In a ground-breaking move towards sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation, The Nature Conservancy has joined forces with the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) Initiative to establish the Foodscape Innovation Hub in Kenya. This innovative partnership aims to revolutionise agricultural practices while preserving nature, offering a beacon of hope in the face of climate change and food security challenges.
The Foodscape Innovation Hub, a brainchild of this collaboration, intends to expedite the transition towards regenerative food systems that protect the environment and sustain local communities’ livelihoods.
Functioning as a nexus, it will facilitate collaborations between communities, governments, non-profit organisations, civil society, and the private sector. Through technology demonstrations and proof-of-concept projects, it will act as a comprehensive resource centre, offering expertise in public-private partnerships, finance, investments, governance, and institutional capacity.
At the core of the hub’s initiatives is the development of systems for mapping scenarios and monitoring, assessing the availability of quality water for sustainable use in neighbouring ecological zones. Additionally, the hub will design, test, and monitor regenerative approaches to optimise land, water, and soil usage for mixed farming, especially focusing on climate adaptation in semi-arid regions.
Ademola Ajagbe, regional managing director of The Nature Conservancy’s Africa programme, expressed his optimism about the collaboration, stating, “This partnership is timely and will significantly contribute to addressing the complex interplay between food security, climate change, and environmental conservation. By harnessing the best available science, we aim to better society while ensuring a sustainable future.”
The collaboration addresses growing concerns surrounding environmental degradation caused by agricultural advances. While these advances have boosted crop yields, they have also led to soil and water depletion, increased greenhouse gas emissions, reduced ecosystem services, and disrupted biochemical cycles.
The Foodscape Innovation Hub seeks to rectify these issues by promoting sustainable intensification and climate change adaptation, mitigating the unintended consequences of unsustainable farming practices on the environment.
Under this partnership, The Nature Conservancy will spearhead the hub’s implementation, utilising data and scientific knowledge to catalyse investments, promote innovation, and develop new products and initiatives. EiA will leverage its scientific and research expertise to provide scalable, science-based agronomic solutions.
Mandlenkosi Nkomo, chief growth officer of CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative, emphasised the significance of collaboration in addressing pressing global challenges. He stated, “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.”
This partnership aligns with the global call to strengthen food systems by focusing on food sovereignty and recognising the pivotal roles of youth and women in shaping the future of agriculture. Through the Foodscape Innovation Hub, Kenya stands at the forefront of sustainable agricultural practices, providing a model for the world to follow.