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Partners in Africa share innovations and financing opportunities for Climate-Smart Agriculture


15/05/2018

FAO participates in “The one with Water” panel discussion at the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture summit in Kenya

Nairobi - Leaders, regional governments, NGOs, Civil Societies, aid agencies, UN and donor organisations, and the private sector gathered in Nairobi for a two-day Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Summit organized by Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) to discuss and share ‘success stories’ on partnerships, innovations and financing Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Africa.

“Africa has a great diversity of agroclimatic and socioeconomic conditions. To realize the potential of small-scale irrigation in a sustainable way, its development should be guided by a supportive policy environment and by careful assessments of the local context, water resource availability, and the expected climate change impacts,” said Federica Matteoli, FAO’s Natural Resources Officer moderating the panel discussion, “The One with Water – Water Smart Agriculture.”

The FAO representation in Kenya has supported the Government of Kenya, working very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment to develop and launch its CSA Strategy. Matteoli also mentioned FAO’s role in supporting the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA) to produce and share knowledge on CSA. 

The discussion on Water-Smart Agriculture

The panel looked at how small-scale irrigation water management is transforming the resilience and productivity of CSA practices. 

In response to the question “what are the most promising technologies and innovations for small-scale irrigation, in terms of both equipment and practices, especially linking them to the three pillars of CSA?” Mr. Lawrence Kiguro, Associate Director of Livelihoods and Resilience at World Vision Kenya, described how they built 24 initial small scale schemes that allowed farmers to harvest their own water for crop production by building water ports, which can hold rain water long-term and bring the water source to the farmer. 

Ms. Caroline Maua, Country Program Manager for Lutheran World Relief Kenya, addressed the crucial elements needed to facilitate farmers’ access to markets to sell surplus produce from small-scale irrigation. Once the markets are identified, the farmers  must be organized. Farmer organizations are crucial in moving the value chain forward and accessing finance. She added that farmers must produce quality products and this begins with initial inputs from the farmers, for example seeds and fertilizers. 

When discussing how to incorporate technologies and innovation that will resonate with a youth farmer demographic, Mr. John Kinaga, Director of Programs & Partnerships - Africa, Kickstart, highlighted agro-partnership trainings and said that with his experience at Kickstart, “there is already a high potential for youth in irrigation. He explained that young farmers are eager to receive payments on a weekly or monthly basis, unlike older generations, they are less willing to wait three months of a season to see income results. The entry point for youth in irrigation is through trainings, so problems can be solved and holistic solutions can be implemented to help partners make the right decisions.” 

FAO participated in the summit by showcasing recent publications on its CSA work in the Exhibition Area at the conference centre. FAO Kenya Office celebrated 40 years this past year and FAO launched the second edition of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in November. On the FAO table in the Exhibition area there were FAO CSA Sourcebook Summary Booklets, an Infographic and information about FAO Kenya’s work across its counties.