Despite the challenges of increasing population, climate change and resource use conflicts, researchers have provided renewed hopes for sustainable agricultural productions in the drylands of the sub-Saharan Africa.
Researchers from different parts of the world, policy makers, government officials and concerned stakeholders met at the 2nd International Conference on Drylands organized by the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano and deliberated extensively on strategies for agricultural diversification to address food insecurity.
The conference, themed “Agricultural Diversification: A Panacea for Food Insecurity, observed that there are enormous opportunities for sustainable agricultural development in the drylands.
It said smallholder farmers, pastoralists, artisans and other rural producers possess potentials for increasing productivity especially if supported with appropriate training, technologies and financing.
It was also observed that there are potentials for agricultural diversification for the various communities of the dryland regions in the value chain for the major agricultural crops and livestock.
They also said there are opportunities for increased participation of youths and women, which will enhance the profitability of households and generate sustainability in employment opportunities.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the conference, it was recommended that there is the need for greater coordination, partnership and collaboration among all stakeholders in crops and livestock production in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes directed at increasing agricultural resilience and productivity.
The communiqué called for increased research and innovation on water and soils management as a key driver for sustainable production of crops and livestock as well as for the mitigation of impact of climate change.
“The Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano should broaden partnership with stakeholders including national and international development and research financing agencies to spearhead advocacy and engagement for addressing the challenges of agricultural development and resource use conflicts,” the communiqué added.
It further advocated for increased monitoring of climatic indices, including the use of indigenous methods for forecasting and predicting rainfall regimes to mitigate impact of fluctuating rainfall regimes and other climatic shocks.
It added that there is the need to undertake deliberate actions to rehabilitate degraded lands for improved and sustainable management of threatened ecosystems.