FAO leader hails role of agriculture in national pledges, applauds the promise to scale up funding

Photo credit: FAO

School children in Tanzania plant and care for trees as part of an FAO Climate-Smart Agriculture project.

Breakthrough climate agreement recognizes food security as a priority

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has welcomed the approval of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, saying that “for the first time ever, food security features in a global climate change accord.”

The Agreement recognizes “the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the impacts of climate change”.

It underlines the need to “increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience (…) in a manner that does not threaten food production.”

“This is a game changer for the 800 million people still suffering from chronic hunger and the 80 percent of the world’s poor who live in rural areas and earn their income − and feed their families − via the agriculture sectors. By including food security, the international community fully acknowledges that urgent attention is needed to preserve the well-being and future of those who are on the front line of climate change threats,” Graziano da Silva said.

“FAO commends this milestone decision to move forward on climate change action, which comes on the heels of the new Sustainable Development Agenda and its pledge to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. Central to our goal of achieving Zero Hunger, FAO strongly advocates for commitments to protect and enhance food security in a changing climate,” he added. “Our message is simple: we will not reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 on ending hunger − and by extension the entire 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda − without ambitious action on climate change.”

Fighting hunger and climate must go “hand-in-hand,” he said. “FAO is highly encouraged by the fact that agriculture, forestry, fisheries and land use factor prominently in most of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) − the actions countries intend to take under the new Paris Agreement − and notes that this underscores the need for targeted investment in sustainable agriculture.

Read the full article: FAO

A laboratory could help solve vegetable problems in Africa holistically

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos

New vegetable lab launched to boost food security

by Samuel Hinneh

“Creating vegetable varieties and crop production practices that are resilient to climate change… and strains of pathogens and insects will be core concerns for the scientists working in the laboratory.”

Vivienne Anthony, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

Speed read

  • Local vegetable production faces challenges such as lack of improved varieties
  • A new lab in Ghana aims to address these challenges and improve food security
  • An expert says it could help solve vegetable problems in Africa holistically

A new regional laboratory in Ghana is seeking to develop the vegetable industry through research, development and innovation to improve food and nutritional security in West Africa.

It will do this through increased use of indigenous vegetables. The laboratory will facilitate new approaches for engaging relevant stakeholders in the vegetable value chain for addressing the challenges of the industry.

The Vegetables Innovation Laboratory (VIL), which is located at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) based at the University of Ghana, will undertake research in genetic improvement; vegetable production, quality and processing and policy research. Its focus will also be on value chains, socio-economic research and knowledge management systems.

The VIL was launched last month (26 June) at the WACCI in Ghana.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Urban agriculture significantly improving livelihoods for the urban poor in Jordan (OUR WORLD UNU)

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In Home Gardens, Income and Food for Urban Poor

Flowers burst out of old tires and rows of pepper plants fill recycled plastic tubs as herbs pop out of old pipes. As utilitarian as it is cheery, this rooftop array is one of several urban agriculture projects that are significantly improving livelihoods for the urban poor in this sprawling city [Amman, Jordan].

A slowly but steadily growing phenomenon in Jordan, urban agriculture has vast potential for reducing poverty and improving food security, and it has the added benefit of greening and cleaning up more rundown sections of cities.

But the success of urban agriculture depends on key components that are increasingly difficult to secure: land and water. Space for planting is growing ever slimmer in Jordan, and the country suffers from a perpetual shortage of water. While such problems are major, they have also forced those involved in urban agriculture in Amman to devise innovative and efficient ways to work around them.

The more successful they are, the more valuable urban agriculture becomes in Jordan, where two-thirds of the 160,000 people who are food insecure live in cities and 13 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. For them, urban agriculture is not a complete solution, but it does alleviate poverty, and in the long term, its indirect benefits can be even more widespread.

An ideal environment

Unchecked population growth and relatively unplanned development transformed Amman from a village in the 1940s to a vast, 1,000-square-kilometre metropolis in the 21st century. With a population of 2.3 million, the capital has 312 people per square kilometre, more than four times the national population density.

While willy-nilly urbanization has not created the most functional of cities, the resulting urban sprawl actually jibes quite nicely with the concept of urban agriculture — using empty spaces between houses and on windowsills, balconies, and roofs to plant vegetables, herbs and other plants that families can consume or sell to boost their income.

Amman started its official urban farming programme in 2006, according to Hesham al Omari, the engineer who heads the urban agriculture office at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), as part of an initiative by the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF), an international network of resource centres.


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