Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tapping into Africa's potential

 Africa’s expansive dry lands if harnessed sustainably could offer lasting solution to food, water and energy crises in the continent, the UN Dry lands Ambassador Dennis Garrity said. An estimated two thirds of Africa’s land mass is either arid or semi arid and its vast ecological treasures has the potential to transform livelihoods alongside accelerating low carbon development.

Garrity regretted that governments in Africa have given lip service to pastoralism yet it has potential to boost food security.

Seventeen African countries have  scaled up ever- green agriculture that integrates water harvesting, agro-forestry and bio-fortification to sustain food production.

“Climate smart agriculture underpins sustainable use of dry lands to enhance resilience among communities. Millions of African small holders have adopted effective and low cost land regeneration techniques,” said Garrity.

He noted that Kenya ranks among African countries that have established bold policies to regenerate dry lands and ensure communities are food secure.
“Kenya has a progressive policy to achieve 10 percent tree cover on farms. In the lower eastern Kibwezi region, small holders have scaled up rain water harvesting through terracing and planting the right tree species in the farms to capture water,” Garrity said.

He noted that 80 percent of Kenya’s dry land mass has a huge economic potential and could as well be used as carbon sink.

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