Sustainable agriculture is an ever-present priority in the Comoro Islands. More than 80 percent of the rural population relies on small-scale agriculture for food and income, therefore sustainable farming practices have become a major necessity. Current agricultural practices do not prevent soil erosion or retain field fertility, but there are a number of projects aiming to improve sustainable agriculture in Comoros. Three organizations operating these projects are:
- Engagement Communautaire pour le Developpment Durable (ECDD)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
The Engagement Communautaire pour le Developpment Durable (ECDD) project works toward environmental conservation in Comoros through the introduction of sustainable farming techniques. These methods increase crop yields and protect natural resources like soil and water. One recommended activity is market gardening, which generates income and reduces reliance on traditional agricultural practices. The ECDD project also provides the necessary support for the people to implement the new techniques.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. also plays a big role in the improvement of sustainable agriculture in Comoros. Some of the focuses of the U.N. organization are boosting domestic food production and improving food safety. Much of the population is affected by low-quality and unsanitary foods, and farmers don’t have access to the technology and methods needed for sanitary production. Additionally, this U.N. organization, as well as the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility, have run programs supporting sustainable fishing and agroforestry. These are two other industries that are critical for life in Comoros.
Finally, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has a number of projects in Comoros. One of these projects is the Nioumakele Small Producers Support Project, which developed and popularized the practice of planting live fences around plots. This technique has benefited sustainable agriculture in Comoros by both rehabilitating soil in the region and increasing agricultural and dairy production levels. The project officially closed in 1997, but the environmental impact is still growing as local farmers continue to use the methods and take responsibility for the sustainable activities.
Ultimately, sustainable agriculture in Comoros needs to be improved. So much of the nation depends on agriculture, and in order for the country to withstand climate change and further development, it needs to implement more sustainable practices. However, through the help of organizations like the ECDD, FAO and IFAD, the Comoro Islands have the potential to create a much more environmentally-conscious agricultural industry.
– Liyanga de Silva