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Time to embrace sustainable agriculture - FAO

The United Nations (UN) has urged agriculture players to abandon resource-intensive farming and food systems, instead asking them to embrace sustainable methods of production.

Speaking Monday at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Agriculture meeting, Director-General José Graziano da Silva said the sector must take steps to protect the environment to secure the future of agriculture.

"Today, it is fundamental to produce food in a way that preserves the environment and biodiversity. We have to implement sustainable practices that provide healthy and nutritious food, ecosystem services and climate-change resilience," Silva said.

Specifically, agriculture sector players were asked to reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals, increase crop diversification, and improve land conservation practices.

Emphasizing the need for urgent action, the FAO boss pointed out that current farming practices have contributed to deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Combating undernourishment 
In Kenya where an estimated 36.5% people live below the poverty line, hunger bites, hard.  
A 2018 Kenya National Bureau of Statics report found that one in three children under five suffer stunted growth as a result of malnutrition. 

The effects of undernourishment and numerous and far-reaching. Stunting in children often results in decreased immunity, developmental and physical challenges – some which continue to affect them well into adulthood.

According to the report, families in rural areas were worst hit at 32.4 percent as compared to urban areas that recorded 24.5 per cent cases of stunted growth. 

Globally, an estimated 821 people are chronically undernourished.

Addressing ministers, government officials, private sector and civil society representatives in attendance at the Switzerland meeting, FAO’s Silva noted that youth, women and rural communities are key players in achieving food security.  

"If we fail to create opportunities for poor rural people to thrive, especially women and youth, we will also fail to build a safer and more peaceful world," the Director-General said. 

Cultivating Kenya’s agriculture 
In Kenya, food consumption is outpacing food production. 

According to a new Institute for Security Studies report, annual agricultural production will need to increase by an estimated 75% from 2015 levels in order to meet consumption in 2030.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has made food security one of the pillars of his Big Four plan, even as private firms and non-governmental agencies intensify work in the agricultural sector.

On 20th September 2018, Standard Group Plc launched the Farm Kenya Initiative, a new communication framework wholly focused on growing and developing Kenya’s agricultural sector.

Through partnerships and expansion of the Group’s offering, Farm Kenya will drive key conversations about the sector and provide practical solutions for all players.


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