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Climate-smart agriculture practices help smallholders deal with threats to African agriculture

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Maputo, Mozambique, October 28 (Infosplusgabon) - Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events are expected to slow progress toward boosting the productivity of crop and livestock systems and improving food security in Africa south of the Sahara, according to the 2016 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR).


ATOR was released Wednesday by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a programme facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), during the official opening of the 2017 ReSAKSS Annual Conference, organized by IFPRI in partnership with the African Union Commission.


The conference, themed, 'A Thriving Agricultural Sector in A Changing Climate: Meeting Malabo Declaration Goals through Climate-Smart Agriculture', has promoted, reviewed and dialogued on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) implementation agenda among policymakers, development partners, researchers, advocacy groups, farmers’ organizations, the private sector, and other key stakeholders from within and outside Africa.


Evidence shows that climate change is likely to be a major threat not only to African agriculture, but also to meeting the Malabo Declaration goals, in particular, ending hunger by 2025.


The latest report outlines how Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) can help address the interlinked challenges of livelihoods, food security and climate change.


“There are opportunities for more public-private partnerships that facilitate access to climate-smart technologies for smallholder farmers. We need to exploit them."


Besides partnering with the private sector, successful CSA policies and programmes will have to address the inter-linkages across gender, climate change, agriculture, and nutrition when designing CSA policies and programmes,” said Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission (AUC).


“Over the years, the world has been experiencing increased frequency of extreme weather events that are threatening to slow progress toward increased agricultural productivity and hunger and malnutrition reduction, especially among African smallholder farmers,” said Shenggen Fan, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


“This calls urgently for an integrated framework to address this multifaceted threat. I am convinced CSA, with its multidisciplinary approach, offers an integrated tool to address the challenges of meeting future food and nutrition security demands under a changing climate.”


Mozambique Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Victor Canhemba, has called for practical solutions on the continent to tackle climate change.


The ATOR further suggests that widespread adoption of CSA practices can have a positive effect on food production and total agricultural output, leading to a reduction in prices and decrease in the number of people at risk of hunger and children under five at risk of malnutrition.


Although cereal production is projected to double in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) by mid-century, it will still be nearly 5 percent less due to negative impact of climate change. And because of climate change, 38 million more people, most of them in eastern Africa, are projected to be at risk of hunge in 2050.


The report examines the contribution of CSA to meeting the Malabo Declaration goals by taking stock of current knowledge on the effects of climate change, reviewing existing evidence of the effectiveness of various CSA strategies, and discussing examples of CSA-based practices and tools for developing evidence-based policies and programmes.


Agriculture leaders in several African countries have expressed their support for the adoption of CSA strategies and practices.


According to the report, adoption of CSA significantly increases both agricultural yields and net exports, highlighting the potential role of CSA in mitigating climate-induced risks in agricultural production and food security.


To ensure CSA is effective, the report recommends a slew of policy actions for its widespread adoption and implementation.


These include CSA-related training programmes for extension agents; policies and strategies that enhance the capacities of smallholder farmers as entrepreneurs; building storage facilities and creating the conditions for responsive markets for local value-chains; introducing payments for ecosystem services; expanding agriculture risk management programmes, including formal insurance mechanisms like weather index insurance; and leveraging public-private partnerships to facilitate needed investments in CSA practices and technologies.


Overall, the report’s findings suggest that CSA practices can contribute to increasing resilience to climate change but more research is needed to develop reliable and inexpensive methods to verify emission reductions and monitor land use change as well as the trade-offs and synergies across different development outcomes.


ReSAKSS supports the successful implementation of CAADP by providing policy-relevant data; facilitating dialogue among stakeholders; monitoring progress in reviewing goals; and strengthening mutual accountability processes at continental, regional, and national levels. It is facilitated by IFPRI, in partnership with the AUC, Regional Economic Communities (COMESA, ECOWAS and SADC) and three Africa-based CGIAR centres (IITA, ILRI, and IWMI).






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