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World Food Day 2016 in Egypt : “Climate is Changing. Food and Agriculture must too”

@fao rne H.E. Dr. Essam Fayed, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Mr. Abdessalam Oul Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for NENA, FAO; Mr. Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt during the event

Cairo, 16 October 2016: The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrated the World Food Day 2016 under the theme “Climate is Changing. Food and Agriculture must too.” The highlight of this year’s celebrations was on the critical relationship between climate change and our planet Earth, and food security and the future of sustainable development.

The Celebrations took place under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Essam Fayed, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, in the presence of Mr. Abdessalam Oul Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, FAO; Mr. Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt; in addition to a number of FAO Officers and representatives of UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, and Media.

In his opening speech, H.E. Dr. Fayed, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation said: “The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Reclamation is exerting efforts to adapt to the weather extremes and dangers resulting from climatic changes through policies and strategies and agricultural programs by which it established the “Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate” with the purpose of developing a Network of Meteorological Information that covers agricultural areas in Egypt including old and newly reclaimed land. In addition, this network will conduct research related to the various applications of agricultural meteorological data to issue recommendations needed for farmers to limit the negative effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions on agriculture.”

H.E. the Minister added:” The Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate chose 50 locations from all over Egypt and included 50 sites were selected as a coverage of the Arab Republic of Egypt to make use of the output data so they can take advantage of them as early warning of the various change of the weather to reduce the risk of weather on agriculture, as well as the work of agricultural applications of various accounts such as water duty ,calories ,units of cold and the prediction of diseases, pests and determine the planting dates and identify the frosts, as well as providing the information Guidance for the sector as a nucleus for the development of extension systems in Egypt.

H.E. the Minister concluded by saying: “Egypt has great interest in facing climate change that is posing several dangers threatening to derail development efforts, increasing water and food insecurity, and escalating the phenomena of environmental refugees. Recent studies show that climate change could cause Egyptians heavy losses in several fields; therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation established the Information Center of Climate Change and Renewable Energy that represents the national integrated and modernized web to predict and measure climatic changes.

In his speech, Mr. Ould Ahmed said: “Our Arab Region is one of the most dry regions  worldwide that suffers from water scarcity. It is endangered by the negative impacts of climate change. In spite of the huge investments in water used for agricultural purposes, the per capita quota of fresh water has decreased by two thirds during the past 40 years, and it is expected to decrease further by 50% by 2050.

Due to the rapid population growth and pressures such as increased consumption of water that affects available water quantity and quality. In this regard, we should note that climate change started to undermine our efforts in eliminating hunger and all types of malnutrition by 2030.

In this context, there is an increasing worldwide recognition that the agriculture sector has the capacity to play a critical role in reversing the impacts of climate change. Therefore, the World Food Day 2016 represents an opportunity to know about the best ways of handling these challenges.

On his side, Mr. Hussein Gadain said: ”Egypt is one of the countries that has come a long way in attaining SDGs such as decreasing the percentage of people suffering from malnutrition into half. However,  we still need to exert more efforts in overcoming the current and future challenges, of which climate change and water scarcity come upfront, especially that these lead to a decrease in food crops and water and accordingly a decrease in agricultural produce. This is what FAO, in cooperation with governmental institutions is trying hard to avoid from happening through the implementation of several programs and projects that are related to adaptation and mitigation approaches towards these challenges.”

“In this respect,” added Gadain, “FAO Representation in Egypt is in the process of funding a technical support project on “Support Sustainable Water Management and Modernization for the Newly Reclaimed Areas” in an effort to decrease water losses and increase productivity and efficiency.

World Food Day celebrations that took place at MALR included a presentation of the an FAO documentary about the possible impacts of climate change. Moreover, H.E. the Minister of Agriculture has distributed Certificates of Appreciations to a select of people who had valuable contributions to the theme of the Day. In addition, an exhibition was organized, showcasing FAOs publications and communication material.

It is worth noting that climatic changes have great impact on our planet and change our world and cause additional natural disasters and environmental problems that make it more difficult for us to grow agricultural crops. These agricultural crops are part and parcel of the problem due to the short cuts we use to produce what we need from food and that eventually harm our planet. So, in order to feed a growing population – expected to become 9.6 billion by 2050 – we have to learn how to grow our food in a way that is not harmful to our planet.


16/10/2016

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