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Eastern Africa sub-region experts deliberate on upscaling climate smart agriculture in the region

Sub-regional Climate-Smart Agriculture Platform for Eastern Africa launched.

Climate-smart agriculture (Photo: ©FAO/Agatha Ayebazibwe)

28 July 2015, Kampala - Experts from the Eastern Africa sub-region have launched a new climate-smart agriculture platform that will aid in scaling up climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices in the region.

The Platform will support East African countries to address sub-regional issues related to Climate-smart agriculture scale up and will contribute to continental initiatives such as the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance and the AU/NEPAD goal of having 25 million farming households in Africa practicing climate-smart agriculture by 2025.

This was during a two day workshop in Kampala, Uganda hosted by the FAO Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa and the Uganda Climate-Smart Agriculture Task Force with support from the COMESA-EAC-SADC.

Speaking at the meeting, the Uganda Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries  Hon. Tress Bucyanayandi said that  there is need for drastic and innovative measures to help Uganda and indeed the whole of Eastern Africa to adapt to climate change.

“Climate change is already affecting food production systems and therefore the livelihoods and food security of millions of people, especially women who depend on agriculture for a living”. He said “But the agriculture sector also has the biggest potential to contribute to climate change mitigation either through reducing emissions, improving production or creating carbon sinks. This can be done by adopting CSA practices such as conservation agriculture and agroforestry”. He encouraged the support of all partners in implementing Uganda’s and indeed Eastern Africa’s climate change adaptation and mitigation plans.

The meeting brought together participants from Ministries of Agriculture in 6 Eastern African Countries in addition  to key Regional Economic Communities (EAC and IGAD) in the sub-region to deliberated on issues around the adoption and sustained practice of climate-smart agriculture including monitoring and evaluation of climate-smart agriculture, value chain development for climate-smart agriculture, access to equipment for climate-smart agriculture , mainstreaming CSA into national agriculture investment plans and the  gender dimensions  in promotion of CSA practices among others.

The experts recognized the need for all  countries to have functioning national CSA task forces in order to support a coordinated approach to CSA promotion efforts at country level. The experts also welcomed the formation of a Sub-regional CSA Platform that would take the lead on sub-regional efforts to scale up climate-smart agriculture. To support the Platform the experts identified key focus areas and activities that formed the basis of a work plan and resource mobilization strategy to guide the sub-regional CSA scale up efforts.

While addressing the delegates at the meeting, the FAO Deputy Country Representative Mr. Massimo Castiello said that the climate-smart agriculture concept which tackles climate change in an integrated manner by sustainably increasing productivity; building the resilience of people to climate change and weather variability; and contributing to climate change mitigation must be a priority for the sub-region.

“In this way food security and climate change can be addressed together by transforming agricultural production and adopting agricultural practices that are climate-smart,”said Mr Castiello.

 

About CSA

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), as defined and presented by FAO at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010 is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change. It contributes to the achievement of national food security and development goals with three objectives:

  1. Sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes;
  2. Adapt and build resilience to climate change
  3. Reduce and remove greenhouse gas emissions where possible

Climate-smart agriculture is an approach to help guide actions to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively and sustainably support development and food security under a changing climate. The three objectives imply a need for more efficient and resilient agricultural systems.

There is sufficient evidence that Climate Smart Agriculture practices such as conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, integrated pest management, crop rotation, mulching and residue management and others, are promising options that, overtime can sustainably increase the productivity of smaller holder farmers as well as their profitability and resilience without compromising the environment. These CSA systems are however, not widely used in the Eastern Africa Sub-region, partly because there is limited awareness, capacity, knowledge and policy support for the widespread use of CSA technologies. There is therefore a need to scale up such practices across the Eastern Africa countries as a whole. Increasing and sustaining agricultural production and productivity, as well as developing the resilience of agricultural systems to adverse weather events and climate change is fundamental to achieving food security in the sub-region.

 

Contact:

Agatha.ayebazibwe@fao.org

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