Africa’s future will depend on its ability to improve resilience to climate change – NEPAD

The effects of climate change on Africa are numerous but agriculture on the continent is particularly vulnerable to unpredictable weather as more than 95 percent of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa is rain-fed. Food security is, therefore, threatened when extreme weather conditions like are being experienced in many parts of Africa. There is a great need for resilience to climate change.

“Collaboration by various stakeholders including governments, NGOs and research bodies is needed now to rapidly scale-up the African agricultural sector to improve food security and resilience to climate change,” said Mrs Estherine Fotabong, NEPAD Programmes Director, at the NEPAD Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) event held on the sidelines of COP21 in Paris, on December 7.

Research by NEPAD through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme shows that climate change effects are becoming more frequent and more severe, threatening the reliability and productivity of agriculture, exacerbating the already extreme levels of poverty, and reinforcing persistent inequity and chronic under-nutrition.

The African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is, therefore, supporting the implementation of CSA in Africa through the Agriculture Climate Change Programme and other related initiatives. These efforts will sustainably increase productivity, resilience and adaptation, as well as build capacity at all levels, especially for smallholder farmers and institutions in order to attain the goal of 25 million African farmers practicing Climate-Smart Agriculture by 2025.

“The African agricultural sector employs 65 per cent  of the continent’s population, 50 percent of them are women and climate change is predicted to have significant impact on agriculture, therefore, constituting a major hurdle for Africa,” notes Mr Miti Chikakula, COMESA Agriculture Officer. “By adopting CSA practices, smallholder farmers can reduce the risks they face due to climate change, while enhancing food security and livelihoods,” he added.

Mr Martin Bwalya, NEPAD Coordinator of Programme Implementation reaffirmed NEPAD’s commitment to fighting climate change in Africa and also to enhancing resilience and livelihoods through  smart collaboration across all disciplines and sectors; evidence based processes; expanding the cadre of negotiators in terms of numbers and fields; strengthening capacities of smallholder farmers and institutions; embracing local knowledge and involving women who are active participants and players in agriculture.