Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Climate smart agriculture and climate change in Africa

Aerial yams
Significant reduction in crop yields is likely to be experienced in sub-Saharan Africa, in the face of population increase by 2050s. According to recently concluded African Ministerial Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture held in Johannesburg from 13th-14th September 2011, the farm yields might reduce by as much as 20 percent in the next four decades, unless Africa adopts climate smart agriculture.Climate smart agriculture includes verified practical techniques and approaches which can assist in achievement of food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation. 650 million people in Africa are dependent on rain-fed agriculture in environments which are vulnerable to inadequate rainfall, crop failure and environmental degradation. Without measures to adapt food productions to the current challenges caused by dynamic weather patterns and corresponding financial support, Africa’s poverty alleviation and food security goals cannot be achieved. Feeding Africa and the world is one of the major challenges today.

FAO in collaboration with African leaders are working to implement climate smart approach to agriculture, in order to increase agricultural productivity. Some of the measures which can be employed include proven practical techniques such as development and promotion of drought resistant crop varieties, cover cropping, mulching, agro-forestry, improved grazing management, zero or minimum tillage, improved water management and increased soil organic matter. Consequently soil water-holding capacity increases and yields are made more resilient to climate change in addition to realization of increased stock of carbon on farmland.
Climate change adaptation therefore refers to a response to the changing climate, and implementation of policies and actions to minimize the predicted impacts of climate change, while climate change Mitigation refers to human intervention to reduce emission or increase the sinks of greenhouse gases especially carbon which is the major greenhouse gas. 

To address these problems, MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN AGRICULTURE [MICCA] program is carrying out four pilot projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Ecuador, and Viet Nam which are aimed at showing results on the ground in order to persuade farmers, national policy-makers, international organizations and donors to make climate-smart agriculture a priority today. These projects will provide scientific evidence that climate-smart agricultural practices can mitigate climate change, improve farmers’ lives and improve local communities’ ability to adapt to climate change. MICCA’s pilot projects are a partnership with national and international development partners within the framework of larger agricultural development projects.