The current famine engulfing the Horn of Africa and threatening the lives of nearly 13 million people continues to dominate discussions about development worldwide. As relief efforts continue, experts and stakeholders from the region will gather in Nairobi to discuss longer-term evidence-based solutions and interventions needed to avert the profound effects of predicted extreme weather events in the future.
Although droughts can result in failed harvests, they do not have to result in famine. Famine mainly has to do with inappropriate policies, conflicts and neglect, which reduce people’s access to food, grazing for livestock, and water for both. We must support agencies delivering emergency aid today.
And we must do more.
Almost everyone living in the drought-afflicted areas of the Horn produces food from these drylands. Research into dryland agricultural and natural resources thus plays a critical role in uncovering the causes of food shortages and identifying ways of reducing these. Linking smallholder farmers and herders with research knowledge, products and innovations – from better uses of land, water and other natural resources, to better grazing and pasture management, to weather-based insurance that protects against drought and other shocks, to drought-tolerant crops – could greatly enhance the resilience of vulnerable dryland communities to future droughts.
Experts within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) met in Nairobi on 1 September with a few selected development partners to discuss how CGIAR research can be used to find long-term solutions to improving and sustaining agricultural livelihoods in the drylands.
Lloyd Le Page, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium
Mark Gordon, Co-Chair, UN Somalia Food Cluster, World Food Programme
Namanga Ngongi, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Joseph Mureithi, Deputy Director, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
Jeff Hill, Director of Policy, Bureau of Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Topics addressed include:
- Promising options and innovations to help farmers become more resilient and food-secure in the face of weather and other shocks
- The role of infrastructure and access to viable, functioning markets in food security and prices
- Whether drought-tolerant crops and large-scale irrigation are the answer
- Whether pastoralism is a driver of drought-induced food insecurity or a buffer against it
- Policies that are needed, and at what levels, to ensure that recommendations and innovations for drought-prone areas are put in place in those areas that need them most
Read more here http://consortium.cgiar.org/hoa/