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FAO Implements Food Security Initiatives in Somalia

Friday, June 08, 2012

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is implementing a number of food security focused initiatives across Somalia to ensure adequate there is enough food for the populations.

Head of FAO in Somalia Luca Alinovi said Somalia's food security future largely depends on the environment and more investment in reforestation and sustainable agriculture is needed.

"FAO is entrusted to find ways of ensuring that all people have enough to eat and organizations has a unique overview of the impact of agriculture on Somalia's environment, we should all be working towards this goal," said Alinovi in a statement issued in Nairobi on Thursday.

In a bid to ensure food security, Alinovi said the UN food agency has also launched a national tree-planting campaign in Somalia in a bid to restore the country's fast-disappearing forest cover.

The "Plant-A-Tree" campaign, which started in Hargeisa, Somaliland, coinciding with the World Environment Day celebrations on June 5, saw hundreds of trees planted by dozens of volunteers, civil servants and members of the general public.

The UN agency hopes to expand the tree-planting campaign throughout the country over the coming months.

Somaliland's minister of environment and rural development Mahmoud Sad called for the end of what he described as rampant degradation of Somalia's environment.

"At this rate, the country will be a desolate desert," said Sead.

"If we do not stop this devastating assault on the environment, as consequences temperatures will raise, our rangeland will become barren and all our livestock will cease to exist."

According to recently released UNDP report on human development, action on agriculture alone will not be enough to eliminate hunger, and new approaches will have to include the improvement of health services and agricultural infrastructure, as well as giving a greater voice to the poor through strengthened local governments and civil society groups.

"Building a food-secure future for all Africans will only be achieved if efforts span the entire development agenda," said the UNDP's Human Development Report which focuses specifically on Africa.

It underlines that food insecurity should not be prevalent in a continent that has been experiencing high rates of economic growth and improvements in life expectancy and schooling in recent years.

According to FAO, the continuing growth of the world's population and the steady rise in disposable income puts increasing stress on the earth's natural resources.

With decades of conflict, especially in the south, and prolonged dry spells, Somalia's environment is bearing the worst brunt.

The greatest challenge the world faces is finding ways to meet the food needs of the extra 2 billion people expected by 2030, while preserving the natural resource base to provide for future generations. FAO has both expertise and experience for meeting this challenge.


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