Experts to African Govts: Tackle climate change to attain food security

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*Continent’s food, agriculture market to hit $1tr

Experts in agriculture have tasked African governments to tackle various challenges posed by climate change in order to not make food security in the continent a mirage.

They made the call yesterday at the ongoing 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, the African Development Banknoted in a statement.

Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank (AfDB), Abidjan, noted that climate instability was causing food scarcity in many African countries.He said increases in temperature and rainfall reduction associated with climate change would further reduce agricultural production and increase the demand for more land and water to compensate for climate stresses.

Nyong said various studies had shown that African agriculture was particularly vulnerable to climate change, adding that mitigation efforts were the only way to assist in alleviating the impacts on farmers and food security.

According to him, tackling climate change in Africa will work effectively if efforts are first geared toward eliminating challenges faced by smallholder farmers across the continent.Nyong said the bank was leading a campaign to unlock the continent’s food and agriculture market, which he projected to hit $1 trillion by 2030.

He said it had become important for governments and the private sector to cooperate with the bank and invest more to attain the projection to overcome climate change challenges.“There is a dire need to increase the capacity of smallholder farmers to overcome its adverse effects,” he said.

Nyong noted that African farmers had demonstrated a limited capacity to adapt to modern information-gathering tools on climate change and urged governments to increase their expenditure on developing meteorological stations.He said such stations were required to deliver necessary information to the farmers.

Nyong said AfDB, in its commitment toward eliminating challenges of climate change, established the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) in 2008.He said the fund was one of the largest climate financing instruments in the world with an investment of 8.3 billion dollars.

According to him, the fund focuses on offering developing countries urgently needed jump-start toward achieving low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

On the fund, he said the Bank also offered grants of 250,000 dollars and one million dollars, respectively, to scale-up access to climate finance and to support climate-resilient, low-carbon development in African countries.

Andrew Mude, Principle Economist at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC,  USA, said agriculture should no longer be considered a social activity but as a business.He said to attain such, the environment must be conducive for private investments in various services including, veterinary, irrigation and fertiliser services.

Mude stressed the need for African governments to study and understand pastoralist patterns and understand their needs.“Livestock and pastoral systems need to be studied professionally so that investors can get reason to inject money in increasing business-oriented farming resilient to climate change in the long term.

Mark Cackler, Manager of Food and Security at the World Bank, noted that there was no country that ignored agriculture and develop.He also called on African nations to shift from exporting raw materials to adding value to their agriculture raw materials.

 

The forum has special focus on “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity Growing Economies and Jobs through Agriculture.”

It is being hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led institution which focuses on putting farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economies.

The bank said experts also examined the role of agencies, governments and the private sector in overcoming the adverse effects brought about by climate change, and challenged African governments for big actions to match the effects of climate change, given the size of the problem posed by climate change.

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