Experts Warn of Critical Decline in Biodiversity Impacting African Food and Agriculture”


Today, on January 30, 2024, a distinguished group of biodiversity experts representing over 20 African countries will gather in Harare to discuss the current state of biodiversity for food and agriculture in the region.Their objective is to devise strategies to fortify the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity. National Focal Points will exchange insights from both national and regional perspectives, aiming to bolster endeavors to stem the depletion of this vital resource.

Biodiversity is integral to the African way of life. It is imperative that we take decisive measures to safeguard it and curb the ongoing erosion of diversity within our agrifood systems. The dwindling numbers of our landraces, such as sorghum and millets, necessitate urgent action for their conservation and sustainable management. Let us collaborate in preserving the invaluable resources of our planet and securing a sustainable future for the forthcoming generations,” emphasized Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, and FAO Representative in Zimbabwe.

The upcoming workshop, jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, aims to enhance the implementation of the Framework for Action on Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture in Africa. This framework, established by FAO in 2021, is designed to combat the decline of biodiversity in the realm of food and agriculture. Delegates from various countries attending the event will exchange insights and address the obstacles in translating the framework into practical measures on the ground.

The FAO Framework for Action on Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture was developed in response to FAO Members’ inaugural report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, which was launched in 2019. This framework encompasses the entirety of biodiversity for food and agriculture, encompassing plant, animal, forest, and aquatic genetic resources, as well as the array of ecosystem services they offer. It advocates for a unified approach to biodiversity management across different sectors. Dan Leskien, Officer in Charge of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, emphasized, “Biodiversity is crucial for transforming agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable, resulting in improved production, nutrition, environment, and quality of life for all, without leaving anyone behind.”

The regional workshop offers a valuable platform for country representatives to exchange information and facilitate the sharing of best practices and strategies aimed at effectively implementing the main priorities of the biodiversity framework within the region.

The decline in biodiversity has various root causes and presents a significant threat to the future of agriculture and global food security. Numerous species and ecosystems are facing a downward trend. For instance, bees, crucial pollinators essential to the production of many crops, are experiencing survival challenges in several African countries.

According to David Mukomana, President of the Apimondia Regional Commission for Africa, “Bees are a treasure that needs to be cherished. It is critical to ensure the continued vital pollination work of bees and other pollinators in our environment.”




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