Agriculture Becoming a Threat for Environment

Beyond the debate on the importance of agriculture for Africa’s growth and economic transformation, as well as the place of small farms; agriculture’s place for Africa’s development is well established. However, the practice of agriculture, whether at the level of small farms or large agricultural industries, contains methods and practices that tend to be real threats to the environment. This is the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growing methods etc. This is accentuated by agricultural policies seen through the prism of the economy, and the weak implementation of existing environmental protection policies that give reason to negative environmental impacts as narrated below.

       I.          The weak implementation of environmental protection measures in agriculture.

If agriculture is becoming a threat to  environment, it is due to the fact that it has been seen for African countries as the miracle solution to the problems of famine and undernourishment, beside which all other measures to make agriculture a sustainable activity are slow to take place. 

a.   Agriculture as a miracle solution to famine and undernourishment in Africa

After the great famine crisis of the 1900s facing African countries, the urgency was to find a “sustainable solution” to get out of the crisis quickly. This need for a solution in a short time and effectively has led African countries to focus on agricultural production and the development of means that can boost its growth without taking into account the various threats it could create if poorly framed. This is well see in the development of the Integrated Programme for the Development of Agriculture in Africa (PDDAA),created in june 2003 which  took into account only Two points: the high rates of economic growth predicted by NEPAD can only be achieved if agricultural production is significantly increased. Higher agricultural yields would help reduce hunger and lower the cost of food imports. It would also have broader economic benefits.

b.  The difficult implementation of environmental law related to agriculture domain.

 Environmental law is defined as the study or development of legal rules for understanding, protecting, using, managing or restoring the environment against ecological disturbance in all its forms. It is still considered by many legal professionals to be part of the “Soft Law” i.e. a non-binding right that merely makes recommendations.

Indeed, the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (CLRTAP) under the aegis of the United Nations signed on 17 November 1979 intended to provide a binding character in contrast to the other conventions that it had previously (the Declaration of Principles on the fight against air pollution, adopted by the Council of Europe on 8 March 1968, recommendations of the O.C.D.E. of 18 June 1974 and 14 November 1974 relating to sulphur oxide emissions and sulphur oxide emissions particles and various pollutants ) however, had no lasting effect as it allowed itself to be obscured by the expression “long distance” by allowing the sleight of hand to evade any responsibility of the polluter. A footnote accompanying Article 8 al.f of this convention on information exchange states that “this Convention does not contain a provision concerning the liability of States for damage”.

 In addition, The Rotterdam Convention, which opened for signatures on 10 September 1998, is an international convention initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This convention, offers the possibility for a country to decide which dangerous chemicals or pesticides they are willing to receive and to refuse those they are unable to safely manage. However, this measure, which is an advanced measure for developed countries, is becoming a threat to Africa, which is in danger of becoming a spillway for pesticides banned from Europe.  The report on the use and effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on African agriculture, published on Tuesday 12 November 2019 by the network of African Academies of Sciences (Nasac) present relevant cases related to it. Beside, most Africa countries faced problem of insufficient resources to frame the implementation of environmental decisions. In The African Journal of Environmental Law (RADE) published in 2014 , Professor Maurice KAMTO pointed out two mains reasons :the scattering and lack of coordination of national institutions in charge of environmental issues, on the one hand, and the inadequacy of human and financial resources to effectively carry out the missions devolved to these institutions, on the other.

   II.          The negatives impacts of agricultural practice on environement

The adverse effects of agricultural practices as observed today in Africa are visible in the atmosphere, soil and water.

c. At the level of air, soil and water.

To encourage plant growth and maximize harvests, farmers use nitrogen fertilizers en masse and apply heavy irrigation. The problem is that plants absorb only half of these fertilizers. The rest ends up in the atmosphere, soil and water, polluting our rivers and damaging aquatic biodiversity. Studies in the United Kingdom have estimated that between 50 and 60 kilograms of nitrogen are discharged per hectare per year! However, in recent years, numerous studies have shown that pollutants in the soil have a negative impact on the growth of vegetable crops by reducing their ability to capture and fix nitrogen, a process essential for good development and yield.

Also, ammonia by agricultural practices is a major cause of acid rain!  Yet, in both developed and developing countries, ammonia emissions from agriculture and livestock continue to rise. In a report entitled “the state of food security and nutrition in the world published by the FAO in 2017, concerning water pollution by agriculture, the figures are alarming:

– irrigation produces the largest amount of used water in the world (in the form of agricultural drainage); -from a global perspective, nearly 115 million tonnes of nitrogen mineral fertilizers are applied to crops each year. Nearly 20 per cent of these nitrogen inputs end up accumulating in soils and biomass, where 35 per cent of them enter the oceans; -worldwide, 4.6 million tonnes of chemical pesticides are sprayed into the environment each year; -developing countries account for 25 per cent of the world’s pesticide use in agriculture, but in these countries 99 per cent of pesticide deaths are recorded; -oxygen depletion (hypoxia), a human-caused phenomenon that is rooted in nutrient overabundance, affects an area equivalent to 240,000 km2 worldwide. This area consists of 70,000 km2 of inland water and 170,000 km2 of coastal areas; -worldwide, 24 per cent of irrigated areas would be affected by salinization

d. The dangers of agricultural practices on burns and the informal supply of pesticides.

In its 2017 report, FAO shows that damage from slash-and-burn crops generates high air pollution, making agriculture responsible for nearly 35% of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the management of pesticide packaging used by farmers is a major source of pollution. A study conducted by Norbert Ngameni Tchamadeu et al on the theme: “Assessing the environmental risk factors associated with the misuse of pesticides by market gardeners in Cameroon: the case of Balessing in Western Cameroon” published on Afrique Science Webside in 2019, showed that 37 percent of the waste from pesticide packaging is incinerated causing air pollution as shown in table 1.

Table 1: Becoming of empty packages of pepticides.

In a study of one hundred and twenty (120) cotton producers in Benin by Soule Akinhola and al (2015). Under the theme “Farmers’ pesticide management practices on maize and cotton in the Benin cotton basin” published on the VERTIGO website ; have found that pesticides from the informal circuit are essentially those that are not allowed (94% for herbicides and 22% for insecticides). See table 2 below for details.

Table 2. The supply channels for listed pesticides / Sources of supply of pesticides.

Circuits Formel (%) Informel (%) Formel et informel (%) Total (%)
Autorisé 53,6 23,0 23,4 100,0
Herbicide         Non autorisé 3,1 93,9 3,1 100,0
Total 27,2 60,0 12,8 100,0
Autorisé 93,3 1,8 4,9 100,0
Insecticide Non autorisé 65,6 21,5 12,9 100,0
Total 83,2 9,0 7,8 100,0

In conclusion we can say that agricultural practice as practiced in the world constitute one of the main sources of environmental pollution. They finds its reasons in the laws non-binding and more or less favorable to a certain category of countries. The difficult implementation of measures for sustainable pesticide management and their use by African governments make agricultural activity a source of pollution for Africa. In addition to artisanal methods (farming on burn and artisanal manufacturing of pesticides and herbicides) and the proliferation of informal means to inquire  unauthorized pesticides and herbicides, increases the risk of pollution. Faced with this, Africa should in its vision to create sustainable agriculture, find a way to block the path to all the practices that today tend to transform agriculture into an environmental enemie



The African Innovation Brokers learning activity is part of the Emerging African Innovation Leaders Program and addresses a group of African innovation leaders who are expected to spur the transition to the Next Production Revolution (NPR) in their countries.

It is organised in different sessions with different teaching mix.

The sessions are distributed along 12 months. They comprise:

  • learning activities such as in-presence training in Milan (Italy) and online training (via MOOCs), covering several topics ranging from digitalization, to sustainable energy solutions and smart mobility;
  • exposure to Italian and European innovation system (experts and innovative firms and institutions);
  • hands-on project activities and project works focused on designing local NPR innovation action, supported by expert mentors from different backgrounds.

The project is sponsored by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation AICS.

Early bird deadline for application with priority selection: 20th of July 2018 before 3:00 PM (CET).
Final deadline for application: 26th of July 2018 before 12:00 PM (CET).


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What we look for

The candidate profile of the Emerging Innovation Leaders should have:

  • personal experiences and motivation on Innovation
  • academical background in scientific or business field
  • willing to extend knowledge about the NPR
  • motivated to engage in team working
  • leadership attitude
  • excellent communications skills
  • capacity to understand English effectively
  • priority selection will be given to national citizens of Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mozambique


  • In-presence training and exposure: September 26th– October 26th
  • Project work | Online workgroup: October – December 2018
  • Project work | In-presence training (2 weeks): December 2018 (indicative period)
  • Training of National Innovation Leaders: Spring 2019 (indicative period)
  • Online training (MOOCs) November 2018 – September 2019 (indicative period)


Participants will receive a certificate of attendance from Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino at the end of the project. To receive this certificate, participants have to be present at almost all of the sessions over the training courses.


The in-presence training courses (5 weeks) and the revision and refinement of the project work (2 weeks) will be held at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, A – 20156 Milan

Application Procedure

An early bird deadline for application will be the 20th of July 2018 before 3:00 PM (CET) with priority selection. A final deadline for application will be 26th of July 2018 before 12:00 PM (CET). Kindly prepare your necessary documents (refer to Terms of Reference) and, kindly send them to All participants are invited to send the application with the requested information as soon as possible.

Scholarship for covering the costs of the in-presence activities (fees, travels, accommodation and food) is provided by the Emerging African Innovation Leaders project.

For any information you may contact

Project Partners

Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino are two of the leading Italian technical universities working at both national and International levels and providing services in the field of education, research and technological transfer.

They offer innovative programmes in the field of architecture, design and engineering.



Blog Publications

Local initiatives: Biography of a young entrepreneur in renewable energy

Jean Mathieu NYOBE (1983 – )
CEO of MAGE Solar

Jean Mathieu Nyobe was born in 1983 in Paris (France).

Being a young job seeker on the Cameroonian market, he has worked for several companies involved in the operationalization of technological tools. This exposed him to the manipulation of a technology that led him on the path of voltaic. After several readings and subscriptions to Youtube channels focused on the voltaic, Jean Matthieu Nyobe was not hesitant about collecting factory parts at hand to design not only models of voltaic plates but also samples. He explains it in these terms: “I found it to be a very simple technology and the most affordable of all renewable energy technologies”. Being a Baccalaureate D holder, he went in to be a graduate of SRH Berlin.

SHR Berlin Dissertation

A passion is born

Despite this spark, the lack of capital and mentors in the field of operations has hindered  Jean Matthieu Nyobe’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. This young enthusiast overcame these obstacles by obtaining partnerships with companies that provided him with quality equipment. According to Jean Matthieu, the realization of these partnerships is a divine grace; because it is rare in his environment to meet people who are open to give young entrepreneurs a chance. This is a risk that his partners were willing to take and he expresses his gratitude. These partners include Felicity Solar, Ets ZOBEL, Ets MbockSam, AMTECH SARL,  G-TECH, YOUSSE & PARTNERS.

After a resolute outshow of perseverance and recklessness, Jean Matthieu and his team officialized their company on March 12, 2019 under the name of MAGE Solar after several years of operationality in the informal sector.

Mage Solar’s Logo

To date, MAGE Solar has carried out multiple solar installations in the Central, Eastern, Littoral and Southern regions of Cameroon. They have recently made installations in the cities of Bamenda, Banyo, Sangmelima and Yagoua. A little over a month ago, they won a public contract launched by the Mayor of Makak in an Open National Call for Tenders for an amount of 45,000,000 CFA francs, which consists of the construction of a solar system at the Makak City Hall and the installation of 26 solar street lights all around the city. The young company is at the starting blocks for the implementation of this project.

CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team
CEO on the field with his team

The young company is planning in the next 10 – 20 years to become a large company that will have branches in the sub-region and will offer many jobs to Africans. They plan to be involved in structuring projects focused on  access to energy in Cameroon and across the African continent. Their target is to implement solutions that will ensure to all or at least almost all people living in rural areas, access to electricity. 

Motivations and values

Stating his motivation, Jean Matthieu says “ I have in image my fellow citizens with access to solar energy; with a main goal of improving the living standard of citizens, especially those living in rural areas where electricity needs are very high; once you have access to energy, the rest follows, internet, TV, information, communication,…etc.”.  Considering that energy is  one of the greatest challenges for Cameroon and Africa, his passion is to contribute to making development a reality on a sustainable format.

CEO on the field with his team

Setting the path of the next generation

Jean Matthieu sees in the tropical climate (sun shine) a source of wealth and potentialities offered by God to Africans to enjoy and be safe from suffering.  he says “We should just take advantage of it”.

According to Jean Matthieu, starting from scratch and reaching to the level where they are today is a divine grace coupled to the showcase of their professionalism, diligence and self-denial. The latter considers that he thus has the responsibility to show to the youngest generation that you don’t need to have all the conditions met to start. You can start with the little you have at hand; also he has at heart to share his passion about being an entrepreneur. He says every youth “must firstly have a vision and set clear and reasonable objectives and then pursue them because man has infinite potential. Young Africans and particularly Cameroonians are in need of guidance, I deeply believe that the testimony of my experience could inspire many people”. When Jean Matthieu is asked to present himself in a few words, here is his statement: “When I make an assessment of my weaknesses and strengths, I come to the conclusion that it is in my  faith in Christ Jesus that I draw my identity, courage, strength and inspiration of ideas and strategies” . 


Nigeria’s bumpy road to renewable energy solutions

By Kingsley Jeremiah

Nigeria has been struggling to provide electricity for its fast growing population. In 2013, the country privatised its power sector hoping to upturn the despondent nature of the sector.

The Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 unbundled the national power company into a series of 18 successor companies: six generation companies and 12 distribution companies covering all the 36 states while government is still in charge of transmission.

Bureau of Public Enterprises had stated that at takeover date in November 2013, available power generation capacity in Nigeria was 4, 500. It currently stands at around 7,000. Installed generation capacity stands at 13496MW as against 12500 Mega Watts (MW) at take over. In December last year, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said the country’s transmission capacity has increased to 8, 100 MW from 5, 000 MW three years ago.

However, statistic from the market operators indicated that only about 4000MW gets to the consumer. Despite the epileptic supply, the continuous collapse of the national electricity grid has severally thrown the country into darkness.

Demand for electricity hovers around 98,000MW in Nigeria. With current output, there is allegedly shortfall, standing at around 93 000MW.

The prevailing situation, to most stakeholders creates opportunity for renewable options, especially as a more sustainable electricity source.

Renewable energy comes from sources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale, especially wind, geothermal heat, sunlight, rain, tides, waves and others. For a country with looming environmental challenges, focusing on renewable wont only contribute significantly to off-grip solutions but reduce climate change challenges.

The International Renewable Energy Agency noted that West African region has a vast renewable energy potential sufficient to cover unmet power demand and achieve universal access to electricity while supporting the region’s transition to a low-carbon growth path.

Nigeria reportedly has a yearly average sunshine of about 6.25 h, ranging from 3.5 h at the coastal regions to 9.0 h at the north while the mean daily solar radiation is about 5.25 kWh/m 2 per day, ranging from 3.5 kW/m 2 per day at coastal zones to 7.0 kWh/m 2 per day at the north.

Since the challenge of access to electricity is concentrated more in the rural community, renewable serves as a better means to reach undeserved users, living in rural communities, which are located quite far off the nearest connection to the national grid. This will enable the country meet up with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals on providing power for all.

Saleh Mamman, Nigeria’s Minister for Power had said government intends to use distributed power generation with locally available resource such as solar to achieve the upscale the situation in the country.

“Our being here today, reflects a deliberate demonstration of the importance both the state and Federal Government attached to the provision of electricity in remote and underserved communities across the country,’’ the minister said.

Currently, the Nigeria has developed the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP), which set out various policies and programmes for the deployment of renewable energy technologies in the country.

If the plan is implemented, NREEEP aims to boost short term generation from renewable to hit 5, 15, 117 MW of biomass, wind, and solar (PV and CSP) electricity respectively. Medium term (2020)- 57, 632, 1343 MW of biomass, wind, and solar (PV and CSP) electricity respectively and, Long term (2030)- 292, 3211, 6832 MW of biomass, wind, and solar (PV and CSP) electricity respectively

But current reality showed clear indications that the plan may remain elusive due to prevailing challenges, which include attracting investment into the sector, technical know-how, inconsistent and poor implementation of policies and other issues.

With increasing donor funding going into the sector in Nigeria, most industry players were of the opinion that there was need to address issues related to realising vision of a competent renewable blueprint, provide an integrated and scientific approach to the energy value chain, especially taking into account the interdependencies and synergies in the energy sub-sectors as well as political will to deliberately prioritize renewable energy.

It is critical to know that investment into renewable energy has been on the increase in Nigeria as most international donors appear to be interested in channeling resources to renewable energy instead of conventional sources. There are equally few power companies that are looking in this direction. However, this efforts must be sustained and drastically increased to drive projected economic development in the country.


Energy Systems Transformation for Climate Change Mitigation: the flip side

source: itv hub

The forces of innovation that have hit the energy industry in the past few decades have impacted profoundly, the demand and generation of energy1. These innovations have been prompted and driven by new styles of architectural and urban planning; new forms of transport; economic boom; and most recently, the increasing environmental and social prices of fossil fuels1. Many of the environmental and social challenges have been associated with the conventional energy systems. The global conventional energy systems have over the years, progressed through a complex mix of the durability of infrastructure; information technology development; the rate of growth of the global population; recent global economic crisis2; and the changing climate. It is important to note that the melting of sea ice also impacts the cost and availability of fossil fuels. Where these impacts are experienced, increased use of fossil fuels and subsequent increase in greenhouse gas emissions are expected. Thus, in spite of the call for decarbonisation of energy systems for climate change mitigation, the conventional energy systems have continued to expand.

The decarbonisation of the energy system has been continually undermined by the impact of climate change on the cost and security of energy. Variations in climatic parameters and severe weather episodes affect the demand and supply components of energy systems3. Heating and cooling demand distribution is changing due to rising temperatures while the supply of cleaner energy is threatened by climatic variations and severe weather episodes. Threats from the changing climate include variability in the averages of wind, solar and hydropower resources and the cultivation of bioenergy crops. Technology downtime due to severe weather episodes is also another threat to energy system decarbonisation. Other threats include threats to the efficiency of Photovoltaic (PV) panels, thermo-electric power plants and transmission lines from rising global temperatures4.

While decarbonisation of energy systems is important in climate change mitigation and adaptation, climate change impacts on energy systems should be considered in energy transformation models and pathways. To encourage the incorporation of climate change impact studies in energy system model assessments, the type, course and degree of impacts on all elements of the energy systems in every region of the world, should be covered and agreed upon in literature. This is imperative because climate change threats, as well as the pliancy of mitigation and adaptation techniques vary greatly across regions. Furthermore, disagreements between studies can impair research on feasibility and implications of energy systems development and transformation. For example, projections on the impact of rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns on hydropower resource and generation have been conflicting. On hydropower resource potential, some reports predict very little impact5,6 while some others predict a decrease of up to 6.1 % by 20807. Similarly, even though solar resource has been projected to increase in low –– mid-latitude areas8, regional researches predict only about 10 % changes in solar energy generation by the 2090s8. This has been attributed to the equalizing negative impact of rising temperatures on the efficiency of PV panels and transmission lines.

While impact studies are dependent upon the climate projections data and impact model assumptions employed, further impact studies have become imperative for the comprehensive examination of climate change mitigation and adaptation options. This is especially for renewable resources. It is also particularly necessary for these studies to knuckle down on climate change impacts on elements of the energy system in developing countries for effective global representation.


  1. World Economic forum. 2018. Transformation of the global energy system.
  2. Dangerman A. T. C. J. and Schellnhuber H. J. 2012. Energy systems transformation.
  3. Field C. B. 2014. Technical summary. Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Technical Summary.
  4. Ebinger J. and Vergara W. 2011. Climate impacts on energy systems: key issues for energy sector adaptation. World Bank.
  5. Hamududu B. and Killingtveit A. 2012. Assessing climate change impacts on global hydropower. Energies 5(2):305–322.
  6. Turner S. W. D., Yi J. and Galelli S. 2017. Examining global electricity supply vulnerability to climate change using a high-fidelity hydropower dam model. Science Total Environment 591:663–675
  7. van Vliet M. T. H. 2016. Power-generation system vulnerability and adaptation to changes in climate and water resources. National Climate Change
  8. Patt A., Pfenninger S. and Lilliestam J. 2013. Vulnerability of solar energy infrastructure and output to climate change. Climate Change 121:93–102


A new mind-set pattern for Sustainable development

According to the Brundtland report, “Sustainable development is a mode of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This concept was introduced to the world by Gro Harlem Brundtland in 1987. Since then, this concept  has been adopted in several variations by different stakeholder groups. Among these are the environmentalist approach that puts human needs in the background; the ecological or systemic approach which states an interdependence between the environment, society and the economy; the technoscientific approach which focuses on the development and dissemination of knowledge; the policy approach which focuses on incorporating sustainable development into decision-making processes of public administrations; the humanist approach which considers exclusively the well-being of the human being. Karl Marx defines the human society as essentially based on the superstructure that is the economy. According to the latter, all social interactions are economy based. This logic is also perceived in the above-mentioned variations of sustainable development. Rockström confirms this observation by stating that sustainable development is a strategy contributing to the exclusive growth of the economy sector while offering a reduction of harmful impacts on the environment. In such a context, the human person is perceived as a means to the end of a clean environment. The fallout from this logic has proven to be more harmful than beneficial. Inter alia, the spread of an indecent work system that violates human dignity.

Figure 1: The three pillars of Sustainable Development

Jeffrey Sachs states the need to support the realization of sustainable development on values that place the human person at the centre of all logic and not as a means to achieve the goal of economic growth or nature preservation. This thought directly aligns  with that of Max Weber. According to the latter, ideas and beliefs can be the foundation of the superstructure that is the economy, hence the need to grant human rights based values a greater consideration.  Rockström states that humanity has entered the era of the Anthropocene, where it is now a matter of evolving from a perception of sustainable development as a concept consisting of three pillars: social, economic and ecological (Figure 1) towards a more inclusive and integrated perception involving economic growth by human development within a framework operating inside  the limits set by nature (Figure 2). This then guarantees the resilience of the globe in the face of climate change.

Figure 2 : A new mind-set pattern for Sustainable development

This perception of sustainable development sets out a new mind-set pattern. The approach proposed is characterized by information, consultation, participation and responsibility. Polls, discussions and negotiations before decision-making with residents, associations and local economic actors is at the heart of the consultation process. This is in accordance with the Convention of Aarhus of June, 25th 1998, which entered into force on October, 30th 2001. 

It is all about a transversal right that focuses on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. It is in full awareness of this reasoning that the logics are constructed with a view to reversing the current trend of public policies relating to sustainable development issues. This state of affairs is illustrated by, among other things, the dynamics of climate protests on a global scale. On September 24th 2019, sixteen young activists for the protection and preservation of the environment filed a complaint against five States: Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Germany and France. The complaint was filed with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on charges of failing to guarantee the rights of future generations.


Vermiculture and Urban Waste Vermi-Composting; A Potential Climate Smart Agricultural Practice in Uganda

 The Ugandan population is currently growing at
3.3 percent (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2016). There is thus a need to
produce more food for the growing population with minimal damage to the
environment (World Bank, 2018). However, soil fertility and climatic patterns
are deteriorating (Semalulu & Kayuki, 2015). There is a possibility to
improve soil fertility sustainably through the application of compost (Asare
& David, 2011). This is cheaper because municipalities and cities are
grappling with excess waste which can be turned into compost manure. 

Municipal waste is becoming a menace
to many urban establishments (NEMA, 2016). The processing of urban waste can be
an affordable source of soil nutrients and yet relieve urban authorities of
this ‘waste burden.’ Urban waste may be processed and used on agricultural land
where they have a significant fertilizer value (Abulsoud & Hadid, 2015).
The municipalities of Uganda generate a lot of waste but garbage collection and
transportation to dumping sites is poorly managed and ineffective. Some
dumpsites are inappropriately located, and these merely cause further adverse
effects to the surrounding environment and ultimately to human health (NEMA,
2016). The poorly managed organic waste may, for example, generate greenhouse
gases that may contribute to climate change.

The World Bank provided US$ 350,000
to Uganda for the development of modern technology to treat urban waste and
turn it into compost manure (World Bank Group, 2019). This technology was only
implemented in a few municipalities owing to its complexity. The National Environment
Management Authority (NEMA) is also building the capacity of nine municipal
councils to manage solid waste as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
into the atmosphere and provide farmers with a cheaper and eco-friendlier
compost fertilizer (NEMA, 2017). In many cases, the degradation of the waste
materials is achieved by beneficial micro-organisms that require huge
technological investment. There is a need to devise a cheaper technique e.g.
use of earthworms for biodegradation.

Culturing red earthworms (Eisenia fetida) is one cheaper option to
have enough worms for municipal waste biodegradation and this has been studied
in some parts of the world (Domínguez, Aira, & Gómez-Brandón, 2010; Singh,
2014).  E. fetida (alias compost worm, manure worm or red wiggler) is the
commonest worm type used for vermicomposting. Vermicomposting means using
earthworms to convert organic manure into vermicompost, humus – like material.
This is preceded by vermiculture that refers to raising (multiplying) earthworms
to increase their number. Vermiculture and research on red worms are already
happening mainly at the following universities in Uganda; Ndeje, Makerere and
African Rural University (ARU, 2019).

The red worms start producing at two
months and live up to one or two years. There are over 7,000 worm species
however, E. fetida is the most
suitable for compositing. The earthworms decompose organic manure, cycle, and
recycle nutrients to increase crop yield, improve soil structure, eject casts
which are growth media for micro-organisms and are also medicinal. There are
six things to care about when rearing earthworms i.e.; bedding material, food
source, moisture content, adequate aeration, protection from temperature
extremes, and protection from predators.

The vermiculture and vermicomposting
technology has lots of potentials to address the urban waste menace and soil
fertility challenges in Uganda and generally in Africa. It is a relatively
cheaper and environmentally friendly technology of mitigating pollution and
other waste related challenges. A lot needs to be done to develop the capacity
for this technology to increase its success rate globally.


The Peculiarities of Africa’s Biomass Potential

Africa is one of the fastest growing continents in the world1 with the highest bioenergy potential (agricultural residues and bioenergy crops)2. About 47 % of the sub-Saharan African population however, still live on less than $1.25 a day and about 43 %  of Africans  have no access to electricity and clean cooking options. The role of bioenergy in energy security is especially important in sub-Saharan Africa where a majority of the population depends on agriculture and its products for survival.

With an estimated total cereal production of about 140 Mt, and assuming a cereal to residue ratio of 1:0, contributions to Africa’s biomass resource potential is about 140 Mt of stalks and husks3. Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa have been identified as top cereal producing countries in Africa. Apart from agricultural residues, Africa has many biomass generating options for bioenergy production. These include Sugarcane (bioethanol yield capacity of 4000 l/ha), cassava (bioethanol yield capacity of 1750 l/ha), oil palm (biodiesel yield capacity of about 3000 l/ha) and Jatropha (biodiesel yield capacity of 2200 l/ha).4

Estimates of biomass resource across Africa also reveal 650 million hectares (Mha) of forest cover though unevenly distributed5. The northern region of Africa has the lowest percentage of forest cover amounting to about 8.6 % 5 of the total African forest cover. The western and central regions of Africa take up about 280 Mha5 (about 44 %) while the eastern and southern regions have about 28 % of the total forest cover5. It is however interesting to note that Northern Africa, though low in forest reserve, have higher fossil fuel reserves. Another major source of biomass resource in Africa is the industrial wood production process. About 0.94 ton of fuel wood is produced from every ton of total industrial round wood production process.8 Fuel wood production from areas with forest cover and areas without forest cover has been estimated to be 1.93 m3/ha/year.6 Process byproducts such as sawdust, lop and tops and off-cuts are also available from the production process and have also been estimated to be about 1000 Mt annually6.

However, small scale productions of energy from biomass have been reported to fluctuate depending on biomass price and availability. Similarly, large scale production units do not have adequate feedstock supply despite claims of large biomass cultivations and potentials. In addition to these, only subsistence/marginal farmers are available to meet the bioenergy markets created by the several biofuel/fossil fuel blending mandates/proposals put forward by several African countries. Nigeria and Kenya have an E10 petrol blend target in place; Malawi has an E10 petrol blending mandate; Mozambique has a 10% and 5% blending mandate for petrol and diesel respectively; Ghana proposed 10-20% biofuel consumption by 2030; Mali proposed 10-20% biodiesel (from Jattopha) consumption by 2018; and Uganda proposed a 20% petrol blend.

Land for biomass generation is not a challenge in Africa and biomass conversion technology options are within reach. Potential land area available for cultivation in Africa is estimated to be 700 million hectares7. First generation biofuel production technologies are also fully developed and are applicable to both small and large-scale production levels. Though the marketability of these technologies is dependent upon cost-effectiveness and policies, a few African countries have several biofuel promotion policies in place. Similarly, electricity production technologies from biomass is not uncommon as large scale biomass electricity generation have been reported in Mauritius and small scale generation reported in Mali, Burkina Fasso and Senegal amongst others. Gel fuel is also in use in South Africa and Jatropha oil stoves are being developed.

Large investments have been made into biomass resource estimation and potential biomass generation with little corresponding investments in actual energy production from the biomass resources. Since little or no remote benefits have been attributed to this resource, can Africa’s biomass resource potential then be regarded as ‘special’?


1-United Nations: The millennium development goals report 2012

2-International Energy Agency, World energy outlook, Paris, 2011

3- CGPL 2011. Combustion, gasification and propulsion laboratory.

4- Sielhorst et al. 2008. Biofuels in Africa: An assessment of risks and benefits for African wetlands.;

5- FAO. 2005. Global forest resources assessment.

6- Amous S. 1999. The role of wood energy in Africa, FAO

7-FAO, 2009. Harmonised world soil database

8- Dassapa S. 2011. Potential of biomass energy for electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa. Energy for Sustainable Development 15:203–213


Écotourisime Facteaur de Croissance Économique et Pilier du Developpement Durable

source :

1-  Contexte et Justification

Le concept de « développement durable » a toujours été pour les chercheurs un paradigme dont il faut trouver les outils pour l’implémenter en  conciliant le développement socio-économique et la protection de l’environnement. Prenant son origine du rapport Bruntland en 1987, sans oublier le Sommet de la Terre à Rio et, plus récemment, le Sommet de Johannesburg, le développement durable reste une notion plus ou moins divergente auprès de l’opinion populaire que parmi les scientifiques ceci rendu visible par le nombre élevé de définitions existantes dû à la nature même de ce vocable « développement et durabilité » qui interpelle et intervient dans plusieurs disciplines. Mais ce qu’il convient de retenir est que,  la prise en compte de l’environnement dans les questions de développement durable oblige à explorer d’autres champs d’activités jusque-là tenus pour marginaux. ” Une chose est absolument certaine : dans aucun pays, encore moins sur la planète entière, l’évolution contemporaine de la civilisation humaine n’a un caractère durable. Ainsi, l’idée du développement durable est un défi, un appel urgent à l’exploration de voies qui nous permettraient d’y parvenir ” (Moldan, 1996; 72). Parmi la panoplie d’outils proposés afin d’évoluer vers un développement durable de nos sociétés, il y en a un qui retient maintenant l’attention : l’écotourisme.

Depuis le début des années 1970, le tourisme est l’industrie qui connaît la plus forte croissance à l’échelle de la planète (Boo, 1990). Mais avec l’exigence environnemental et le désir de conserver pour les générations futures comme le dit Sylvie BRUNEL dans son ouvrage (qu’est-ce que le développement durable? 2004, PUF) l’écotourisme apparaît comme une solution miracle capable de concilier le développement économique, la protection de l’environnement et le bien-être des communautés.” Autour du monde, l’écotourisme a été acclamé comme une panacée : une façon de financer la conservation et la recherche scientifique, de protéger les écosystèmes vierges et fragiles, de bénéficier aux communautés rurales, de promouvoir le développement dans les pays pauvres, de renforcer la sensibilité écologique et culturelle, d’insuffler une conscience sociale et environnementale à l’industrie touristique, de satisfaire et d’éduquer les touristes et même, d’après certains, de bâtir la paix mondiale ” (Honey, 1999). Cependant, si le développement durable au travers de l’écotourisme est apprécié, il faut reconnaître que dans les pays en voie de développement en général plus particulièrement les pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, il est loin d’être considéré pourtant il reste une solution appropriée permettant de concilier croissance  économique et  durabilité qui doit s’allier à leurs volontés de  développement pendant cette ère de prise de conscience des réalités de préserver l’écosystème. Pour comprendre cela, il est important de présenter en quoi écotourisme est un facteur de croissance économique bien mieux que le tourisme d’une part et en quoi il est un pilier qui intègre mieux la durabilité du développement.

2-  Écotourisme: facteur de croissance économique.

   Le tourisme est la première industrie planétaire devant l’automobile et l’aéronautique  (Pierre P., 2002). Le tourisme a montré ses limites dans la mesure où elle met l’accent prioritairement sur la rentabilité économique de ce que Walter H. et Kurt K. (1942),  définit comme « l’ensemble des relations et des faits constitués par les déplacements et le séjour de personnes hors de leurs lieux de résidence habituelle, pour autant que ce séjour et ce déplacement ne soient pas motivés par une activité lucrative quelconque » .L’organisation Mondial du Tourisme définit l’écotourisme comme « toutes les formes de tourisme axées sur la nature et dans lesquelles la principale motivation est d’observer et d’apprécier la nature ainsi que les cultures traditionnelles qui règnent dans les zones naturelles. » La solution de l’écotourisme vient palier aux manquements du tourisme en attirant l’attention sur le bien être des communautés locales mais aussi sur la maintien le plus possible d’un environnement naturel dans son état initial. S’inscrivant dans ce courant, les participants au premier Sommet mondial de l’écotourisme, qui s’est tenu à Québec en 2002, ont reconnu que l’écotourisme englobe les principes du tourisme durable en ce qui concerne les impacts de cette activité sur l’économie, la société et l’environnement. En outre, il comprend les principes particuliers suivants qui le distinguent de la notion plus large de tourisme durable (Organisation mondiale du tourisme (OMT) et Programme des Nations Unies pour l’environnement (PNUE), 2002) :

Ø  L’écotourisme contribue activement à la protection du patrimoine naturel et culturel;

Ø  L’écotourisme inclut les communautés locales et indigènes dans sa planification, son développement et son exploitation et contribue à leur bien-être;

Ø   l’écotourisme propose aux visiteurs une interprétation du patrimoine naturel et culturel;

Ø  l’écotourisme se prête mieux à la pratique du voyage individuel ainsi qu’aux voyages organisés pour de petits groupes.

Sur le plan économique les avantages sont nombreux :

Effets économiques
Avantages directs Revenus directs des écotouristes.Création d’emplois directs.Fort potentiel de liens avec d’autres secteurs de l’économie locale.Stimulation de l’économie périphérique. Coûts directs Coûts de démarrage (acquisition de terrain, établissement d’aires protégées, superstructures, infrastructures). Dépenses permanentes (entretien des infrastructures, promotion, salaires).
Avantages indirects Revenus indirects des écotouristes (effet multiplicateur élevé). Propension des écotouristes à fréquenter des attractions culturelles et patrimoniales comme « compléments ». Avantages économiques d’une utilisation durable des aires protégées (industrie pharmaceutique, recherche) et des phénomènes naturels (ex. : maîtrise des crues) Coûts indirects Incertitude des revenus dû à la nature in situ de la consommation.Perte de revenus en raison des importations, de la participation d’étrangers ou de non-locaux, etc.Coûts de substitution.Cultures endommagées par la faune.

Source : traduction libre de Sarrasin (2002), à partir de Weaver (1998).

Au Cameroun, la prise en compte de l’écotourisme génèrerait plus d’emplois. Le tableau ci dessous présente les types d’aires protégées actuelles au Cameroun.

L’opportunités d’emplois d’un site écotouristique d’un espace protégé mentionné sur le tableau ci-dessus  peuvent être classées selon deux catégories : emploi direct et emploi indirect.

            Emplois directs :

Ø  Experts pluridisciplinaires: étude de faisabilité avec ou sans TDR (Terme de Référence) pour l’aménagement;

Ø  Ingénieurs pluridisciplinaires: études géotechniques;

Ø  Techniciens pluridisciplinaires: travaux de réalisation;

Ø  Cadres et personnels de gestion: fonctionnement du site.

Soit en moyenne 883 emplois directs dans 16 sites.

 Emplois indirects :

Ø  Transports

Ø  Guidages – portages

Ø  Activités génératrices de revenus (artisanat, produits agricoles, petite restauration…)

De façon plus concise, Blamey (1997, 2001) avance qu’une analyse des définitions nous amène à considérer trois dimensions qui constituent l’essence même du concept d’écotourisme :

Ø   Préservation de  la nature;

Ø  Préservation de l’éducation culturelle;

Ø  Prise en compte de la durabilité.

C’est principalement de ces dimensions que nous allons discuter dans le point suivant.

3-      Écotourisme :pilier du développement durable

L’écotourisme est un pilier du développement durable en ce qu’il intègre trois dimensions : préservation de la nature, la conservation des valeurs culturelle et par ricochet de  l’éducation et enfin sa capacité à transcender le temps et demeurer actuel d’où sa durabilité.

Ø  L’écotourisme préserve la nature

Bien que l’écotourisme axé sur la nature semble de prime abord facilement identifiable, la question suivante mérite d’être posée : qu’est-ce qui constitue une expérience axée sur la nature? Est-ce qu’il s’agit de la traversée en automobile d’une vallée boisée? Ou bien le conducteur doit s’arrêter pour se mettre à la marche à  travers les arbres et les fougères? Et si t’elle est le cas, quelle doit en être la durée? Est-ce qu’un environnement grandement modifié par l’Homme peut tout de même être qualifié de lieu écotouristique en considérant que tous les autres principes soient respectés ?(Blamey, 2001) Est-ce qu’une marche dans une plantation d’arbres ou une expédition en canot sur un lac artificiel constituent une expérience axée sur la nature? La question de la proximité est souvent soulevée lorsque vient le temps de considérer si une expérience touristique impliquant un élément naturel peut être considéré comme telle écotouristique. La réponse se trouve dans la capacité de l’Homme à maintenir le milieu naturel dans son état premier le plus possible. C’est cet élément qui fait  du déplacement à pied dans un site écotouristique comme le mieux adapté et l’exclusion des espaces artificiels. Cependant il faut reconnaître que l’écotourisme axé sur la nature ne pourra pas éviter la subjectivité et toute définition de ce concept comportera une composante arbitraire.

Ø  L’écotourisme préserve l’éducative culturelle.

Il est important de mentionner qu’il s’agit de l’éducation dans son sens le plus large englobant l’apprentissage et l’interprétation. Parce que chaque communauté est tributaire de son histoire, la préservation d’un espace de vie dans son état initial permet de préserver les valeurs des communautés qui se transmettent de façon orale ou par la pratique aux générations futures. Ceci est  un processus naturel qui survient tout au long d’une vie, la plupart du temps de façon fortuite. Aussi, l’éducation implique un processus conscient, planifié, séquentiel et systématique basé sur des objectifs définis et utilisant des procédures d’apprentissage spécifiques (Kalinowski et Weiler, 1992). Pour sa part, l’interprétation est une activité éducative qui vise à comprendre le monde et les relations entre ses différents éléments par l’utilisation d’objets originaux, l’expérience pratique et l’utilisation de matériel illustré, plutôt que de communiquer simplement de l’information factuelle (Tilden, 1977 cité dans Moscardo, 1998). Ainsi  c’est l’éducation prise dans sa globalité qui sert d’éléments clés et de caractéristique à l’écotourisme.

Ø  L’écotourisme s’inscrit dans la durabilité.

Nous considérons deux éléments liés à la durabilité de l’écotourisme : l’apport à l’économie locale et le support à la conservation (Blamey, 2001). Ici nous estimons que si les communautés locales bénéficient de façon suffisante des revenus générés de l’écotourisme et qu’aussi  l’écotourisme participe activement à la conservation du milieu naturel, nous nous dirigeons fort probablement vers la durabilité. Le problème de déterminer si oui ou non tel projet écotouristique adhère au développement durable reste dans sa capacité à impliquer les communautés locales dans les actions et de fédérer celles-ci dans une vision participative.

4-  Conclusion

Le tourisme industriel considéré comme un domaine favorisant les revenus économiques au niveau international et la prise de conscience des populations mondiales à la conservation et au respect du milieu naturel; a su se faire un nom depuis la fin des années 1980. L’écotourisme résout la défaillance du tourisme et s’inscrit dans la logique du  développement durable. Il est donc une aubaine à saisir pour les pays d’Afrique encore riches de patrimoine naturel. Avec l’écotourisme, chaque communauté locale se voit reprendre possession de ses traditions et le contrôle sur son avenir. Le gouvernement bénéficie d’une partie des gains financiers tout en répondant à son désir profond d’adhérer aux principes d’un développement durable. Pour que ces objectifs deviennent réalité, il faudra multiplier les efforts de consultation et de recherche afin de dissiper l’épais brouillard dans lequel baigne toujours l’écotourisme. Malgré les doutes et les remises en question qui secouent aujourd’hui ce domaine de recherche, l’écotourisme demeure une piste riche à explorer afin de concilier le développement socioéconomique de nos sociétés et la protection de l’environnement.


The Parallelism of Eco-efficiency and Profitability in Companies

A company that integrates sustainable development principles to its strategy and operations sets goals to maintain a continuous friendly system that promotes progressive societal and environmental values, while involving internal and external stakeholders. Eco-efficiency is considered an economic and environmental concept that goes in line with the spirit of sustainable development. It was developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), having been presented by Stefan Schidheiny in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. Its purpose is to produce quality and at the same time, reduce negative impacts of production on the environment.

The philosophy of eco-efficiency looks at the ratio between the outputs of an enterprise and their environmental impacts. It targets to produce more with less by eliminating and recycling waste.

A conceptual industrial asset

Eco-efficiency is a philosophy that is recommendable to companies because there is an increase in material cost as a result of the economic growth relying on ‘business as usual’. The primary increasing factors of the African economy are noted to be the agricultural, oil and mineral sectors. In the year 2017, Africa’s economy recorded “an annual average growth of more than five percent”[1]. However, the forecasted Gross domestic product growth for 2019 is 2,9%[2]. Concomitantly, a steep decline is noted in the African biodiversity: 40% in 40 years’[3]. According to economic analysts, Africa is said to be “at a critical juncture in its development trajectory. Policies adopted now will determine how quickly the continent accelerates growth and creates prosperity for all”[4].
Eco-efficiency aims to contribute by enabling companies to provide products or services of quality using less raw resources and energy, thus reducing the volume of waste.
As such, eco-efficiency has two advantages: reducing the harmful impact of products or services on the environment, and achievement of quality for companies. This is possible through industrial ecology policies.

Getting from concepts to actions through industrial ecology policies

Industrial ecology policies are considered as a conceptual device for every societal stakeholder, including companies to regulate energy and material flows [5]. It’s about the implementation of a number of assessment tools such as: ‘ecological footprint’ and ‘virtual water’ which are increasingly used by companies in different sectors. These practices are seen in the increasing rate of commercialised products and services under environmental and social certifications. In order to improve their environmental performance, between the year 2011 to 2017, several companies in different African countries have acquired ISO 14001:2015. However, just 2 African countries in 2017 have gone in for a certificate to improve their energy performance and thus reduce its costs via the ISO 50001: Egypt and Ghana.

Figure: ISO 14001 – Africa, 2017 [6]

Through industrial ecology policies, there is a possibility of maximizing synergies in production processes and creating more opportunities on the global trade market. This has as impact, innovative practices in the conception of by-products: the development of closed-loop, the increase in life cycle of products, the use of residuals in production processes, of energy recovery resources, the processing of raw materials to finished products.
These practices serve as indicators for companies to evaluate their environmental and energy performances. Their integration into companies promotes a pro-environmental culture in the daily production of goods and services targeting sustainability both at local and global levels.