To Increase Sustainable Agricultural Practices


Photo credit: Food Tank

Tata Somba, Benin – September 6, 2012: Local woman with a small child passing through the green field. –

New Report Urges African Governments to Increase Sustainable Agricultural Practices

by Marisa Tsai

Recently, the Montpellier Panel, a team of African and European experts in agriculture, trade, ecology, and global development, released a report titled, “Set for Success: Climate-Proofing the Malabo Declaration.” The report reviews the climate-related targets of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, a set of agricultural goals adopted at the African Union Summit in 2014. Panelists urge African governments to better address climate change challenges by increasing support for smallholder farmers and scaling up innovative programs.

According to the report, the impacts of climate change pose a high risk to African food security and economic growth. Agricultural activities employ between 60 and 90 percent of the African workforce and account for as much as 40 percent of total export earnings. The millions of smallholder farmers, who own less than one hectare of land, are especially vulnerable to increases in temperatures and extreme weather events. Authors warn that hunger and child malnutrition could increase by 20 percent by the year 2050, effectively reversing the gains of the Millennium Development Goals efforts and jeopardizing the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, COP21 commitments, and the Malabo Declaration.

The briefing paper urges African governments to fully recognize the risks of climate change to agricultural productivity and food security. The report recognizes that African countries’ National Agricultural Investment Plans have begun adopting climate-smart agriculture objectives, approaches that provide adaption and mitigation to climate shocks and emphasize location-specific and knowledge-intensive processes.

Read the full story: Food Tank

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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