Report: Threats to African Agriculture needs to be Scaled Up Urgently

02Nov 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Report: Threats to African Agriculture needs to be Scaled Up Urgently

Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events are expected to slow progress toward boosting the productivity of crop and livestock systems and improving food security in Africa south of the Sahara,-

According to the 2016 Annual Trends and Outlook Report, released today.

Mounting evidence shows climate change is likely to be a major threat not only to African agriculture, but also to meeting the poverty, zero hunger and several other Malabo Declaration goals. The latest report outlines how CSA can help address the interlinked challenges of livelihoods, food security and climate change.  

“Over the years, the world has been experiencing increased frequency of extreme weather events that are threatening to slow progress toward increased agricultural productivity and hunger and malnutrition reduction, especially among African smallholder farmers,” said Shenggen Fan, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“This calls urgently for an integrated framework to address this multifaceted threat. I am convinced Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), with its multidisciplinary approach, offers an integrated tool to address the challenges of meeting future food and nutrition security demands under a changing climate.”

Evidence from the report – released by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) – suggests that the widespread adoption of CSA practices can have a positive effect on food production and total agricultural output, leading to a reduction in prices and decrease in the number of people at risk of hunger and children under five at risk of malnutrition.

Although cereal production is projected to double in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) by mid-century, it will still be nearly 5 percent less due to negative impact of climate change. And because of climate change, 38 million more people, most of them in eastern Africa, are projected to be at risk of hunger in SSA in 2050. 
 
The latest report examines the contribution of CSA to meeting Malabo Declaration goals by taking stock of current knowledge on the effects of climate change, reviewing existing evidence of the effectiveness of various CSA strategies, and discussing examples of CSA-based practices and tools for developing evidence-based policies and programs. Agriculture leaders in several African countries have expressed their support for the adoption of CSA strategies and practices.

According to the report, adoption of CSA significantly increases both agricultural yields and net exports, highlighting the potential role of CSA in mitigating climate-induced risks in agricultural production and food security.

To ensure CSA is effective, the report recommends a slew of policy actions for its widespread adoption and implementation. These include CSA-related training programs for extension agents; policies and strategies that enhance the capacities of smallholder farmers as entrepreneurs; building storage facilities and creating the conditions for responsive markets for local value-chains; introducing payments for ecosystem services; expanding agriculture risk management programs, including formal insurance mechanisms like weather index insurance; and leveraging public-private partnerships to facilitate needed investments in  CSA practices and technologies.

Overall, the report’s findings suggest CSA practices can contribute to increasing resilience to climate change but more research is needed to develop reliable and inexpensive methods to verify emission reductions and monitor land use change as well as the trade-offs and synergies across different development outcomes.

The report was released recently at the 2017 ReSAKSS Annual Conference in Maputo, Mozambique. The conference is organized by IFPRI in partnership with the African Union Commission.