Beating Famine conference tackles food insecurity in Southern Africa

Mrs Zabeta Elisa tends to her groundnuts growing under farmer-regenerated trees in Kwendaguwo village in Malawi. Photo by D. Ouya/ICRAF

Mrs Zabeta Elisa tends to her groundnuts growing under farmer-regenerated trees in Kwendaguwo village in Malawi. Photo by D. Ouya/ICRAF

Large tracts of Southern Africa are in the grips of a land degradation crisis that has shaken the foundations of food security in the region. The situation is precarious, but not insurmountable. By widely adopting low-cost and sustainable farming practices, smallholder farmers across Southern Africa can boost their agricultural productivity, restore the health of their land, and build resilience to climate change.

The Beating Famine, Southern African Conference – which will be held from 14-17 April in Lilongwe, Malawi – aims to spread the word about conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and other sustainable farming techniques that can put an end to Southern Africa’s land degradation crisis. Co-hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and World Vision Australia and featuring His Excellency Peter Mutharika, the President of Malawi, the conference will bring together expert speakers from across the region and around the world.

But Beating Famine is not just about high-level presentations. The conference aims to catalyze tangible action and organizational collaboration across the region to address food security, boost resilience, and support livelihoods. On the final day of the conference, country-level working groups will devise concrete strategies for spreading sustainable farming practices across Southern Africa.

Dennis Garrity, UN Drylands Ambassador and Senior Fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre, said: “We have the tools and techniques to fight land degradation across Southern Africa, but we need to get the word out. That’s what this conference is all about: scaling up the interventions that will help smallholder farmers boost their productivity, build their resilience to climate change, and restore the health of farmlands throughout the region.”

Tony Rinaudo, Principal Advisor on Natural Resources for World Vision Australia, said: “Farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is a very rapid, low-cost, and scalable method of reforesting and restoring degraded farm, range and forestland. It can be used by anybody – rich or poor, male or female. Spreading this technique to farmers across Southern Africa is critical to bringing the region back from the brink of its current land degradation crisis. The Beating Famine conference will bring together the key actors who can make this happen.”

Conference Website: Beating Famine Southern African Conference

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