Stories written by Esther Ngumbi
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Tackling Recurring Hunger Crises at the Horn of Africa – Beginning with Somalia

The statistics are stark. The crisis is unprecedented. Yet again, according to the United Nations, famine looms in Somalia, with hundreds of thousands already facing starvation. In addition, droughts, and catastrophic hunger levels have left over 500,000 children malnourished and at risk of dying. This is already nearly 200,000 more than the 2011 famine. Urgent immediate actions must be taken now, both to address the crisis in the short-term and long-term.

Reimagining Urban Agriculture With Vertical Farming

Cities across the world including New Jersey and  California, a State that is home to a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry, have continued to experience climate change linked extreme events including scorching temperatures, extreme heat events, heavy storms and flooding with devastating impacts on agriculture, food security,  and  food systems.

Heat Waves and Agricultural Production: In the Race to Mitigate Extreme Heat, We Must not Forget Strengthening Agriculture

Across the U.S., and around the world, particularly Europe, heat records are being shattered. Accompanying these extreme temperatures are fires caused by the heat that are burning both homes and forests. While extreme heat is impacting some areas of the world, flooding is impacting other areas including Colorado and Virginia in the U.S., and in other countries around the world including Brazil and Ecuador.

Ending Hunger in America: Here’s What the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health Should Do to Be Inclusive

This September, the White House will convene a conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Leading up to the conference, the White House is organizing several virtual listening sessions across America to hear firsthand from people impacted by food insecurity and to collect ideas about how to end hunger and hunger-related diseases and disparities.

Soil Microbes Derived Products Could Be an Alternative to Expensive Agricultural Fertilizers

Around the world, commercial fertilizer prices are soaring, pushing farmers and countries into a frenzy. In addition, soaring fertilizer prices are sparking fears of inflation, food supply shortages and food insecurity. There are several reasons that have contributed to the rising fertilizer prices including the Russian-Ukrainian war and the global pandemic.

Earth Day is a Time to Reflect on What It Means to Invest in Our Planet

Around the world, Earth Day 2022 is being celebrated.  The theme this year is “Invest in Our Planet”. To mark the day, activities such as planting trees, protests, marches, cleaning up litter, and conferences will be held to highlight the importance of investing and taking care of our planet.

Here’s to the Newbies in Science Communication

In the spirit of science communication, I posted via twitter a video clip of a bee that had taken a little too much of pollen. It received over 30,000 views and had over 100,000 impressions. Over the years, before the pandemic, thanks to several science communication workshops and trainings about various ways to communicate science, I have continued to grow as a science communicator.

COP26 Discussions Must Prioritize Agriculture

Local, national and world leaders, and committed climate change activists are in Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to share the progress they’ve made since the COP21 in Paris six years ago and to discuss what comes next. One of the issues that must be on the table at COP26 is the worrying impact of climate change on agriculture in Africa.

Confronting a Worsening Climate

Across the United States, the last few months have brought along many climate-linked disasters. From surging wildfires in Hawaii to record-breaking Pacific Northwest heat waves to drought across the western states. The southwestern states also have seen heavy rains that resulted in flash flooding events.

To Reverse Food Insecurity Build a Climate Resilient Agricultural Sector

The number of people facing acute food insecurity has hit a five-year high, according to a recently released annual report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) - an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises. In addition, the report noted that 28 million people were one step away from starvation. This was attributed to conflict, economic shocks due to COVID-19 and climate change associated weather events.

Africa’s Worsening Climate: Here’s How the United States can Help Africa

Recently, I participated in a Congressional hearing on the “Effects of climate change in Africa”, before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and Internal Organizations, chaired by Congresswoman, Karen Bass.

To Effectively Combat Climate Change, Listen and Act on Ideas from the Youth

Recently, I participated in Kids Climate Summit 2021, a virtual event that gave younger students an opportunity to take a stance on climate change, express their concerns, and learn about global climate and the actions we all can take to mitigate climate change. 

Every Girl Can’t Be a Scientist Until We Make Big Changes

Over a month ago, the world celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. But the celebrations ring hollow when there’s still been no meaningful progress in the representation of women in the research sciences field.  At present, less than 30 percent, of scientific researchers worldwide are women, a percentage that has been the same for almost a decade.

Biden-Harris Administration Committed to Building Resilient Agricultural Supply Chains

The White House, under the Presidency of Joe Biden just released an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains stating the country needs to have resilient, diverse and secure supply chains to ensure economic prosperity and national security. Among the acknowledged threats that can reduce the resilience of America’s supply chains include climate change and extreme weather events.


Can the World Tackle the Food Insecurity Crisis in 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry, and this is expected to continue to increase. 


The Path to Global Food Security

This year, the Nobel Peace Prize recognised the inextricable link between hunger and conflict. With climate change as a further complicating factor, research, investment, and coordination with local farmers are critical for ensuring food security for all.

Restoring Ecosystems After Fire and Flooding: Forget Not the Beneficial Soil Microbes

Recent months have brought all sorts of climate-linked disasters, from raging wildfires in California and Oregon to flooding in Alabama. As we think of the incalculable losses that are associated with these extremities linked to the changing climate, I cannot help but think of the belowground web of life that is burning, being flooded and washed away, affected, or lost.

To Stay Ahead of the Next Insect Outbreak, Harness Available Data Intelligence

Recently, the UK contributed £17 million to support the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to continue their efforts to combat the desert locust surge in East Africa and improve early warning and forecasting systems.

Dealing with Food Insecurity, on a Longer Term

African countries are beginning to reopen borders, and this is finally enabling many citizens to resume their normal life. However, there is still an urgent need for African countries to prioritize agriculture to tackle food insecurity issues that have been exacerbated by COVID and will continue to be an issue into the near future. According to the latest estimates by the United Nations World Food Programme, COVID-19’s compounding effects could drive 270 million people into food insecurity.

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