Issue 76 is here. It is our last issue for the year 2016. With this issue, we wish to convey our special thanks to all those who have supported in reviewing the manuscripts for African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND). Our very able editorial team has been readily supportive when called upon. They are an amazing group of professionals to whom we owe a lot of the journal’s success. Thank you very much and stay blessed.
This issue is different from previous ones in a number of ways. First, the papers are many. Because we can ID (DOI) each paper individually, we have decided to publish whatever number we have ready at the time of going to press. In this case we have 20 peer reviewed scholarly papers. For more information on how we plan to move forward from January 2017, please see the AJFAND Publishing Calendar and Procedures.
This time also we have a paper fully in French. The abstract, though, is in both French and English. We wish to encourage more researchers who operate in French to send their papers. We owe this to a handful of French speaking reviewers in our database.
Last issue, issue 75, was on Aflatoxin and was sponsored by ILRI, International Livestock Research Institute. It received enormous feedback which can be found when you click here. Right now food safety is a major aspect of food and nutrition security within the food systems research and programs approach. For most African consumers whose staple is maize, the threat of stunting in children is real. Cancer prevalence is high and many consumers will tell you that they link all this to what they eat. What is our role as food and nutrition practitioners in ensuring that consumers can trust the advice we give them with regard to nutritional adequacy and food safety? It does not matter how diverse or nutritious a diet is, it is no good if it is not safe.
Obituaries of special colleagues and acquaintances are here also. We are happy to honor them on behalf of their loved ones. Prof Darkoh was a seasoned world renowned scholar of Geography; his well- researched tribute is prepared by his former students and colleagues. The guest editorial he published in AJFAND is shared again. Prof Bourne has been lauded by the Food Science and Technology fraternity; he touched many people and mentored young scientists through his teaching, research, publications and most of all his personal warmth. Prof Mbagaya was my top student, a colleague in the profession, a great reviewer and supporter of AJFAND. Grace Mbagaya’s paper published in AJFAND is also shared again. They are all dearly missed and may their souls rest in Eternal Peace.
Profiles and commentaries have been solicited to highlight the diverse expertise we draw on and to give young people a chance to share what they are passionate about and to encourage them to get into scholarly writing. Those who work with me are also giving updates on what they do. If you have something to share, please send it.
Finally, NUTRITION is here. Of course I am happy. I have spent all my professional life teaching, researching, advocating for nutrition. Africa, my own continent, has suffered underweight and stunting for decades and for a while there it appeared like only Africa carried the brunt of malnutrition. Now, however, everything has changed. All corners of the world are now challenged by malnutrition in one form or another. Non-communicable diseases are no longer diseases of lifestyle. Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and cardiac problems are now associated with overweight and obesity. Research shows that those children who were malnourished and even stunted, risk developing into obese adults. It is obesity in adulthood that is manifesting in these non-communicable diseases that cause early deaths. I cannot go into everything here but ultimately all of us should start by reducing the amounts of salt, sugar and fats that we eat, and instead drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, get used to eating healthy cereals and white meats. Insects too are nutritious. On April 1, 2016, the United Nations declared a DECADE for Action on Nutrition. This is highly significant, and also appreciated; so let us get on with it. EXERCISE goes with good health, with good nutrition.
The world faces many challenges. First there is mismanagement of resources, which leads to inequity and virtual injustice; this leads to illegal acquisition of wealth at the expense of the majority who go hungry, and without proper clothing, food and health care. We need to heed the Sustainable Development Goals if we have to eradicate poverty, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
Then, there is political upheaval all over. What is going on? People are just unhappy about something. If the environment does not allow for venting, one begins to see anti- social behavior and increased violence. There is no way a people can develop amidst anger and severe frustrations.
Now, our smallholder farmers are feeling the negative effects of climate change. Farmers I work with in western Kenya have had to replant twice because of erratic and uncertain rains. My NGO, Rural Outreach Africa, is helping them to practice smart agriculture: timely planting and application of inputs, practice of sound crop husbandry, integrated farming combining crops and livestock and especially helping women to keep small animals which can reproduce fast to provide family income and meat for nutrition, and choosing the right seeds that are water efficient. We are also, with the help of farmers, identifying legumes such as soybeans and bambara nuts which are good for soils and human health. We now work seriously with families teaching nutrition and how to prepare different foods from these products. Our farmers are our best partners and we value them. Our development partners: AGRA and AATF have been there, working with us, to ensure our farmers succeed. We value the support. Another big achievement is that farmers can now store their extra grains in hermetic bags without the use of chemicals. Such grain serves as food reserve for family and can sell what is extra when the price is good. That is good income for a small scale farm family.
As we go into the festive season, let us keep all this in mind even as we enjoy great food. Let us also remember those who may not be able to have access to good food for celebration.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone.