Empower farmers to fight climate change and hunger through agroforestry

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More than nine out of ten stunted children live in Africa and Asia.

At the center of this challenge is a failing food system that fails to provide children with the diets they need to grow up healthy.

Climate change, increasing population pressure, loss of biodiversity, rising energy prices and changes in land use, especially the conversion of arable land for commercial and infrastructure development are just a few. factors that prevent poor and vulnerable communities from reaching

their right to food in the developing world.

As we celebrate World Food Day, it is important to reaffirm that everyone living today has the right to food.

In 1966, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights established that adequate food is a human right.

This effectively made access to adequate food and affordability a universal human right and protected in rights instruments.

The Covenant specifies that the responsibility for ensuring the right to food lies with the national authorities of each country, and international cooperation plays a key role in ensuring the equitable distribution of food.

Over the years, concerted efforts have been made to ensure food and nutrition security for all. For example, during the World Cup

Food Summit of 1996, the definition of food security was agreed as; “Food security exists when all people have, at all times, physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

The right of

food is at the heart of Goal 2 of the United Nations 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Achieving zero hunger is still elusive! Hunger in the world has increased since 2014. With the

coronavirus epidemic, the world is now potentially facing the worst food crisis in 50 years.

SDG 2 target 2.1 states that by 2030 we should have eradicated hunger and be able to ensure access to sufficient and nutritious food for all year round. We are now at the start of the last decade for the SDG timetable.

Despite this, the UN predicts that hunger will not be eradicated by 2030 unless bold steps are taken to address inequalities in access to food.

In September 2020, the UN announced that the world is “far from the target” and rather tends towards “degradation”.

This prediction was followed a few months ago by a UN report (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021) estimating that nearly a third of the world’s population (2.37 billion people) did not have access to adequate food in 2020.

This alarming figure means a sharp increase of almost 320 million people in just one year.

The drivers of this rise are in the economic consequences of blockages and the limited freedom of movement imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as well as in the rise in food prices on the world market.

These drivers have had serious repercussions on most African countries, including East Africa.

The United Nations World Food Program reported that in August 2021, 30.4 million people in East Africa faced severe food insecurity.

In East Africa, several factors are at the root of food insecurity and the inability to exercise the right to food.

The main ones are vulnerability to climatic shocks such as droughts, floods and extreme temperatures, locusts, ongoing conflicts, economic instability and high levels of poverty.

This means that we need to refocus and change our agricultural production towards a more sustainable and diverse system in terms of quality, variety of species and types, while taking into account the complex landscape in terms of environmental sustainability, gender inclusion. , socio-economic aspects and changing consumption patterns.

What solutions should the world focus on? The world should now move on from talk to action – with the primary goal of eradicating hunger everywhere.

Vi Agroforestry firmly believes that the solutions lie in empowering smallholder farmers to produce and distribute food, making it accessible and affordable in local markets.

To achieve this: We believe that agroforestry offers a solution to food insecurity. Agroforestry can sustainably help solve most of the food production challenges posed by the effects of climate change.

Agroforestry is the deliberate cultivation of trees and shrubs alongside other crops and / or livestock on the same land.

Agroforestry improves crop resilience, slows evaporation, and provides livelihood insurance when major crops underperform.

For example, fruit trees provide alternative or complementary food, fodder shrubs provide animal food and firewood, freeing up time for women collecting firewood.

It also offers a cost effective strategy to mitigate and adapt to climate change as it supports carbon storage as well as other ecosystem services.

We urge governments to harness the potential of agroforestry by improving the coordination of national activities. While policies and programs related to agroforestry were better harmonized between the departments in charge of rural development, land use, agriculture, forestry, environment, finance and trade at the levels nationally and locally, East African farmers would have a better chance of switching to agroforestry.

A national agroforestry strategy and / or policy could implement such harmonization.

We further urge governments and global donors to increase development finance for sustainable food production. Direct a greater share of total funding for international development cooperation towards sustainable agriculture, including agroforestry.

Such funding should be aligned with country initiatives, such as the Maputo and Malabo Declarations by which African heads of state pledged to invest at least 10 percent of national budgets in agriculture, aiming for growth. annual 6 percent of agricultural productivity.

This will go a long way in helping low-income countries meet their obligation to respect the right to food for all.


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