix that powers the Race for Water. (Source: Race for Water)

The expedition, led by the Swiss Race for Water Foundation and supported by UN Environment, reaches out to the communities along its route. More than 1,500 children have benefited so far from lectures and interactive presentations aboard the vessel on how to tackle plastic pollution. Around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up polluting the oceans each year. If no urgent action is taken, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

“The Race for Water Foundation is demonstrating that a zero-emissions future is not a utopia – it is already becoming reality,” said UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim. “UN Environment is proud to support the round-the-world odyssey of this innovative vessel.”

Camille Rollin
Race for Water specialist Camille Rollin shares “plastic waste to energy” projects with children aboard the vessel. (Source: Race for Water)

The crew of the Race for Water also undertakes research projects that aim to measure the impact of marine litter on wildlife and biological cycles. The expedition aims to inspire governments, companies, scientists and students to use the latest technologies to reduce plastic consumption and better manage their plastic waste.

“We are thrilled to be in Panama and to have the opportunity to share with audiences here the fragility of marine ecosystems and the solutions we need to tackle plastic pollution, including microplastics,” said Franck David, leader of the expedition.

The Race for Water is a 35-metre long boat with 500 square meters of solar panels on its roof, a plant to produce energy from saltwater hydrogen, and a maximum-efficiency sail, which helps to harness the power of the wind.

plastic waste
Plastic waste collected by the crew for study. (Source: UN Environment)

“This innovative vessel demonstrates that through technology and innovation we can already achieve efficient solutions to plastic pollution, one of the most serious problems of our time,” said UN Environment regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman, during a visit to the Race for Water.

“We already have the innovations that will help us to set up a new plastic economy. Now we need to build momentum among all sectors to change our unsustainable production and consumption patterns and that is why plastic pollution is the theme of this year’s World Environment Day,” Heileman added.

Race for Water
Even when there is no wind, the Race for Water requires no fossil fuels. (Source: Race for Water)

“Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme of World Environment Day 2018, urges governments, industry, communities and individuals to break up with single-use plastic, which is polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.

The Race for Water expedition will spread the word on this pressing issue. In the coming months, the vessel will stop in Peru and Chile, before continuing on to the Pacific islands. “Shanghai, Tokyo and Dubai will follow, and we will end this unique expedition in the Mediterranean, before returning to France in 2021”, David said.

Leo Heilemen on the Race for Water
UN Environment regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman, joins expedition leader Franck David on board the Race for Water. (Source: UN Environment)

Panama, Chile and Peru are part of UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, which aims to engage governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in a global fight against marine plastic litter.


Article Disclaimer


This article originally appeared on UNEP and was retrieved on 02/22/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.

 

‘We are not out of the woods yet’ on drought relief efforts, warns top UN aid official in Somalia

image1170x530cropped

UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed | A woman walks in drought-hit Salaxley village, 15 kilometers south of Garowe in Puntland, one of the regions hit by a severe drought. UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed


18 February 2018 | Humanitarian Aid


The top United Nations humanitarian official in Somalia has commended the drought relief and recovery efforts of the authorities in the northern state of Puntland, while cautioning that the current humanitarian crisis is far from over.


“We took stock, together with [Puntland’s] leadership, of the drought response as it has been so far, looking back to what has been a good year in terms of close cooperation and a very successful drought relief effort,” the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, said in Puntland’s capital, Garowe, on Saturday, in the wake of a series of meeting with officials, including the Federal Member State’s President Abdiwali Mohamed Ali.

“At the same time, we talked about the remaining challenges because we are not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination,” he added.

Mr. de Clercq – who also serves as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia and the UN Resident Coordinator – was visiting Puntland to meet with security, planning and humanitarian officials from the local government, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, to discuss the current drought response and other challenges in the region.

Speaking on the collective response so far to the drought that has affected Puntland and the rest of Somalia for over five failed rain cycles, Mr. de Clercq said that, while 2017 was a good year in terms of close cooperation to avoid the worst impact of the drought, further effort would be needed.

He added that, in areas like Sool and Sanaag, there are still massive needs and a strong possibility that famine-type conditions would develop. The two areas, located on the north-eastern tip of the Horn of Africa, form part of a disputed region claimed by both Puntland and neighbouring ‘Somaliland.’

Mitigating the effects of the drought and helping the people who have been displaced by it was one of the main topics covered in the UN official’s meeting with President Mohamed Ali. “Our discussion was frank and candid, very fruitful,” the President noted afterwards.

image770x420cropped

UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed

Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator accompanied by officials from the UN and Puntland administration interacts with residents of drought-hit Salaxley village., by UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed

At the end of the visit, which included discussions at the ministries of security and planning, together with Puntland’s disaster management agency, Mr. de Clercq said that it was important to get the right resources to the right place and work with the right partners, such as the Puntland authorities, and to consider longer-term factors.

“We try to address the underlying causes of the crisis, like food insecurity and livestock depletion, and to think of alternatives for people to make a living and to rebuild their lives,” he said.

In 2017, drought-related famine was averted through the efforts of Somalis and their international partners. However, the risk is not yet overcome as there are 5.4 million people in Somalia needing life-saving humanitarian assistance. Work is being done in all regions, including Puntland, to build and sustain resilience in all communities, especially the populations affected the most by the recurring cycle of drought and famine risk, such as pastoralists, displaced persons and fishing communities.

There is a resilience and recovery framework in Somalia, to help it transition from humanitarian intervention to sustainable recovery and disaster preparedness. Led by the authorities and supported by the United Nations and the World Bank, it is tightly linked to its development plan. It enables the national and regional governments to take the lead in medium- and long-term developments solutions, going to the root of communities’ vulnerability to droughts, and helping them withstand recurrent shocks.


Article Disclaimer


This article originally appeared on United Nations and was retrieved on 02/19/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.


 

FAO and OECD call for responsible investment in agriculture

16 February 2018, Paris – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a pilot project in Paris today to kick-start the practical application of the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains with 30 leading enterprises. 

The project aims to improve the implementation of the Guidance and internationally-agreed standards on responsible production, sourcing and supply chain management in the agricultural sector.

Enterprises involved in the agricultural sector are critical for the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals – playing a key role in generating much-needed investment, decent employment, developing productivity and supply chains that benefit producers and consumers. At the same time, business activities in this sector can undermine this potential when their operations or supply chains negatively impact workers, human rights, the environment, food security/nutrition, and tenure rights.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprisesfirst adopted in 1976, and the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems of the Committee on World Food Security,endorsed by governments and representatives of the private sector and civil society in 2014, are prominent international instruments for responsible business conduct.

Building on these instruments, the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains was developed with the support of a multi-stakeholder group representing governments, business, workers and civil society. It provides a practical tool to help enterprises observe these and other standards of responsible business conduct.

The launch of this pilot project will strengthen the ability of companies to avoid contributing to adverse impacts on people, the environment and society while meeting global sustainability challenges.

The Guidance targets domestic and international, small, medium and large enterprises across the entire agricultural supply chain, from the farm to the consumer. Since its adoption in 2016, it has been endorsed by multiple governments, including G7 Agricultural Ministers.

This work is carried out within the OECD’s sectoral work on due diligence for responsible business conduct and FAO’s Umbrella Programme which supports sustainable and responsible investment in agriculture and food systems across the globe.


Article Disclaimer


This article originally appeared on FAO and was retrieved on 02/19/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.

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