NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
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 on Thursday.
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
use of dry land ecosystems can significantly contribute to
food security and greening of Africa’s economies. There are
success stories across Africa where communities are
spearheading regeneration of dry landscapes to produce more
food,” Garrity told the African food security conference
taking place in Nairobi.
former Director General of the Nairobi based World Agro-
forestry Center (ICRAF) was appointed Dry lands Ambassador by
the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2011.
his appointment, Garrity has been a leading champion of dry
lands restoration through harnessing nature based assets to re-
invent farming, pastoralism and attain food security.
has worsened in the global south and Africa is affected most
as both man-made and natural factors accelerate loss of
biodiversity, watersheds and arable land. However, deserts and
range lands offer a wealth of opportunities,” Garrity told
Xinhua on the sidelines of the food security conference in
noted that the Sahara desert has encroached into fertile land in
West Africa while the Horn and Eastern African countries have
experienced rapid desertification due to climate change and
degradation in Africa has worsened and to reverse this
challenge, countries must adopt innovative solutions like
agro- forestry and water harvesting to regenerate degraded
landscapes,” Garrity remarked.
countries must establish polices that promote rangelands
management to achieve food and water security.
regretted that governments in Africa have given lip service to
pastoralism yet it has potential to boost food security and
African countries have implemented comprehensive projects to
regenerate degraded landscapes and convert them into
told Xinhua that these countries have scaled up ever- green
agriculture that integrates water harvesting, agro-forestry and
bio-fortification to sustain food production.
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.
noted that Kenya ranks among African countries that have
established bold policies to regenerate dry lands and ensure
communities are food secure.
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,”
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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