climate-smart agriculture
Tomato plants in greenhouse

FAO calls for adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture to improve crop yields in Africa

The effects of climate change all over the world have necessitated the adoption of climate-smart agriculture. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has called for the adoption of climate-smart agriculture to improve crop yields in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Africa.

The organisation warned that reliance on rainfed agriculture could lower crop yields and reduce food consumption in the six SIDS in the continent if climate-smart techniques and practices are not adopted.

Also, the FAO called for urgent and transformative action to reduce poverty, vulnerability to temperature, rainfall variations, and increased risk of prolonged droughts and floods caused by climate change in the developing states.

Climate-Smart Agriculture

The FAO made the call in a recent study by its Regional Office for Africa and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics/Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security launched in December.

According to the report, these threats, combined with reliance on rainfed agriculture, could lower crop yields and countries’ food consumption, if climate-smart techniques and practices are not adopted.

Titled “transforming agriculture in Africa’s Small Island the Developing States: lessons learnt and options for climate-smart agriculture investment in Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Seychelles,” the report revealed that these six states face the same basic problems and need support for system-wide capacity development for at-scale, transformational action to protect the nutrition and food supplies of their communities.

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Speaking on the report, co-author of the study and FAO’s Natural Resources Officer Albert Nikiema said renewable energy, rainwater-harvesting cisterns, nutrition-sensitive and sustainable local foodstuffs, and climate information systems for farmers, pastoralists, and fisherfolk need urgent investments.

He said “The African SIDS already face so many challenges without climate change and they need as many weapons in their armoury as possible for the fight against it. Agriculture must be climate-smart, or family livelihoods and health are going to suffer.”

Climate-Smart Agriculture
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Meanwhile, the report noted that Guinea-Bissau has a high undernourishment rate of 20.7 percent of its population, which is one of the very highest for any of the SIDS worldwide.

The report read in part, “Guinea-Bissau also has the highest number of people living below the poverty line of the three African SIDS at 69.3 percent of the population, with Cabo Verde having 26.6 percent of people living below the poverty line and Seychelles 13.6 percent.

“All of them have a narrow resource base, are reliant on ocean resources, have high food imports and high costs for energy, transportation, and fuel. It is a specific and complex picture.”

On his part, FAO Senior Forestry Officer Nora Berrahmouni said the natural environment in each of these three Africa SIDS is fragile and is threatened.

“High tides, flooding, and storms are a worry for all of them, and many people in Seychelles for example, remember the storm which took over 1,000 of their endemic palms.

“Flooding has affected agricultural land in all three African SIDS in the past decade – that is frightening for the 58 percent of people in Guinea-Bissau who make their living from agriculture.

“And it is important to also highlight that all the SIDS worldwide combined, all 58 of them, produce just one percent of carbon dioxide emissions. This is not a problem of their making,” Berrahmouni added.

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Climate-Smart Agriculture
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The Choice Press is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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