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CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE ADAPTATION IN AFRICA ~ USAID ROB BERTRAM

At COP 22 Agriculture Day – Science to Action presentation, Dr Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist at USAID Bureau for Food Security, speaks on Adapting to Climate Change in Africa : from Science to Farmers.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Kingdom of Morocco in raising the profile “Agriculture” in the context of the global Climate Change agenda as part of the solution, which is a tremendous contribution and something that needs to be emphasized repeatedly, as it has been been sadly lacking in emphasis!

Developing countries will face the greatest challenge around Climate Change as they depend very heavily on agriculture i.e. they start with an already warm environment and they have less infrastructure and less capitalization that helps buffer that vulnerability.

In terms of Progress and Reasons for optimism, to name a few which have gained momentum around the globe, as follows :
– Rates of poverty and hunger are declining
– Agriculture to Nutrition linkages (Visit : state.gov/s/globalfoodsecurity/rls/rpt/laquila/ )
– SDG Global Commitment (Sustainable Development Goals (Visit : sdgcompass.org/ )
– Malabo Declaration (Visit : hunger-undernutrition.org/blog/2015/07/the-malabo-declaration-will-it-end-hunger-and-poverty-in-africa.html )
– Global Food Security Act 2016 (Visit : bread.org/sites/default/files/bill-analysis-global-food-security-2016.pdf)
– New tools for Adaptation.

In terms of Adaptation, the first step would be ’To Adapt to existing Climate variability’, and some methodologies would be, e.g. utilising stress tolerant maize, (drought tolerant varieties make better use of residual soil moisture), also, improving soil fertility through the use of fertilizer, organic matter, soil moisture holding capacity and especially small scale irrigation in smallholder systems.
We don’t have all the answers, however, New Science today, can and will be very beneficial and a driver towards addressing challenges such as Pests and Diseases and also Heat and Drought tolerances, etc which is very much a reality to the African continent.

The name of the game in Africa is – ‘about bending the curve on low emission development and by using resources smartly, more profitably and in a much more environmentally friendly way than in the past’ ~ this is Climate Smart Agriculture in progress!

Links :
usaid.gov/what-we-do/agriculture-and-food-security (USAID Agriculture and Food Security)

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