News / Africa

Conference Emphasizes Forests’ Key Role in Food Production

Logo of International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition Logo of International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
x
Logo of International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
Logo of International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
The first International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition concluded in Rome on May 15. It was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Forestry experts left the meeting optimistic about progress made toward getting policy makers to include forests in their food security deliberations.

FAO said the conference aimed at fostering increased appreciation of the crucial role forests, trees, and agroforestry systems can play in improving the food security and nutrition of rural people, especially in developing countries.

In addition, FAO discussed ways of integrating knowledge of forests systems in policy decisions at the national and international levels. 

Forestry experts and scientists attending the conference left excited about the possibilities of what the future holds as policy makers begin to understand the crucial role forests play in food sustainability. 

“The main challenge has been getting forests and food security onto the global agenda,” said Terry Sunderland, principal scientist at the Centers for International Forestry Research (CIFOR.) “This conference really did highlight how important forests and trees are in complex landscapes, for food security and nutrition.”

Sunderland lamented that previous discourse about food security was rather redundant.

“When people talk about food security, we think in terms of more rice, more wheat, more agricultural commodities rather than the role of forests and trees in achieving food security,” he said.

The CIFOR scientist said the recent conference is helping change the focus.

“The recognition of that has sort of been embraced much more widely by policy makers and others at this meeting.  And the conference statement basically is headed, in that forests and trees are essential to global food security,” he said.

Sunderland said evidence presented at this week’s conference underscore the importance of placing forests and forested landscapes on the food security agenda. He noted that forty percent of the world’s food is grown by small-holder farmers in complex landscapes. 

“Up to 1.6 billion people derive some form of income or contribution to their livelihoods from forested landscapes,” he said.

Sunderland emphasized the need for people everywhere to recognize and accept these figures. He said this week’s conference was instrumental in highlighting that point.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid