Scientists Meet To Tackle Poverty, Hunger And Environmental Degradation

Agricultural scientists say that systems research offers solutions to tackle poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.

Agricultural scientists and researchers from over 30 nations are attending a conference on Integrated Systems for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture to chart the way forward for smallholder agriculture.

Conference speakers and exhibitors at the event being held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria, for the International will present strategies and results that respond directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations, and have a marked impact on the lives and livelihoods of smallholder producers and consumers of developing countries.

A statement from the IITA and copied to the GNA said considerable progress has been made towards those goals, but much was yet to be done.

Despite significant economic growth in many developing countries over the past decade, over 800 million people remain under-nourished, including 160 million children.

According to recent Lancet reports, under-nutrition remains the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children a year, accounting for fully 45% of all deaths of children under five and stunting the growth of another 165 million.

Dr. Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics), says, “The conference offers a platform for sharing of experiences and research results in systems research for development, from different countries and regions of the world.

It provides a reminder of the challenges facing global agriculture and food systems, and the solutions that integrated systems research offers as part of a global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.”

Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Chief Executive Officer of the CGIAR Consortium, emphasised, “We cannot simply tread familiar paths in response to these statistics. Over the next few years we will join with our partners to redouble our focus on the needs of women and young people, extend our efforts to improve dietary quality among the poor and vulnerable, and intensify our work on climate-smart agriculture – all recent additions to our research agenda.”

Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of IITA, similarly emphasizes the importance of systems research.

 He called for continued efforts, adding, “We must develop and promote improved and nutritious crop varieties of Africa’s major staples, as well as innovative practices on natural resources management, and innovations on integrated farming systems towards sustainable intensification of agriculture.”

The event features 45 plenary and oral presentations, and over 50 poster presentations, representing one of the most important and stimulating international platforms for knowledge exchange on the latest scientific results, developments and experiences in the agricultural systems research for development sector.

 The conference called on the donor community, agricultural research institutions, partners in the wider research and development community, the private sector, as well as policy and decision-makers to work jointly and strengthen the use of systems approaches in agricultural research for development, in order to further advance the contribution of science to the international community’s commitment to end hunger completely by 2030.

The conference is organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics), in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) and the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems (Drylands).

Humidtropics is a CGIAR Research Program led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). It seeks to transform the lives of the rural poor in tropical America, Asia and Africa, and uses integrated systems research and unique partnership platforms for impact on poverty and ecosystems integrity.