Experts in agriculture, climate change and the environment will next month gather in Nairobi, Kenya, to review innovative ways of tackling Africa’s unending cycle of drought and food insecurity.
A food crisis now looms large in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania.
The conference, which is set to take place on April 10-13, this year, at the World Agroforesty Centre in Nairobi, has been organised by the World Vision and the World Agroforestry Centre.
“The forum will bring together policy-makers from across Africa, leading agriculture/food security/environment experts, international NGOs, donors, academia, practitioners and the media,” conference organiser Rob
Francis said in a statement, which was made available to this paper yesterday.
“The world watched as millions suffered from famine in the Horn of Africa last year and now that suffering is spreading to other parts of West Africa,” Francis said.
“This crisis calls for a long-term sustainable approach to food insecurity and famine and we believe the answer lies with a greater emphasis on the environment and better agricultural practices.”
The conference will focus on practical, low cost and proven techniques to reverse land degradation and deforestation, uplift incomes, adapt and mitigate climate change and ultimately prevent famine.
Dennis Garrity, UN Dry lands Ambassador and senior fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre noted: “The national planning segment of the conference will be particularly significant. Governments and NGOs throughout
the East African region are now partnering to implement national scaling-up programmes to create an evergreen agriculture based on smallholder adoption of trees for enhanced soil fertility, fodder, fruit and fuel wood production. Accelerating the widespread use of these practices would have an enormous impact.”
“In essence, we hope to spark a re-greening movement that transforms thinking across the world,” said World Vision East Africa climate change and environment specialist Assefa Tofu.
“Governments, development organisations and also the community must learn to see the power of simple, effective environmental techniques as a new way of tackling hunger.”
The conference will comprise presentations by high level delegates, as well field trips and demonstrations. Participants will also be encouraged to develop action plans for their country or region. A demonstration of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) will be conducted by FMNR pioneer Tony Rinaudo on Friday April 13 in Kijabe, Kenya.
FMNR has helped make great advances for the food security and economic sustainability of farmers in eight countries across Africa and three in Asia.
The conference theme centres around low cost, rapid methods of environmental restoration as a pathway to food security and adaptation to climate change.
It is particularly pertinent at this time with severe famine in the Horn of Africa, and dire warnings of further impending famine from a leading international agricultural consultant Roland Bunch who is advocating for an agro-ecological approach to building food security.