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African ministers strategise on climate change adaptation

Ministers of agriculture from across 30 African countries, including Nigeria recently gathered to endorse an urgent declaration on actions needed to tackle head-on, the issue of adapting African agriculture to climate change.

Extreme weather events have continued to put pressure on the ecosystem that African smallholder farmers depend on for their livelihood.

This has made it imperative for African agricultural ministers to hold its second annual ministerial conference of the Adapting African Agriculture (AAA) Initiative with the themed ‘Food Security Facing Climate Change,’ to tackle threats posed by changing climate.

The conference which was held recently at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Benguerir, Morocco, in partnership with OCP Africa, also had representatives of International and regional funding organisations and institutions in attendance.

Central to the Benguerir Declaration was the deeply unsettling realisation of looming food insecurity on the continent due to the impacts of climate change, which the continent’s agricultural practice and production needs to quickly adapt to forestall a deleterious situation that could deepen numerous challenges.

The ministerial declaration had several pronouncements. As framed by the declaration, “we encourage the foundation to maintain and expand its country-level support, in such a way as to help formulate National Climate-Smart Agriculture Investments Plans.”

“We also invite partner funding institutions to back this effort and to contribute to the financing of the implementation of these plans within the framework of national agricultural development strategies.

“In particular, through the strategic partnership with the AAI – especially the advent of the on-going Pan African Climate Finance Access Program with the Green Climate Fund

The declaration also states: “We agree to reinforce agricultural research and innovation and to support AAA-focused research for development, through our national agricultural-research systems and by involving the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). We also insist on the necessity to improve technology transfers to farmers to ensure that research activities respond to their needs and concerns in the face of climate-change challenges”.

Further to this, “we invite the AAA Foundation to promote and support technology transfers, knowledge sharing, and capacity building through South-South and triangular cooperation”.

The declaration also encourages the AAA Foundation to pursue its advocacy efforts for the adaptation of African Agriculture in the upcoming ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP) and the UNFCCC’s specialized bodies and committees.

Speaking at the meeting, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture, acknowledged the need for immediate actions to solve the threats of climate change, while calling for interstate and inter-regional cooperation to confront the problem.

He cited the example of Lake Chad which is experiencing reduced productivity as a result of climate change.

“We have to see how we can collaborate to address the Lake Chad issue because it is affecting all countries within the region. We need to be less territorial in our thinking so that we do not continue to face this challenge in Africa,” Nanono said.

“We also need to think of how we can manage the other resources that are available to us and maximize them. This will also require inter-regional cooperation between African countries and will enable us to great deal with the challenges of global warming,” he added.

 

Josephine Okojie

 

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