From: IFAD
Published June 17, 2008 09:20 AM

Sustainable agriculture will help stop desertification, UN agency says

Poor farmers and herders in countries bearing the brunt of desertification and land degradation can help stop or reverse those processes by engaging in sustainable agriculture, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says.

Marking World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which is observed on 17 June, IFAD said in a statement that poor farmers and herders can form part of the solution with the assistance of international agencies.

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“Ill-conceived agricultural practices, traditional or intensified, only make things worse as their poor populations have no choice but to adopt short-term survival methods, putting more pressure on increasingly scarce local resources,” IFAD said. “Climate change is increasing that pressure, and exacerbating droughts.”

The agency called for more efficient water use, improved cropping systems and better forest management, adding that hardier seeds will also help poor farmers withstand droughts and floods.

IFAD, which is tasked with reducing rural poverty, said more than two thirds of its projects are now located in ecologically fragile and marginal areas, where nearly half the world’s poor live.

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