Climate smart agriculture is climbing hill after hill

Climate & Natural resources,Development Policy,Knowledge brokering28 Feb 2011Johnny Ogunji

The second day of NASAC-KNAW Scientific Conference on ‘The Impact of and Adaptation to Climate Change in Relation to Food Security in Africa’ in Nairobi, Kenya, became more intense. Speakers reiterated the fact that Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including reduced agricultural production, worsening food security, high incidence of both flooding and drought, the spread of pests and diseases and an increased risk of conflict over scarce land and water resources.

Attention was drawn to how other regions are coping so far and an appeal was made for Africa to emulate them. During group and other discussions, the issue of intense education was emphasised and strongly debated, as it affects climate change and food security. It was observed that farmers and Africans generally should be educated on the reality of climate change; there should also be intense education about insect taxonomy to help researchers and curricula at all levels of education should be modified to include climate change issues and make them relevant to local needs.

The group discussions came up with an extensive road map regarding resilient agro ecosystems, land management and governance, arid and semi arid lands and finally human dimensions: migration, health and nutrition. Research into indigenous species of plants, animals and fish for climate change adaptation vis a vis food security was emphasised. It was agreed that social scientists should be brought into the climate change debate. But it was cautioned that the climate change agenda should not by any means be used to distract the attention of governments from implementing poverty alleviation agendas.

The words of Nelson Mandela that ‘after climbing a great hill one finds out that there are more hills to climb’ describes the mood of the conference participants.