Sustainable agriculture must be prioritized in the Caucasus and Central Asia, United Nations agricultural Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at this week’s Food and Agriculture Organization meeting. Da Silva argued that sustainable agriculture would be the only means to continue to reduce the absolute number of hungry people in this region.
“Despite overall positive trends regarding food security, other forms of malnutrition still persist and continue to be a problem, affecting all the nations in this diverse region,” he said, according to a news release from the UN.
The absolute number of hungry people in the region has dropped at least 40 percent since 1990, but the work to reduce malnutrition in this area is far from finished.
Obesity remains a major malnutrition problem in Europe and Central Asia. Fifty-five percent of adults are obese or overweight in 48 of the 53 countries of this region. Hunger also remains an enormous problem; 70 percent of all of the world’s malnourished children live in Asia, according to the World Hunger Education Service.
FAO has decided to address this problem, firstly, by empowering family farmers as they continue to face the effects of climate change, and secondly, to improve the agriculture environment in these regions to help these small farmers expand and thrive. These goals must be met by combatting not only armed conflicts in these regions, but also agricultural pests, poverty, and natural disasters.
Sustainable agriculture in rural areas is the overall goal of both of these measures, as the region’s poor and malnourished tend to live in the countryside.
The delegates also spoke about promoting the culture of pulses and legumes in these communities, for their rich nutrient content.
Regional conferences such as this one take place every two years uniting delegates from 53 member countries in Europe and Central Asia as well as the European Union.
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Thai farm image via Shutterstock