Zimbabwe has recognised the need to incorporate biodiversity into its agricultural practices and has taken steps to ensure sustainable agri-food systems. In a workshop attended by over 40 agriculture and environment experts, the government evaluated and developed integrated approaches to mainstream biodiversity into agriculture.
The workshop was held in the context of strengthening its National Agriculture Policy Framework and the National Biodiversity Forum to coordinate the implementation of climate-smart and ecosystem-based agricultural practices.
“Pillar eight forum on resilient and sustainable agriculture was established to coordinate stakeholders’ activities within the government, private sector, development partners and CSOs promoting agrobiodiversity and climate-smart agriculture initiatives,” said Dorcas Tawonashe, director of the ministry of agriculture.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supported the meeting through the European Union-funded ACP MEAs3 project. It aims to promote environmental sustainability in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries by strengthening environmental governance, mainstreaming biodiversity into agricultural policies and implementing multilateral environmental agreements.
During the meeting, stakeholders were presented with a preliminary inventory and status of agroecology implementation in Zimbabwe. FAO was tasked with coordinating and organising training for the government and stakeholders on agroecology and the tool for agroecology performance evaluation.
The meeting also discussed a draft agroecology policy with high ambitions and targets for agriculture to achieve better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life – leaving no one behind.
“The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to deliberate, collaborate and take collective action towards better food systems and implementation of multilateral environmental instruments to realize a better future for our country,” said Andrew Mushita, executive director for the Community Technology Development Organisation.
The meeting acknowledged the interlinkages between agriculture and the environment sectors as they discussed the outcomes of Cop15. They also noted that 15 of the 23 targets of the newly adopted Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework are relevant to food and agriculture and requested an integrated approach to review, update and align the National Biodiversity and action plan.
Going forward, the meeting developed and adopted four pillar work streams and plans to strengthen: policy development, climate change, mitigation and adaptation in agriculture, pesticides reduction and pollinators protection, and the development of sustainable agriculture value chains.
The meeting developed work plans for the four thematic working groups and committed that the groups should coordinate the integrated approaches to implement the work plans.
“I encouraged all stakeholders to work together in support of the working groups to leverage on the synergies from the environment and agriculture sectors – no silos,” concluded Abraham Matiza, deputy director in the ministry of environment, underlining the importance of implementing together.
The meeting agreed to convene quarterly coordination meetings to take stock of progress, stimulating dialogue and cross-fertilisation of views and ideas between agriculture and environment sectors.
FAO is committed to giving technical support, coordinating and always bringing the agriculture and environment sectors to discuss and find common solutions to cross-cutting issues. Zimbabwe’s efforts to mainstream biodiversity into agriculture are critical in ensuring sustainable agri-food systems and will serve as an example for other countries to follow.