The world is in the middle of a climate crisis and continents around the world are already feeling the impact – heatwaves, melting glaciers, drought, floods, etc.
In Africa, the climate crisis has intensified the vulnerability of the continent’s agriculture, leading to far-reaching consequences which are extending to its food system thereby making food security and poverty reduction a greater challenge.
The impact of climate change in the continent is being felt in the agriculture sector as temperatures continue to rise, rainfall patterns change, and pests increase and destroy food crops. This is lowering livestock productivity and leading to a decrease in crop yields as well as the nutritional quality of major cereals.
However, one cannot ignore the impact of agriculture on the environment even though it is bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.
Agriculture is a major contributor to human-induced climate change – generating a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and this has not only necessitated farming systems adapting to the changes but has also brought to the fore the potential that agriculture has to greatly mitigate climate impacts.
This need to adapt to the changes in the farming systems as well as harness the mitigating tendencies of agriculture in the climate crisis birthed what we now know as climate-smart agriculture.
Climate-smart agriculture simply refers to the approach that is employed to reorient and transform agricultural systems – crop/cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries – to enable food security under the new realities of climate change.
This approach helps to shape actions aimed at transforming agricultural food systems via sustainable and climate-resilient practices and it includes:
• Building resilience and adaptation to climate change.
• Increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way to support a fair increase in income, food security, and development.
• Developing opportunities that are aimed at reducing emissions from agriculture.
For agriculture across Africa to undergo a significant transformation to meet demands – food security, food quality increase, income yield, and a sustainable and safe environment, substantial investments in adaptation are required.
Farmers, policymakers, researchers, business leaders, and non-profit organizations in Africa need to make climate-smart agriculture mainstream in the continent and drive the transformation of Africa’s agriculture into a more sustainable and profitable sector.