Ties that bind: Building climate resilient smallholder agriculture networks in Africa

As governments and regional actors around the world gear up to engage in COP17 Durban, South Africa, it is essential for all stakeholders including farmers’ organisations to have structured engagement and interaction with the ongoing climate deliberations and outcomes. The public expenditure and smallholder agricultural project of Idasa hosted a roundtable discussion on how best to develop climate-resilient smallholder agriculture communities around Africa and how best to shape stakeholder interest in the way climate-based policies and finances are shaping future development and common outcomes in the sector. In this second seminar series, stakeholders discussed the impact of climate change in Africa and mechanisms in creating integrated climate resilient strategies. Panelists, including farmers and CSO leaders from Zambia and South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, shared their experiences in building climate resilient communities. Read more here.


Africa expects deal on agriculture at COP 17

African negotiators at the upcoming COP 17 in Durban should push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture. Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) CEO, Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, said African negotiators should make it their priority to secure a deal that will promote food security for climate change not to wreak havoc any further on the African continent. African political leadership should hold accountable those who will be negotiating on behalf of the continent. It is important for Africa to use COP 17 to push for a better global environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use. Read more here.
Nthambeleni Gabara

Growing Little by Little

Many would argue it an impossible task; changing the farmer to consumer cycle in such a way that effectively feed the poor, create employment and reduce the impact on climate change. Yet from within Cape Town’s poorest areas, a farming revolution is underway. There is no one in sight except for older women hunched over well-maintained rows of healthy looking vegetable plants at the Siyazama Community Allotment Garden Association in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The protection afforded by the food tents, which cushion plants from the harsh elements, helps farmers to reduce the impact of inclement weather on their crops. They could, in the future, in other contexts across the region, help mitigate the effects of climate change and water shortages. Read more here.
Kwanele Sosibo

Plan farms for climate change: Minister

Adapting agriculture in Africa to accommodate drastic climate changes will reap benefits for future food security and the poor, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says, at an African ministerial meeting on climate change in Johannesburg. Climate change could affect agriculture through higher temperatures, greater crop water demand, more variable rainfall and extreme climate conditions like heat waves, floods and droughts. Sub-Saharan Africa was particularly vulnerable as agriculture contributed to 30 percent of the region’s GDP and employed up to 70 percent of its labour force. Political enthusiasm would need to be harnessed to tackle food security, climate change and disaster risk management holistically. Read more here.

What can the Horn of Africa do in the face of severe droughts?

The Horn of Africa is facing a humanitarian catastrophe from the worst drought in 60 years. An estimated 11 million people need emergency assistance to stay alive. The recurrent nature of the crisis especially in the face of climate change calls attention to building resilience to cope. Investment in drought-resilient agriculture and agribusiness can target drought-resistant crops, catalyse the use of rain water harvesting and water conserving technologies, and improve irrigation systems. Read more here.

Africa and the green economy: Crucial conversations

Citizen participation in talks over climate change and green economy issues has been very limited due to legal, scientific and technical language that is explicit to scientists, government delegates and experts and in the subject. In preparation for the COP17, to be held in Durban in December 2011, Idasa’s Smallholder Agriculture project held the first of its seminar series on 16 August with key policy-makers, business, civil society, academics, researchers and smallholder farmers. The aim of the seminar was to create awareness among different stakeholders and to provide a platform for concerned citizens to voice their concerns and opinions on climate change and the transition to a green economy. Read more here.

Climate change and socio-economic development in Africa

Climate change is presently a dilemma that has put policy makers, scientists, and governments in a state of anxiety. The African continent has been targeted by policy makers and researchers for the implementation of reforms and policies to ameliorate, mitigate and adapt to climate change. This paper outlines some of the literature to convey the consequences of climate change on Africa’s socio-economic development as a continent, taking into consideration the fact that climate change predicaments may not be the same for all the nations. Read more here.
Oluwole Akiyode and Adedeji Daramola