African Small-Scale Farmers Carve a Giant Message for World Leaders in the Very Soil They Farm

16 farmers from a remote village in Kasama, Zambia have created a compelling case for investment in agriculture in the very soil they farm. ©IFAD

“The Field Report makes the case for investment in agricultural development in the very land that needs it the most,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD

African farmers from a remote village in northern Zambia have teamed up with the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to send a giant message to world leaders gathering in New York this week – invest more in agriculture if you want to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

And to get their message the attention it deserves, the 16 farmers from Kasama, Zambia carved their case for investment into the very soil they farm, producing a giant “Field Report” with a pie chart, graphs and numbers that explain why long-term, transformative investments in smallholder agriculture are so important.

“The Field Report makes the case for investment in agricultural development in the very land that needs it the most,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. “We were inspired by the sheer power and potential agriculture holds to reduce poverty and hunger, contribute to vibrant, self-sustaining communities and dramatically increase the food needed to feeding a growing population.”

The message from the farmers of Kasama comes at a critical time. According to an IFAD-supported joint UN report launched last week, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 per cent of the world’s population.

At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide. Of the world’s hungriest people, 243 million reside in Africa. Throughout the region, food insecurity has been exacerbated by violent conflicts and climate-related shocks. In Kasama, farmers have had to deal with erratic rainfall and depleted soils as a consequence of a changing climate.

“When the drought hit, my crops did not have enough water. I had low yields and a shortage of food. I could not feed my children,” said Augustine Chilumba, 60, a bean and maize farmer who contributed to the project. “Farmers in Africa need more support. We need ploughs,…

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