I’m No Longer Posting To This Blog Please Visit www.digivu.co.za

January 11, 2010

I have found it difficult to run a number of blogs on fairly closely related topics.

I have therefore set up a combined blog with continues to provide the content this and other blogs were providing. This blog also provides other services and information.

DIGIVU.jpg

Clicking on the image above will take you to the blog at http://www.digivu.co.za. Please Email me here. if you have any difficulty or comment.

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FAO Conference on the Food Crisis

June 23, 2008

On the first reports I have seen it seems like the conference did not make tangible progress, although I guess this kind of conference never is.

Seems like

  • it was agreed that Food Production would have to solve the problem in the long term
  • a short term increase in funds for food aid would be necessary and
  • it was agreed biofuels gave rise to “challenges and opportunities” which need further investigation

Yahoo! what did that conference cost, what was the environmental impact and why was the issue not addressed at the GIAF held a few months before.

As you can see I’m not very impressed but will follow up and report back over the next few months.


Waste – only until there’s a use!

May 27, 2008

A while ago I posted a story about a project aimed at reducing post harvest losses. I noted that losses are often a consequence of imbalances between supply and demand. Without demand prices plummet and a crop effectively becomes a waste. There are also wastes connected to processing eg fruit peels. These wastes are either available free or at low cost depending on their location.

Projects that use these wastes as raw material often look extremely favourable but can quickly loose their feasibility if the demand for the waste allows the owner of the waste to increase its price.

Here is a documented case – waste oil from restaurants has trebled in price in three years as demand for it as a feed for biodiesel has increased

Used Fry Grease Rich Target For Grease Gangs…Seriously · Environmental Leader · Green Business, Sustainable Business, and Green Strategy News for Corporate Sustainability Executives.jpg

from: Environmental Leader
(click image for full story online)

 


Low Foodmile Snacks

March 2, 2008

We in South Africa and probably in much of Africa look at the Food Mile concept as a novelty which doesn’t really effect us – maybe wrongly. Now following low fat and low calories snacks we have Low Foodmile snacks

UK snack firms focus on food miles.jpg
from BakeryandSnacks.com

The article discussed Boot’s (sandwiches) and Walkers (potato crisps) are trying to increase the content of raw materials grown in Britain in response to their consumer’s perceived needs. Of course the effect on the environment is much more complex than just changing a raw material supplier but its a start.

Probably the concept is difficult to implement where the consumer is driven first and foremost by the amount of food they can access for the spending power they have -worry about the impact on the environment is more appropriate to the wealthier consumer who worries about things like organic food, natural additives and ethical trading.

I will probably publish a bit about Foodmiles and related environmentally focussed issues on my African Agribusiness Issues Blog as there is much discussion of the concept.


The Blogging Revolution?

October 12, 2007

I have heard it many times – blogging & social bookmarking improves communication and sharing! I’m not so sure!

I came across Afri-Gadget’s Solar Powered Donket Cart the other day and thought it was a bit debatable so made a comment on the blog. Hoping to see this start up some kind of discussion I revisited now and then to see what arose. The answer was that everyone just carried on and no one responded – one other person agreed with my view but just made a rather harsh comment. Overall 55 comments with 7 commenting generally and only 2 responding seriously. But overall nothing was added to the issue and informed concerns about the viability apparently not considered.

Technocrati had 35 listing in the three days since the original Afri-Gadet blog but it seems that only about a third do anything other than just reproduce the picture and some of the text from the original. Those that add anything don’t seem to make any significant contribution.

There were 4 Diggs showing it was there,

One website visited  in following links  alls itself websitesreviewer.com but should really be websitescoppier as stories are just reproduced without comment.

So what is this all doing filling the WEB with duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates …!

By the way my comment was

Are you all serious?

The current business model is to swap your battery at a battery shop where it is charged.

How can this expensive novelty compete at all and do we want to
waste all this material and effort. What about the extra feed the
donkeys need to pull this metal contraption around!
Does the user have a garage to protect the panel at night – panels have been the target of armed robbers!

I do appreciate the donkey-friendly harnesses but surely….

and still waiting for a comment.

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Africa & The CDM

October 9, 2007

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) arrises from the Kyoto agreement and is essentially a mechanism that finances renewable energy projects. As part of the mechanism Designated National Authorities are established as focal points. Looking at the map below of all CDM projects Africa is clearly a looser.

Approved CDM Projects - 09/10/07

Without South Africa, there are only 5 projects in sub Saharan Africa. The dot in Mali is an error, its a Honduran project.

Africa has 33% percent of the DNAs and manages just 2.5% of the projects!

With all our talk about not wanting handouts and the massive rural energy and sanitation problems, why don’t we perform better? Maybe its because we spend our time enthusing about a one off junk windmill and how it shows how brilliant we are and leave it to the politicians to be a DNA and presumably spend their time strategising & concretising.

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Why African Agribusiness Issues

August 24, 2007

After a life in formal employment, the last 15 of which were focused on a range of agroprocessing activities in Africa I am retiring and intend to spend some of my time contracting / working / writing / thinking in and on Agribusiness.

Starting in this area in the late eighties in South Africa resulted in a focus on small rural business as a job creation tool. However lots of blisters later I think that what all the donor activity has missed are real entrepreneurs (dedicated risk takers who push themselves forward) supplying real (big enough to sustain a business) markets.