Environmental and development experts have provided insights on how drylands can contribute to the growth of agriculture and the larger economy in Africa.
The experts spoke at the first-ever digital Global Landscape Forum (GLF) conference held between June 2nd and 3rd. The major theme of the conference focused around Africa’s drylands and integrative restoration practices.
While delivering a keynote speech on Africa’s perspective on ecosystem restoration at the conference, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw, explained that drylands are significant to economic growth in countries across Africa,
Mr Thiaw also debunked misconceptions he claimed were undermining the potentials and uniqueness of Africa’s dryland amidst ongoing restoration campaigns across the world.
According to him, claims that drylands do not contribute much to the economy are untrue because in most drylands, people have lands as their only assets. He argued that in Africa, up to 70 per cent of the population depends on the primary sector, including drylands that represent up to 45 per cent.
Agriculture, livestock, inland fisheries, and tourism revenues are seamlessly possible in drylands, he explained.
Mr Thiaw stated that there’s a need to debunk myths being concocted and circulated about dryland regions across the world.
According to Aridity Index (AI), the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP) explained drylands as the ratio between average annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, noting that drylands are lands with an AI of less than 0.65.
Mr Thiaw said the myth that drylands are not productive are untrue, adding that they provide the inhabitants with unique products and produce such as cereals, animal feed and non timber products.
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