Climate Change said to be affecting Africa’s smallholder farmers

AGRADr Agnes Kalibata, the President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), has noted that rising temperatures, resulting crop failure, and the consequent loss of livelihoods through climate change has affected smallholder farmers across the African agro-ecological landscapes.

She said Malawi was one of the few countries to have achieved a fair deal of agricultural success but was now facing the worst drought in more than three decades, which had experienced widespread crop failures due to a devastatingly strong El Niño. 

A statement from the office of AGRA and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said Malawi had witnessed late on-set of rains, erratic rainfall, floods and prolonged dry spells.

Dr Kalibata said Malawi’s production of maize was estimated at more than 2.5 million tonnes in 2016, which was 16 per cent lower than the reduced harvest in 2015 and 34 per cent below the previous five year average and had left 39 per cent of the population dependant on national and international food aid to survive.

“To deal with the challenge of climate change, it requires both efforts to reduce (it)… and, most importantly, strategies to enable farmers to adapt to its effects and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she added. 

She said it was imperative for African leaders to act urgently because 70 per cent of the population was dependent on rain-fed, smallholder agriculture and the case of Malawi demonstrate rising temperatures in Africa, which affected the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers at greater risk and increase their vulnerability to famine and diseases. 

“Although Africa emits less than three per cent of the climate change inducing greenhouse gases, it will suffer its effects disproportionately. Mean temperatures will rise faster than the global average, exceed 2°C and may reach as high as 3°C to 6°C by 2100”. 

She said AGRA and its partners had shown that African farmers were not powerless in the face of climate change and that there were ways in which they could survive and thrive despite the dramatic shift in growing conditions they were likely to endure.

Dr Kalibata said the insurance and finance sectors had also stepped up to the plate by designing innovative products that were minimising the effects of climate shocks to farmers.

“To achieve food security under climate change, the resilience of communities and individual farmers needs to be strengthened through pro-active and longer-term adaptation actions and envisage a future where African smallholder farmers can fully exploit their potential to deliver food security, contribute to poverty reduction and achieve inclusive economic growth and development.”

Source: GNA

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