African farmers need to be ready for climate change
A recently published report has warned that, with the onset of climate change, Africa’s farmers will be unable to feed future generations if adequate investment is not provided.
The findings were compiled by experts part of the Montpellier Panel and the report, called The Farms of Change: African Smallholders Responding to an Uncertain Climate Future, said that international donors and governments needed to take action now.
Explicitly, the report recommended that leaders should acknowledge the threat climate change poses to food and nutrition security and place it at the top of the UN and national government’s agenda.
It also demanded that investment must be deployed to develop sustainable farming practices, help small holders adapt to climate change through scaling up local initiatives and increasing understanding of crops and animal husbandry.
Food shortages, malnutrition and migration will undo decades of development unless more funding is made available, the authors added.
Montpellier Panel chairman Prof Sir Gordon Conway observed: "Progress made in the last two decades to combat hunger and poverty in Africa will be irrelevant if action is not taken on climate change.
"African smallholders cannot escape poverty unless they are equipped to adapt to a changing climate - and this requires serious, large-scale investments, he added.
A 2014 African Agriculture Status Report said that food producers face the risk of being overwhelmed by the pace and severity of climate change; it called for the adoption of "climate-smart agriculture" that will help make crops more resilient to future extreme weather events.
Whether or not this is a euphemism for Genetically Modified crops remains to be seen, but the challenges facing the content may well require desperate measures. As the continent grows and global and regional populations increase, it should be on every government’s agenda to reduce waste as much as possible.