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Daily Archives: June 20, 2018

Food Security While Bugging Out

Food Security While Bugging Out

When I was a kid, we had one firm camping tradition:  The first night, we build a big campfire and have a s’more fest.  Why?  Because whether we ate them or not, there seemed very little chance that any marshmallows would make it to the second night. Marshmallows, you see, are a raccoon’s favorite food.

S’mores are not good bugout food; because Raccoons. *

Raccoons adore marshmallows.  And they are unbelievably persistent and creative about breaking into food storage.  Forget anything short of metal keeping them out; and that metal had better have a real lock on it.  Mere latch?  Kit’s play.

Annoying enough when you’re camping; but if you’re bugging, on the road, and food is hard to come by?  Disastrous. Still, it could be worse.  It could be bear country…  There’s a whole lot of information in PrepperLand about what food to put in your bug-out bag; but have you considered how you’re going to keep it away from the wildlife?  Salty and I talk about it in this podcast:

The Threats To Your Food

First, there’s the physical threats:  Heat degrades food, so if you’re keeping your bag in your car I hope you’re rotating it every six months or so.  Your food choices should all be crush-proof, of course.  These problems are pretty easily solved though.

Critters you might not have considered.  The most common threats when you’re on the move are the mid-sized mammals:  Raccoons first in this region, because they are clever thieves and not very person-shy.  Opossums and skunks have been known to break into bags at night as well…and if you argue with a skunk over your bag, you are definitely going to lose one way or another. Coyotes will drag away whole bags that smell tasty; and there are enough ‘city coyotes’ these days that aren’t terribly human-shy.

Less common but more dangerous are bears.  I recall reading a (true) story from Yellowstone where a camper was killed in her tent by a bear.  She’d safely stashed her bag as she should have, but apparently forgot about the soiled wrapper from a candy bar she’d left in her pocket, which was in the tent with her. 

Mice and other rodents sometimes hit bags, too.  If it’s just an overnight placement of a bag, your chances are pretty good; most wild rodents won’t be that ambitious about chewing into things that smell like people.  Those who camp in often-used campsites on popular trails though often report mice getting into the bags before the lights are even out.

Right now feral dogs aren’t a problem; but if the kibble river quit flowing into the dog bowls, I wouldn’t expect that to last.  Even now many rural people have multiple unrestrained dogs.  They seldom see walkers in many locations and consider the roads part of their turf.  I was bitten by one (not seriously) just last week, walking a rural road. Quit feeding them and it could get ugly.  For one thing, they’re not afraid of people.

This dog pack wouldn’t be afraid of humans; and if they weren’t getting fed they might be willing to fight for your food. **

Insects might be a problem, but if you’re sealing up your food well at all, that one’s less likely.

Keep down the food odor

The best step to keeping critters away from your food is not attracting them by its scent.  Long-term-packaged survival foods have a leg up in this regard with their air and water-proof packaging.  Half-eaten packages introduce a much greater risk.  Cleaning game and cooking scraps can also smell pretty delicious; at least to four-leggers.

For longer-term storage especially, this system isn’t completely reliable.  We had mice sneak into our house and find the bug-out bag.  I wouldn’t have thought they’d chew through MRE envelopes, impervious to scent as those are; but the mice were apparently into speculative chewing.  They also enjoyed nesting in the cozy warm clothes I had in the bag.  Sigh.

Nearness to humans can be a deterrent, or get you killed

If the poacher is a small mammal, keeping the food inside the tent or beside the bedroll can be a great deterrent.  If the poacher is a bear, it can be a great way to invite a bear into your tent.  Don’t trust a vehicle to protect you from bears either necessarily.  My brother had a bear break out his window and crawl halfway in to tear open his cooler (it might have been Seriously thirsty for a cold one).  Happily, my brother and his family weren’t in the vehicle at the time.

Keep the food out of reach

The old bear country trick of tying the food container to a rope, tossing the rope over a tree limb, and using that as a pulley to pull the food out of reach (bears can reach pretty high by the way) works for many critters.  Just please do so far enough from the camp — no one wants a frustrated bear underfoot.  I’ve heard accounts of mice climbing down the ropes to get into food bags, but rookie mice probably wouldn’t figure that out immediately.

I’ve never had to hang bear bags to protect my food, but this guy has and explains how here (clicky).

The bear will not get to this food.

Don’t bring marshmallows on a bug-out

Because, seriously, raccoons WILL find a way. Troublemakers, every one.

* Thanks for the image, Codeman125 [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons

** Thanks for the image, Анатолий Девятов [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Food security under danger in Kenya – Kenya

Food security under danger in Kenya – Kenya

Population growth and low agricultural efficiency are deepening Kenya’s reliance on food imports.18 JUN 2018/ BY

LILY WELBORN In Kenya, food intake is surpassing food production. According to a brand-new Institute for Security Researches report, yearly agricultural production will have to increase by an estimated 75%from 2015 levels in order to fulfill intake in 2030. Kenya’s farming sector, the 8th largest in Africa by volume, has struggled to equal intake considering that the late 1990s. However, the distinction between food supply and demand remained less than two metric heaps till 2009(see Figure 1 ). And inning accordance with the International Futures(IFs)forecasting system housed at the Frederick S Pardee

Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, the space between consumption and production is forecasted to expand moving forward. IFs projections that agricultural consumption in Kenya will exceed production by nearly 20 million metric heaps by 2040. This suggests that imports would need to satisfy approximately 25 %of agricultural demand.Low performance in the agricultural sector and fast population development are two essential dynamics accountable for this growing divergence. Figure 2 reveals that Kenya has a lower typical yield than other lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries. While Kenya’s average yield is anticipated to reasonably enhance over the coming decades, it will most likely remain relatively low.Meanwhile, its population of over 50 million individuals is growing faster than those of other lower-middle-income countries and upper-middle-income nations. By 2030, Kenya’s population is projected to rise by 15 million individuals– a roughly 30%increase.A number of aspects contribute to low productivity in Kenya’s farming sector. Just about 2%of arable land is geared up for irrigation. Farmers battle to gain access to sufficient seed, fertiliser and other inputs. Uptake of new innovation is low. The results of climate modification– a source of grave, albeit familiar, concern for lots of people in Kenya and in East Africa normally– present powerful risks to farmers and pastoralists.Barring a remarkable boost in agricultural performance, Kenya will have to import more agricultural items, especially cereals and other crops, to meet the needs of the growing population. Agricultural imports currently supply 11% of domestic farming requirements. It is projected that Kenya will have to import more than 20%of the farming products required to satisfy consumption by 2030. High reliance on agricultural imports renders nations susceptible to variations in international markets, increased national financial obligation and variable weather condition patterns and can contribute to food insecurity. A spike in maize prices, for example, might leave lots of people in Kenya not able to purchase adequate food. People who are bad or who currently face challenges to getting appropriate nutrition are particularly at risk of experiencing recurring food crises.The populations of Kenya’s dry and semi-arid counties– and in the Horn of Africa more typically– are currently facing food crises. Poor or failed rains have actually resulted in chronic dry spell in 7 of the previous 10 years. In 2017, the federal government declared a national dry spell emergency situation for all 23 of Kenya’s dry and semi-arid counties.Around 3.4 million Kenyans are significantly food insecure while 309 000 have actually been internally displaced due to food insecurity and drought. Big swathes of Marsabit and Turkana counties have actually reached’ crisis’ levels of cravings, according to the Integrated Food Security Stage Classification system, and are significantly vulnerable to ’em ergency’ levels. This is one action far from famine.An estimated 175 000 children have actually been< a href = > absent from pre-primary and primary school due to dry spell and great deals of animal deaths have been reported in Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Mandera counties.Against a backdrop of environment unpredictability, the low performance of the farming sector is plain. And while increasing the efficiency of the farming sector alone will not fix the issue of food insecurity in Kenya, it can increase production and lower the growing space with consumption.This is a possible objective for Kenya. Public-private collaboration financial investment in farming in dry and semi-arid locations is an essential technique for enhancing performance in the sector, according to Gituro Wainaina, former acting director-general of the country’s Vision 2030 advancement program shipment secretariat.Enhancing investment in environment change adaptation steps such as water pans and low-priced, small-scale irrigation projects, and in post-harvest technologies, can likewise improve yields and minimize losses. Improving smallholder farmers ‘access to markets through better supply chain management is likewise crucial to making farming more productive.Through these efforts, Kenya might increase agricultural performance, lessen its reliance on agricultural imports and, in turn, add to reinforcing food security across the country.Lily Welborn, Researcher, African Futures and Innovation Programme, ISS Pretoria


Pesticide Use – An opportunity and a Threat to Food Security – Online news from Uganda and the East African region – SoftPower News

Pesticide Use – An opportunity and a Threat to Food Security – Online news from Uganda and the East African region – SoftPower News


Uganda is among those countries where pesticide use remains low compared with its next-door neighbors like Kenya and Ethiopia, though their use is gradually rising.This steady boost is being credited to the switch to commercial farming– veggies, cut flowers, grains, poultry and livestock, as usage and earnings needs increase.However, this might come at a very high expense to human health and ecological degradation due to the non-judicious usage of chemicals. The response of farmers to the current break out of the

fall army worm functioned as a wakeup call for us to focus on the chemical industry in Uganda. In 2017, we saw farmers indiscriminately spraying their crops with whichever’ combination ‘of chemicals their hands might land on.One of which was the now banned”Rocket” that the ministry of Agriculture recommended farmers to utilize in

management of fall army worm in 2017– though pesticides with comparable formulations(Lamda Cyhalothrin, Chrlopyrifos )still are plentiful in our racks, consisting of Dudu Fenos, Striker, Thunder to name a few. We might have enabled the worst of the worst chemicals in to our country due to the desperation that farmers are having in pest management, yet little attention is being paid to the unfavorable results that they posture to the soils, air, human health and water resources.Governments and farmers alike are appropriately fretted about the insect and disease infestation and the have to urgently satisfy food needs, having gone through numerous cycles of drought, harmful flash floods and often above regular rains that have actually caused diminishing of food stocks.But as our fields are being sprayed, we must be deeply concerned when some of the studies on pesticide use by our farmers reveal that the majority of them rely on their own previous experience to buy and figure out pesticide doses!The hazard from poor use and over usage of pesticides has actually been known for a long time– an element that caused developed nations banning a few of the extremely poisonous and consistent pesticides upon carrying out appropriate studies to understand their effects. Numerous studies around the globe have shown a relationship

between ongoing use and direct exposure to pesticides and increased event of cancer cases in the given neighborhoods. Findings by SEARCH global brain tumor research studies in nine nations exposed that direct exposures to inorganic pesticides are related to Child Brain Growths(CBTs ). Maybe the ministry of health and other researchers must take concerned on this and let Ugandans understand exactly what is going on with their health, especially neighborhoods around locations where massive pesticide usage is happening– around flowers farms, larger grain fields, animals farms and other locations carrying out big scale industrial farming.It is for that reason

mind boggling to find chemicals prohibited somewhere else in the Ugandan market, as if to say that the research studies carried in Europe and other western nations do not use to the people living in Uganda.As a farming professional who has dealt with farmers to improve their methods of production over a Ten Years period, i discover it sickening and amazing that”unclean” pesticides that are prohibited in industrialized countries– like Endosulfan, DDT, Glyphosate, Linden and others– are still awaiting our shelves or have actually been found to exist in our soils and water to this day. Worse still, some EU countries and the United States continue to produce these

pesticides just for export to the bad countries like Uganda that receive them, as if we do not know the risks they pose.What can we do?We know that organic sprays can prevent insect attacks and eliminate the insects when used along much better crop management practices. How then can we harness this knowledge and have an industry of pesticides that works for us instead of versus us?There is need to enhance policies and regulations of pesticide trade and use. Exactly what if the stakeholders in the pesticide industry took a purposeful effort to welcome each other for regular meetings, to go to farmers and comprehend their obstacles or to share their research studies and observations with each other on

a regular basis?In the meantime, farmers need to be educated on the threat of indiscriminate use of pesticides, safe use practices and the suitable type and dose for chemical items. Exactly what if all the chemical dealerships had brochures in their stores translated in local languages that farmers can quickly understand relating to safe use of pesticides?Can we promote and undertake research to understand level of pesticide residues in our foods, our bodies, our soils and our air? What if we geared up agriculture and environment trainees in our organizations with test kits and offer them a chance to work as volunteers to test our soils, our

food, our air, our water and comprehend the obstacle that we are in or may get in to in the near future?How do we get better at certifying seed and chemical traders, monitor their work to recognize coaching needs and supply it to them? What if they all got skills training in pesticide and seed handling and moved these skills to their clients– the farmers?What if we promoted tree planting and usage of other crops that assist us in detoxifying our soils and swamps– through plant uptake of hazardous products? Or rather, we simply eliminate all banned chemicals in our market according to the World Health Organization’s list of prohibited chemicals and those blacklisted by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants?Someone once said that,”If you love a tree, you will be more beautiful than previously “– Breeze McIntyre. That was

a basic focus on the function that the environment plays in human life. If we truly love our nation, it is time for us put in place considerations to protect our environment, protect ourselves and the future generations, by signing up with the movement for safe usage of pesticides!The writer, Ariong Moses, is a Project Specialist at OneAcreFund Uganda. He is likewise an Aspen New Voices Fellow and Global Health Corps Fellow.27 Shares