Kigali to host key meet on sustainable agriculture

Posted on July, 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

Rwanda will host a major international conference on plant genetic resources from October 30 to November 3, 2017.

Participants will mainly be drawn from countries that are signatories to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gerardine Mukeshimana, announced this on Wednesday at an ongoing Food and Agricultural Conference in Rome, Italy which runs from July 3 to July 8.

Mukeshimana said the Kigali meeting will explore ways to help countries move towards fulfilling several 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – particularly targets 2.5 and 15.6–with regard to promoting sustainable agriculture and to conserving and using the world’s food crop biodiversity.

The meeting will be held under the theme: ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Role of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.’

The Secretary of the International Treaty, Kent Nnadozie, said discussions will revolve around the possibility of expanding and enhancing the basket of crops exchanged under the Treaty’s Multilateral System, and the review of its funding strategy to provide a more reliable base of financial resources.

Countries bound by the treaty have exchanged more than 4.1 million seeds and other food crops essential for human nutrition and well-being, but the inclusion of some key vegetables and other food-producing plants have yet to be agreed on.

Minister Mukeshimana reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to “working together towards the common goal of ending hunger,” citing the ongoing efforts to strengthen Rwanda’s fourth Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA4) to address issues of productivity, youth employment and climate change.

The next 6-year strategy will focus on agriculture productivity, commercialisation, incomes and consumption of healthy food, resilience and sustainable (crop) intensification.

It will also include inclusive employment, and enhancement of farmers’ skills, an enabling environment and responsive institutions, with view to fast-tracking the achievement of zero-hunger goal in Rwanda.

The October meeting will be preceded by two days of regional and inter-regional consultations.

Speaking at the Rome conference, the FAO Director-General José Graziano Graziano said the number of hungry people in the world had increased since 2015, reversing years of progress.

FAO says 19 countries are in a protracted crisis situation, often also facing extreme climatic events, such as droughts and floods.

FAO has signaled high risk of famine in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, with 20 million people severely affected.

Almost 60% of the people suffering from hunger in the world live in countries affected by conflicts and climate change.

“To achieve zero hunger, we need national strategies, governance and coordination mechanisms and increased investments in agriculture,” Graziano said, calling for urgent action to tackle climate change.

Some 1,100 participants will attend the meeting in Kigali.

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the 31st Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on November 3, 2001.

It aims at recognising the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world, establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials.

Source: The New Times