- At the opening session of the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) Sustainable Water Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Syngenta has emphasised the important role of technology and agronomic knowledge for the development of productive agriculture in Africa.
"We are committed to support the advancement of agriculture in Africa, as part of a virtuous cycle of sustainable agricultural and rural development with the aim to raise income for farmers, suppliers and the larger community," the CEO of Syngenta, Mike Mack said.
The company noted that Africa, which has over 500 million hectares of potential agricultural land, an area larger than the entire European Union and with the population in Africa expected to double to 1.8 billion people by 2050, there is an urgent need to significantly increase productivity. In addition, it also noted lack of access to technology and markets, soil erosion, water scarcity, education and health pose additional challenges.
Syngenta is working closely with rural communities to provide the technology and knowledge farmers need to increase yields and use land efficiently and sustainably. "Since the vast majority of farms in sub-Saharan Africa are one hectare or less in size, we must address the needs of Africa's smallholder farmers if we hope to achieve the goal of agricultural development in Africa," Mr Mack emphasised in his speech.
The PACN conference, being held at the University of Nairobi from 25-28 August, is drawing over 150 scientists, academics and researchers from across Africa, to explore solutions for the most urgent needs of Africa's water situation, such as water for agriculture, climate change, and the contamination of water supplies.
The conclusions of the three day conference will define a sustainable water usage agenda for Africa to be delivered to the UN on World Water Day 2010. The conference is hosted by the PACN, a partnership between the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and Syngenta.
Other speakers at the conference include Joachim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, Dr Richard Pike, CEO of the RSC, Dr Simon Cook, Basin Focal Projects, CGIAR Challenge Programme on Water and Food and Dr Sally Kosgei, Kenyan Minister for Higher Education.
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