Date: 15 May, 2000
PRESIDENT ARAP MOI's OPENING SPEECH
[Extract from] Statement by
...the Conference [of the Parties]... is being held on African soil for the first time in a region whose population derives its livelihood from agriculture. The food security of millions of people is based on the activities of small-scale producers who have helped to shape, manage and develop agricultural biodiversity. This has brought a vital opportunity for practical and local meaning to the term "agricultural biodiversity". I note with enthusiasm that the agricultural biodiversity is being given high profile in the agenda.
With agricultural biodiversity, we are talking about the dynamic ways in which over centuries the activities of farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and others have helped to develop and create ecosystems which support their productive activities and therefore provide food security both for themselves and to others. This meeting should consider supporting the activities of these groups during the implementation of the agricultural biodiversity work programme. At this juncture, I would like to recognise the presence of farmers at this meeting who have put up exhibitions that show the varieties of crops and seeds that they have conserved for years in many parts of the world. However, some of these varieties are neglected, under-utilised and threatened with extinction.
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