African experts call for climate-proofing farming systems to overcome hunger
The eradication of hunger and malnutrition in Africa will only be realized once governments leverage nature-based interventions to strengthen the resilience of farming systems in the face of climatic stresses, experts said on Friday.
Speaking at a forum in the resort town of Naivasha, located about 100 kilometers northwest of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the experts were unanimous on the need to climate-proof the continent’s agriculture sector amid threats posed by extreme weather events.
Kwame Ababio, a senior program officer of Climate Change and Environment at the African Union(AU) said that investments in farming practices that strike harmony with nature could offer a long-term solution to the continent’s endemic food insecurity.
He said the emerging policy and scientific consensus in the continent was the need to strengthen climate resilience of subsistence agriculture through adoption of appropriate irrigation technologies, use of compost manure and diversification.
George Wamukoya, team leader of the African Group of Negotiators said the global climate summit to be held in Egypt in November presents an opportunity for the continent to lobby for more adaptation funds tailor-made for the agriculture sector.
According to Wamukoya, unlocking financing, technology transfer and training of small-holder farmers is key to boosting climate resilience of food production systems in a continent where 19.1 percent of the population or 250.3 million people are under-nourished.
He said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) sixth assessment report that was launched on Monday was emphatic that global warming has taken a toll on subsistence farming in Africa, thereby worsening hunger and rural poverty.
Million Belay, the general coordinator of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa said the continent’s ability to feed its growing population hinged on scaling up investments to climate-proof subsistence farming and pastoralism.
Belay called for compensation of farmers and herders affected by drought besides encouraging them to play an active role in protecting ecosystems that are key to food, water and energy security.