Drought resistant crops are the way to go.

Drought normally hits crops at the flowering and seed stages, which is critical in determining the size of a crop’s harvest. Therefore, we need to look beyond the traditional food crops that we have become accustomed to, and start growing those that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

According to Science Daily, lead researcher Dr. Kai Xun Chan from the ANU Research of Biology said that the team discovered an enzyme that senses adverse drought and sunlight conditions, and how it works from atomic to overall plant levels.

This way the crops will be able to react and adjust in terms of nutrient intake. In turn, they will be able to grow to maturity despite the harsh weather conditions.

Given that we can only do much to change the current weather and climatic patterns, why not adapt to them accordingly?

 

Irrigation is the long term solution to food shortage.

The talk of food shortage in the tropical regions has dominated headlines of late. This has largely been because of the prolonged dry spell that has of recent faded away.

Irrigation has proven to be a viable remedy to the unpredictable prolonged dry spells across the globe. Many countries that are geographically located in hot and semi-arid regions ,like Egypt have established mega Irrigation schemes that support plantations in the hottest of times.

In my opinion, countries in East Africa with Uganda being the case in point, ought to borrow a leaf or two and go the Irrigation way. This way, production of food crops could be enhanced, especially among the large scale farmers.

As a result, not only will there be increased production, but the surplus produce could also counter increased demand in times of food shortage.

Food shortage: A result of global warming.

Market days were very exciting and filled with lots of anticipation. Trucks loaded with bags of potatoes, corn, huge banches of matooke (green bananas) moving in and out of the market. Men clad in muddy clothes carrying and delivering these bags to market vendors, who were waiting with big smiles on their faces.

This is going to be a profitable day!” One would hear the vendors whisper. That’s me being nostalgic, dwelling on the good old days. Days where having three meals wasn’t a priviledge, because food was in plenty.

“Studies have shown that the combination of increased  levels of Carbondioxide in the atmosphere, rising temperatures and changes in precipitation may result in significantly lower yields for staple crops such as corn and wheat, particularly in the tropical areas where food production is normally high.” Dr. Sam Myers told Live Science.

This is already evident in Uganda today. A local farmer in Agago District, while talking to BBC focus on Africa said that because of food shortage, a cup of beans previously selling at Ushs 800 now goes for Ushs 2700 for half a cup! In many parts of Uganda, lives are in peril with over 1.6 million people facing starvation and close to 10 million others being underfed.

Inspite of the current rains, this food crisis isn’t over yet because it will probably take 3-4 months before the next harvest.

Global warming is definately playing a big role in the food shortage in Uganda.

Is Climate change a hoax?

There is alot of controversy on this climate change phenomenon. Many people believe that climate change and global warming have been blown out of proportion, most notably being the USA president, Donald J. Trump who famously said that; “Climate change is a scam created by China!

Scientists, however, think otherwise with many study findings alluding to the fact that global warming will and is already having insurmountable effects in the world today.

“While a powerful El nino has faded, the globe’s heat continues to be an enduring aspect. This January was the third warmest January on record according to data released last week by NASA. Large areas saw temperatures that were up to 9 degrees Farhenheit above normal.” Brian Kahn, Climate Central.

In Uganda, the weather-man has of recent failed to make accurate weather forecasts in the past three years or so. The dry spells have been much longer and hotter than earlier predicted. They have come out to say that their mishaps are largely because of climate change.

Recently, the meteorologists predicted that it is going to rain for the next three months, but some areas might only receive small amounts. Lets wait and see how this turns out.

You might be wondering what climate change has to do with the economy. In my next article, I will explore just how significant a role it is playing in today’s economy.

What’s your take on climate change and global warming? Feel free to leave a comment.

Creativity: Solution to the automation threat.

“There are ways for students to adapt their academic pursuits to compete with an increasingly automated workforce, by learning to be creative thinkers who improvise in ways that computers cannot.” Business Insider

We ought to capitalize on those soft skills that no machine or computer can offer.

Artificial Intelligence: Reality of a jobless future.

After completing campus (University studies), the dream of every graduate is to get a job and apply the knowledge that we have amassed. We spend sleepless nights perfecting our CVs, making numerous job applications, and then dropping them off one office at a time.

Finally, when that lucky break manifests and we get a job, we celebrate and start building a career!

Meanwhile, these celebrations could be short lived with Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming the norm in not only the developed but also the developing countries.

With the current tough financial times, every employer would wish to reduce expenses and operate at the lowest possible costs without necessarily undermining the quality of his/her product.The advance of Artificial Intelligence in the work-place is gradually making this wish come true, with prospects of not having to pay salaries and allowances.

Recent studies by Carl Benedict and Michael Osborne examined the probability of computerization for over 700 jobs.They concluded that “recent developments in machine will put a substantial share of employment, across a wide range of occupations at risk in the near future” The Economist.

A few years back, the thought of having “driverless” cars moving on our streets was only in sci-fi movies and simply out of the realm of reality. However, times do change, many developed countries like France, German, USA,etc are in advanced stages of making and testing prototypes of driverless cars. The car manufacturers predict that these will be available on the market by 2020!

This has left many bus and taxi drivers in those countries worrying their heads off due to the possibility of losing their jobs to machines and computers.

In Uganda, a recent study shows that one-fifth of the employees in bank related jobs could be jobless by 2021, with most banks resorting to mobile banking and the like.

An AI professor at Stanford University recently stated that “We are just seeing the tip of the Iceberg. No office job is safe” The Economist.

This growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence dictates that only those willing to learn and adjust will have a chance, otherwise, a jobless future is imminent.

Brexit: An Economic dilemma for Britain.

The world was left in absolute shock when the Brexit referendum results were announced in June 2016. Not only was it perceived to be unrealistic, but also highly unlikely given the polls taken at the time.

Having a background in economics, a friend of mine later sought for my opinion on this Brexit phenomenon. She went ahead to ask me its economic impact on Britain and Europe.

In response to her question, I explained along the lines of economic integration, free movement of goods, services, capital and people within Europe. Ironically, I wasn’t entirely convinced with my explanation.

This was no alien feeling since other European Union members were faced with a similar hurdle in trying to figure out the real meaning of Brexit. It’s quite notable that “Brexit” was the most searched word on the internet at the time.

Many people feared that leaving the EU would deeply hurt Britain’s economy. Theresa May made it clear during the referendum that  if UK left the EU, Britain would be left worse off. However, now as UK’s Prime Minister, May has become the leading advocate for Brexit. During a press briefing, she said;

“No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain-because we would still be able to trade with Europe, we would strike trade deals across the world and we would have the freedom to set competitive tax rates and embrace policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain.”

The house of commons overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Brexit bill yesterday (9th Feb 2017), thus it will now have to go through the house of lords.

With Brexit being such an anomaly, will it really boost Britain’s economy?…Or is it flattering to deceive?

Crane Bank’s takeover by DFCU Bank.

The Governor Bank Of Uganda (B.O.U), Tumusime Mutebile, in a letter dated 27th Jan 2017 stated that DFCU Bank  ltd had taken over the control and management of all assets and liabilities of Crane Bank ltd.

This didn’t come as a surprise to many since Crane Bank had as of 20th Oct 2016 been declared insolvent by the Central Bank (B.O.U). It was found to be undercapitalized with its liabilities grossly exceeding its assets.

This undercapitalization was found to be mainly due to the presence of Non-Performing loans. Many people were using short-term loans to finance long-term investments like building houses for rent thus failing to pay back these loans in time.

Nonetheless, the Central Bank ought to be applauded for doing a good job in making sure that depositors didn’t lose their money and the financial sector was kept relatively stable.The Governor B.O.U said;  “B.O.U reassures the public that it will continue to protect depositors’ interests and maintain the stability of the financial sector.”

However, inspite of this assurance, some Economists predict that Crane Bank’s collapse could have dire effects on Uganda’s economy with foreign investors leaving the Ugandan market.

Will people also resort to keeping their money under pillows and mattresses? …your guess is as good as mine.