Foreword [Volume 18 No. 2 (2018)]

We are ready to publish Issue 82. We announce remaining in SCOPUS and joining SCImago!!

Please see below updated Indexing and Partnership report for more information.

I would also like to share the link to the AJFAND monthly abstract views and article downloads statistics via AJOL. As you can see our reach covers the Globe.

I wish to dedicate this issue of the journal to a special human being, one I admired from afar, until I met him a couple of years ago, face to face only to confirm that he is as simple and as humble as he looks and those two virtues embodied his immense dignity, integrity and power. What a warm, friendly and engaging personality. But more than that, KOFI ANNAN was a champion of peace, a believer in humanity and had hope for a hunger and poverty free dignified Africa. He committed his life to those issues after retiring from the United Nations. Did you know that KOFI ANNAN came from royal ancestry, known for brokering peace between warring factions. He indeed was destined to reach the top of the World Public service. Close home, he worked tirelessly to broker peace in Kenya in 2008, exactly 10 years ago, following the post-election violence that saw Kenya almost torn apart by challenged election results, and where more than 1500 men, women and children died. I mourn Dr. Kofi Annan, and my deepest condolences go to his family who must be in utter grief.

As we do so, I wish to celebrate the African Youth who are finally beginning to make major inroads into agriculture.

To date, the term Youth Empowerment has remained rhetorical and put in the same breath as women empowerment. In some countries, Ministries that serve women are the same ones that serve Youth. And then we have talked of how to make agriculture "sexy" if we want to make young people accept it. I have always wondered, though, whether we are keen to identify the right strategies to get our youth to care about agriculture and Africa's hunger problems. We have been too obsessed with crop production, to the extent that value addition remained very far away. Late SG Kofi Annan believed in the Youth and supported the Youth of Africa. We shall miss his voice.

The thought of quality sourcing, processing, packaging and marketing sounded just too complicated. Yet, we have to develop expertise in these fields if we hope to stop exporting and virtually throwing away our raw commodities.

The youth may not be keen to go to the farm to dig using the rudimentary instruments their great grandparents used. However, they will find food production using new technologies quite interesting and also "sexy".

In a number of Youth in Agriculture events I have attended, young people are interested in intensive agriculture, such as producing food in green houses, or using hydroponics, or in sacks while they live in urban centres. They are also interested in innovating new products such as jams, spices, cakes, soaps using natural and easily available materials. In the past, it has been assumed and even alleged that Africa's youth are not interested in agriculture. The indication here has been the waning interest in agriculture courses at University. The fact of the matter is that all those who are being innovative and becoming successful agripreneurs did not study agriculture. Some Youth are turning normally low yielding family farms into big businesses, others are monitoring their dairy business by remote control, and many venturing into medicinal and beauty products derived from natural raw products.

I have seen huge changes in primary schools where young people are interested in learning about different foods and even using those to learn science and mathematics. That way, one instills an appreciation for food security and, good and safe food early in life. This is one way of keeping our children passionate about school, by keeping them busy on aspects that have lifelong meaning.

We need to find a way to sustain support for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

At our offices:
Emily Kaveza, our very dedicated Editorial Assistant has just had a baby. She looks so happy. Emily is the one most authors and reviewers know as she communicates with them regularly, sending review assignments, following up authors who may have delayed with their manuscripts and even informing of the fate of the manuscripts. We wish Emily a joyful journey as she starts off her new family with baby Harry, who shares a birthday with his dad.

What we have been up to:
Our AGRA funded project ISFM came to an end after 7 years (2 phases of 3 years each and a year in-between). It has been quite a journey, during which we have fostered a close working relationship with AGRA technical staff who have worked hard to help build my NGO's capacity, that of staff and of the farmer trainers. We have achieved a lot as our farmers are now practicing climate smart agriculture and of the 50 thousand reached, more than half are going beyond demonstration. Some of the lessons learnt have been applied to the new GEF funded, AGRA managed and KALRO executed SLM project, targeting farmers living near forests. How can we help farmers increase their yields and diversify their outputs as they preserve the forests? This is a multi-parters project whose interactive nature, involving farmers is already having huge impact. Well, we are looking and applying for more projects. We may be small but we deliver. Our last event was a Trade Fair with farmers displaying their value-added products. We have to work on packaging and marketing. The Trade fair attracted policy makers and the youth as well. So, we are ready for more partners and funding.

On June 22 I was conferred Honoris Causa (Doctor of Science) by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I actually felt quite good, and proud to have been honoured by this prestigious University which started way back in 1495!

What is coming next:
In early September I will attend the 2018 AGRF in Kigali where the 2018 Africa Food Prize Winner will be announced. I wonder who that will be. I look forward to reconnect with many colleagues who will be there.

In mid-October, I hope to attend the World Food Prize Borlaug Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. This is usually a very colourful event. I missed it last year but hope to attend this year.

This issue of the Journal has 18 excellent papers, rigorously reviewed and touching on matters relevant to Africa.

We have 2 invited Guest Editorials, a book review, and an article on the revival of SAJE (Society for African Journal Editors).

We welcome you to this issue. Congratulations go to the authors whose manuscripts passed our not-so-easy test, and deep appreciation to our ever-dedicated reviewers, some of whom we have profiled here. ENJOY

Ruth Oniang’o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND