UN climate conference: Africa’s farmers and indigenous peoples call for agricultural conversion
Protesters demand action against global warming (symbol picture). pixabay.com
GLASGOW (dpa-AFX) – Representatives of African smallholders and indigenous communities called for a sustainable, climate-friendly conversion of agriculture at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow. Elizabeth Nsimadala, president of the Federation of East African Farmers and the Pan-African Farmers Association, said she spoke for 80 million farmers who fed more than 800 million people. Often, however, the farmers themselves can hardly make ends meet – also because droughts caused by climate change are increasingly drying out the soil or natural disasters are destroying harvests.
“Too many of us go hungry every day,” said the farmer from Uganda. The suicide rate is higher than in almost any other profession
– and keep climbing. The agricultural system is on the verge of collapse, she warned.
“Our floors are dying.” Small farmers in East Africa therefore needed international support.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, said she cares for around 500 million people in about 90 states, which protect about 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. But this support was needed because industrial farms drove many indigenous people from their homeland. 500 million hectares of forest would be destroyed every year in order to grow agricultural products. One can learn a lot from indigenous people, they have long been familiar with so-called “superfoods” like quinoa. “We know how to grow food in a way that preserves the natural capital of the earth. We have been doing this for thousands of years.”
The agricultural sector is one of the largest sources of climate-damaging greenhouse gases today. Almost half of this will be released because forests are converted into arable and pasture land and moors are drained or biomass is burned. The other half comes from agriculture itself./toz/DP/jha
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