National Conference on "Building Communities : Cultivating Peace" June 18th - 19th 2014
The world's population is projected to reach more than nine billion in 2050 with demand for food expected to increase by 60 per cent under business-as-usual assumptions. Competitions for land, water,...Read more...
National Conference on "Building Communities : Cultivating Peace"
June 18th - 19th 2014The world's population is projected to reach more than nine billion in 2050 with demand for food expected to increase by 60 per cent under business-as-usual assumptions. Competitions for land, water, and food are believed could lead to greater poverty and hunger if not properly addressed and with potentially severe environmental impacts. Already, global food systems are being affected by extreme weather events, including historic droughts, which are leading to higher food prices and greater food insecurity. The negative impacts of global climate change on agriculture are only expected to get worse. Ensuring an expanding, stable and secure food supply capable of meeting the challenges of climate change requires more resilient crops and agricultural production systems than we currently possess in today's world. This is without a doubt the chief agricultural challenge of our time.
In Pakistan almost 70% or more of the population lives in rural areas. In that context, agricultural development of small farmers and landless people provides a livelihood for people allowing them the opportunity to stay in their communities. Increased unemployment coupled with high population growth and out migration of educated young people is among other several factors responsible for the increase in poverty, particularly for the small farmers and landless families. Deterioration of natural resources and falling farm incomes has further exacerbated the situation.
Therefore, there is a need to make some efforts to develop a wide range of strategies to achieve sustainable livelihood for marginalized and deprived rural families. It is important to engage the poor in making these strategies and to promote farmer's self-initiatives and involve community in the decision making process which directly affect their livelihood.
In light of this, we propose several solutions. In particular, we argue that the solutions for building global agricultural resilience will come only from expanding the innovation and adoption of next-generation crops and agricultural practices. We need new and improved crop varieties that use less water, deliver increased yields and improved nutrition, and have built-in means for repelling insect pests, resisting disease, and withstanding extreme heat, cold, rain and drought. This will need every existing tool in the box as well as the development of new ones.
Lok Sanjh is striving to bring South Asian communities together for enhancing people to people interactions and linkages in order to augment knowledge, experience sharing and to ensure sustainable livelihood. Ecological farming models that South Asian Network on Food, Ecology and Culture (SANFEC) has developed through its member organizations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are being replicated in selected agro-ecological zones. These are used to showcase ecological farming technologies.
Lok Sanjh facilitates institutions and individuals in developing research priorities and in conducting research on the issues and problems relevant to communities particularly in the fields of biodiversity, indigenous knowledge, and ecological farming. It is dedicated to reduce poverty, hunger, improve human health/nutrition, and enhancing ecosystem resilience through agriculture development models.
In this context to dialouge on the issue and providing small farmers a sustainable livelihood for a stronger harmony and peace, a national conference "Building Communities - Cultivating Peace" has been planned on June 18th-19th , 2014 in Islamabad. This conference will engage senior researchers, the private sector, civil society, donors, development practioners and others committed to food and nutrition security to debate on the situation with following objectives;
a. Large scale mibilization of small farmers.
b. Experience sharing of all the stakeholders.
c. Pecifying the general frustation to minimize local conflicts.
This will help us all to see the bigger picture of what is needed to set priorities and make the best decisions to formulate policies and set up some doable models of sustainable agriculture.
The conference recommendations may help to alleviate poverty by enabling those on the lowest incomes to be part of social and economic networks and so increase their income and employment opportunities. Besides, how we can contribute to improve people's access to basic services like water and sanitation, energy and education by strengthening local organisations.
The farmers working with Lok Sanjh would be encouraged to showcase good examples and demonstrate alternative agricultural development technologies and models. The event may prove to be a powerful tool to mobilize the farming communities. Here farmers will be able to make some collective decisions and thus organize themselves accordingly for future strategies to cope with forthcoming threats.
Promoting gender equity and transparent public sector leadership will be at the heart of all this exercise to help build the stronger and peaceful rural communities.