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South Africa to Host Global Conference on Agriculture

04 December 2013

SOUTH AFRICA - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will open the 3rd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change in Johannesburg today (3 December).

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said views from the conference are expected to contribute towards increased productivity in agriculture, reduced emissions as a result of better farming practices, and adapting to more sustainable farming practices in the face of climate change.

‘Climate-smart’ responses to the challenge of climate change, including low carbon approaches, will be explored, along with mechanisms to build greater resilience in the agriculture sector.

"In this way, the conference will draw on scientific information and solutions to develop informed policies and climate-smart practices, which will seek to address the universal goals of food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and reduced inequality.

"After full discussion of the issues, the conference will finally consider a statement on the establishment of a voluntary, multi-party alliance of like-minded countries and organisations," said the minister.

The three-day conference will consider the linkages between agriculture, food security and climate change, and propose actions and approaches that will help to reduce poverty and inequality.

The third day of the conference will involve a high-level event, which is expected to pave the way for a global alliance of countries and partners around climate smart agriculture.

The alliance is expected to include countries, multi-lateral organisations, farmers’ organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and academics, all of which will be represented at the conference.

In a statement released on Monday (2 December), departmental spokesperson Palesa Mokomele said the draft statement, which has been extensively consulted, spells out the pillars that will guide such an alliance, and outlines the primary objective, which is to catalyze high-impact actions in regard to policy and planning decisions, knowledge sharing, and investment in agriculture.

"The proposed alliance comprises three pillars: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

"The statement affirms that the proposed alliance seeks to promote an integrated action-oriented approach to simultaneously pursue the three pillars of climate-smart agriculture," she said.

Speaking about the benefits of hosting the conference, Ms Joemat-Pettersson said: "Our agriculture sector has to strengthen its efforts when it comes to sustainable food security.

"Indigenous knowledge systems and traditional farming methods must also be brought to the fore in looking for better ways to produce food.

"The climate-smart approach is in line with the department’s newly adopted Food and Nutrition Security Policy, which includes support for smallholder farmers, planting of one million hectares of fallow land across the country in the next five years."

The Global Conference is being convened in partnership with The Netherlands, Vietnam and US governments.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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