‘Southern Africa can beat famine’

Written by  Chisomo Ngulube

Close to 500 agriculturalists from 38 countries representing over 100 organisations have began meeting in Lilongwe to share knowledge on best practices for ending famine in Southern Africa.

Maize field hard hit by drought Maize field hard hit by drought

Observers are pointing to a perfect storm of challenges that include declining soil fertility amid a surge in prices of chemical fertilisers, erratic rainfall as a result of climate change which increases the risks of droughts and a boom in population.

The continent will therefore require doubling the amount of food it produces to avoid widespread starvation experts say.

Speaking at the opening of the conference United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ambassador Dennis Garrity called for scaling up of well-known but cheap agricultural practices that encourage restoriation of declining soil fertility such as Evergreen Agriculture.

“Evergreen agriculture allow us to glimpse into a future of more environmentally sound farming where much of annual food crop production occurs under a full canopy of trees, “ says Garrity.

Also speaking at the conference Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza described Malawi was the perfect host for the Conference.

“Malawi has one of the highest rates of degradation in Southern Africa. From 1990 to 2005, Malawi lost 13 percent of its forrest cover,” he said.

Chiyembekeza added that the country would keenly follow proceedings at the conference to learn bolster it efforts to restore soil fertility.

Seventeen countries including Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Malawi Kenya,Tanzania , Niger and Burkina are said to be practicing Evergreen Agriculture.

The Beating Famine Southern Africa Conference is being held under the theme ‘Sustainable Food Security through Land Regeneration in a Changing Climate’.

The conference ends on Friday.

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