By An Notenbaert and Stanley Karanja Ng'ang'a
At a household level, a number of factors influence the nature and degree of people’s vulnerability to the climate change. A new study by CCAFS amongst agro-pastoralist households in Mozambique has analyzed a variety of indicators normally used in vulnerability assessments to measure the influence of these vulnerability variables on coping capacity within a changing climate. The study gives us more certainty about the influence that some of these variables have on coping capacity. For instance, income diversification, increasing access to infrastructure and saving, seemed to promote adaptation and are also widely applicable.
At Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) at COP 17 in Durban, IFAD teamed up with Cafédirect and Fairtrade Africa to offer a learning event on “Getting Climate-Smart Smallholder Products to Market.” The case study was based on an IFAD public private partnership in São Tomé and Principe with the Government, communities, Cafédirect and other private sector companies. Read more about the project, the objectives of the event, the moderator and speakers. The two main questions posed by moderator extraordinaire Matthew Wyatt of DFID, were simple. Can smallholders offer climate-smart products? Will consumers pay for them? He led a lively and focused discussion – thanks Matthew! Read more »
African farmers, researchers and high-level politicians join to push climate-smart agriculture to the forefront at COP17 in Durban
“We must deliver the resources poor farmers need to sustain their lives,” said Honourable Professor Jumanne A. Maghembe, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture to a crowded room at the Africa Pavilion. He spoke to the opportunities and challenges of climate-smart agriculture for African farmers, one of the hottest, and sometimes contentious, issues at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Durban.
Prof. Maghembe was joined by Professor Tekalign Mamo, a State Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia, as well as the leaders of African farmers unions’ from Southern, Eastern and Western Africa; the common message was clear – negotiators at COP17 must put agriculture up front and centre. The UNFCCC has largely ignored agriculture, especially the adaptation benefits. Climate smart agriculture can help African farmers adapt to climate change and safeguard their food security and livelihoods, while enhancing their ecosystems and supporting mitigation.
In Africa, the biggest threat to poor farmers is the increase in unexpected extreme events that come with climate change. Prof. Maghembe described the vicious cycle of droughts and floods that are currently affecting areas of East Africa, killing livestock and destroying farms. “Where are the priorities for agriculture faced with these conditions?” he asked.
There are solutions Read more »
Written by David Lansley and Kristin Donaldson, World Vision Australia.
Spent Saturday at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day (that’s OK – I don’t mind giving up my Saturday for a good cause). The line-up of speakers was impressive, including Sir John Beddington, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte. Read more »
In 2010 a cluster of United Nations and pan-African organizations released a little book entitled Climate Smart Agriculture (PDF).
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) “seeks to increase sustainable productivity, strengthen farmers’ resilience, reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.” The little book and the concept are getting a lot of attention here at COP17. Read more »
Parlez d’une seule voix sur l'agriculture! Tel est l'appel de la ministre sud-africaine de l'Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson à ses pairs du continent au moment où Durban accueil la "CdP de l'Afrique". Mais cette voix unifiée devra-t-elle souligner la vulnérabilité et les impacts négatifs, ou plutôt les potentiels et les opportunités?
À ce jour le consensus scientifique suggère que l'agriculture africaine sera durement touchée par le changement climatique. Le dernier rapport du GIEC a conclu que certains pays africains pourraient voir les rendements des cultures pluviales chuter de 50% dès 2020; une étude plus récente a confirmé á un « très haut niveau de confiance » qu’au cours du 21ème siècle, la production agricole dans la majeure partie de l'Afrique sera "gravement compromise". Cependant, une lacune de la plupart des modèles et des études statistiques est - comme le reconnaissent volontiers leurs auteurs - qu'ils ne prennent pas en compte la manière dont les agriculteurs, les marchés et les gouvernements s'adaptent au changement. Read more »
by Sonja Vermeulen
Speak with one voice on agriculture! Such is the call of Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the South African Minister of Agriculture, to her peers across the continent as Durban hosts “Africa’s COP”. But should this unified voice emphasize vulnerability and negative impacts, or opportunity and potential?
The scientific consensus to date is that African agriculture will be hard hit by climate change. The last IPCC report concluded that some African countries might see yields of rainfed crops fall by 50% as soon as 2020; a more recent review has confirmed “high confidence” that agricultural production will be “severely compromised” across much of Africa during the 21st century. However, one shortcoming of most models and statistical studies is – as their authors readily acknowledge – that they do not take into account how farmers, markets and governments adapt to change. Read more »
By Bruce Campbell
A wise man once said, a hungry man is an angry man. The same goes for the farmer who cannot feed herself.
If African countries don’t want to see this proverb become reality, they must honour their commitments to invest more in the future of agriculture - to make farms more productive and sustainable, and protect farmers from the risks of climate change and extreme weather.
Farming is the life blood of more than half a billion people on the African continent, and climate change will have significant impacts on African agriculture. Rising temperatures and an increase in droughts and floods could dramatically alter growing seasons and wreak havoc on harvests.
The rate of crop failure - already one-in-four in much of eastern Africa - will increase in all areas except Central Africa, according to research by the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). Because of climate change, rain-fed crops could fail every other year in much of southern Africa.
In the past, African farmers have shown a remarkable capacity to adapt to changes in climate. But the temperature increases of four degrees or more predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could push millions of farmers beyond their ability to adapt. And it is unlikely that negotiations at the global climate talks opening in Durban on Nov. 28 will produce an agreement to limit global warming to two degrees or lower.
As such, Africans must realise that we cannot expect the world to create a climate solution for us. We must embark on our own path towards climate security. And that starts with ensuring our own food security. Read more »
Guest post by Manyewu Mutamba
Agriculture is the economic foundation of most African countries and it makes a significant contribution to food security, employment and poverty alleviation for millions of households on the continent. Climate change will challenge farmers’ ability to produce for their needs and the markets. African farmers are particularly in grave danger from the impacts of climate change due to their production circumstances, including lack of assets and poor access to services. Already we can see the change of seasons, they are becoming irregular with shorter cropping seasons and some varieties of crops no longer growing in certain regions. Floods and droughts are becoming more severe.
This scenario tells us that farming for the future cannot be business as usual. If the agriculture sector does not respond to the challenges of climate change, millennium development goals, including food security and poverty reduction targets will not be achieved. Surprisingly, up to now there is no mention of agriculture in the agreed text of the global climate change negotiations. The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) wants to change this, and bring farmers' views to the negotiating table. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
An average temperatures rise by 2.3 degrees Celsius by 2050 could potentially wipe out Uganda's most profitable tea producing areas, with severe losses in productivity already apparent by 2020. This was revealed in the new report Future Climate Scenarios for Uganda's Tea Growing Areas (PDF) produced by researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. The alarming scenarios - decreasing yields and a more favorable environment for pests and diseases - indicate that Uganda’s tea producers need to take firm action to adapt and mitigate to the upcoming changes in climate. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)