The Nature Conservancy, has announced a new partnership with the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) Initiative, to set up a hub for promoting agricultural development in Kenya while conserving nature. The Regional Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Africa Programme, Ademola Ajagbe, said that the collaboration was timely and will contribute significantly towards addressing the complex interplay between food security, climate change, and environmental conservation.
He said that the partnership also aims to harness the best available science while contributing to the betterment of society. According to him, the Foodscape Innovation Hub aims to tackle concerns that, while agricultural advances have boosted crop yields, they have also contributed to environmental degradation, including soil and water depletion, increased greenhouse gas emissions, diminished ecosystem services, and disrupted biochemical cycles.
Ajagbe noted that under the partnership, The Nature Conservancy will spearhead the implementation of the hub and that, this will include leveraging data and scientific knowledge, building capacity catalysing investments, while promoting innovation, new product development, business initiatives, and partnership governance. The Chief Growth Officer, (CGIAR) Excellence in Agronomy Initiative, Mandlenkosi Nkomo, said that EiA will leverage its scientific and research expertise to provide scalable science-based agronomic solutions that can help achieve sustainable intensification, promote climate change adaptation, and mitigate the unintentional repercussions of unsustainable farming practices on the environment.
“Our partnership highlights the importance of collaboration to address the world’s most pressing challenges, including Africa’s food systems and natural resources. Together, we will implement agronomic solutions to create a sustainable food ecosystem in Kenya’s Central Highlands, a vital region for environmental protection and Kenya’s agriculture”, he said. Nkomo added that the pact aligns with calls for the strengthening of food systems by focusing on sovereignty, youth, and women’s pivotal roles in shaping the future of agriculture. According to a release by Director of Marketing and Communications, Africa Region, Charity Mbirimi and CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative Global Communications Lead, Barbra Sehlule Muzata, the Foodscape Innovation Hub aims to accelerate the transition to regenerative food systems that safeguard the environment and communities’ livelihoods.
It will serve as a bridge by facilitating interactions among communities, governments, not-for-profit organisations, civil society, and the private sector through technology demonstrations and proof-of-concept projects. It aims to be a one-stop shop for all elements, including public-private partnership opportunities, finance and investments, governance, and institutional capacity. The hub would develop systems for mapping scenarios and monitoring, to assess the availability of quality water for sustainable use in neighbouring ecological zones and it would also design, test, and monitor regenerative approaches for efficient use of land, water, and soil for mixed farming and climate adaptation in semi-arid areas.