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African campaigners call for nature-positive food systems to overcome hunger

By Xinhua

NAIROBI, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) — The shift to agricultural systems that are in harmony with nature could be the solution to the hunger and malnutrition crisis affecting many African countries, campaigners said on Thursday at the Africa Climate Week in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The campaigners from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a green lobby, observed that farming practices that nurture the health of vital ecosystems including forests and peatlands will aid the continent’s quest to overcome hunger, poverty, and the climate crisis. Bridget Mugambe, program coordinator with the AFSA, said producing food in an ecologically friendly manner presents cost-effective solutions to climatic shocks that are taking a toll on many African countries. “Some of these nature-friendly practices like organic farming as opposed to chemical-intensive agriculture are ideal for African smallholder farmers since they guarantee improved food and nutrition security alongside climate resilience,” Mugambe remarked. Kenya is hosting the Africa Climate Week which ends Friday and ran parallel with the Africa Climate Summit that ended Wednesday and drew more than 10,000 participants, including heads of state and government. Mugambe said the Africa Climate Week presents an opportunity for the continent to reimagine its food systems, and align them with nature and indigenous cultural practices. Karen Nekesa, the co-chair of the AFSA climate change working group, said the adoption of people-centered, organic, and carbon-free food production systems will aid Africa’s quest to attain net-zero targets besides enhancing the resilience of subsistence farmers, herders, and fishermen bearing the brunt of climate disasters. According to Nekesa, African countries that have enacted policies and legislation to scale up nature-positive farming systems have responded better to climate emergencies like recurrent drought, water stress, and loss of species. She added that smallholder farmers in the continent should leverage indigenous knowledge, innovations, and peer learning to enable them to scale up low-emission food production practices. Anne Maina, the national coordinator of the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, said African countries should help local farmers conserve seed varieties that have proved resilient to climatic stresses. In addition, Maina noted that mainstreaming agroecology, which is rooted in a harmonious relationship between nature and food production, has proved effective in stabilizing climate at the grassroots level across the sub-Saharan African region. Enditem

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