Sunday, September 7, 2014

Agriculture in Africa Needs to Get Smart - Climate Smart

We've heard from African leaders like Kofi Annan and Nigeria's Agriculture Minister Akin Adesina about the potential for agriculture to create jobs and transform livelihoods. A key obstacle to the success of smallholder farmers in Africa in achieving not only self sufficiency but sustainable income generation is climate change.
The 2014 Agriculture Status Report has been launched at the Alliance for a Green Revolution Forum currently under way in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A key message from the report is that a one percent increase in temperature is projected to lead to a five percent decrease in agriculture yields, according to Ademola Braimoh of the World Bank, one of the authors of the report. Coupled with a decrease in the land that will be suitable for agricultural production, increased rainfall variability and changes in the average length of the growing season this is not good news for smallholder farmers.
So what can be done?
The report's key recommendations can be summarised as follows:

- Promote climate-smart, context-driven agroecological approaches and

- Strengthen national and local institutions to implement climate-smart
- Build technical capacity and improve knowledge management systems
- Raise the level of national investments in agriculture
- Create innovative financing mechanisms
"More productive, resilient and low-carbon agriculture requires a major shift in the way we manage land, water, nutrients and genetic resources," says Braimoh. "This publication highlights changes in policies, institutions and financial mechanisms for an effective transition to climate - smart agriculture."
The report also touches on other factors influence food production and security such as population growth urbanisation and gender disparity and unsustainable land use.
"I am proud that many African nations are becoming economic powerhouses, but without a viable agricultural sector and strong rural economy, I do not see a viable future for Africa", says International Fund for Agricultural Development President Kanayo F. Nwanze. Dealing with climate change is key to that challenge.
By Melissa Britz
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