Smallholder farmers in Africa and climate change



Innovative climate change partnerships bring hope for smallholder farmers in Africa

Vivian Atakos, Vanessa Meadu and Catherine Mungai (CCAFS East Africa)

Report back from Farmers Day at the UN Climate Change Conference.

If the music changes, you must change the dance steps. So goes a popular proverb from West Africa. This has been the realization of Kisilu Musya, a small scale farmer from the Eastern part of Kenya, a semi-arid region experiencing some of the worst impacts of climate change.

Kisilu remembers well his farming system 15 years ago.“The rains were plenty. I grew local maize varieties every season and received a bumper harvest each time,” he told the audience at a side event organized by the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance on 2 December in Paris. However, with a changing climate, he noted that over a period of time local maize varieties no longer gave good yields. He was struggling to feed his family of nine children and wife Christina. Subsequently, he joined a farmer field school operating in his village where he amassed knowledge on new farming methods and accessed drought-tolerant seed varieties. Now a research farmer, Kisilu tries out new crop varieties, determining which ones yield best before sharing lessons with his community. His main concern, however, is the need for long term solutions: where crops, trees and cattle work together to form a sustainable and long term circle of produce.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA)

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) relates to actions both on-farm and beyond the farm, and incorporates technologies, policies, institutions and investments. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Evidence of impact

Climate-Smart Agriculture takes root in Africa

by Vivian Atakos, Sékou Touré, Oluwabunmi Ajilore (CCAFS)

As we celebrate Africa Environment day, we highlight Climate-Smart Agriculture and its potential in addressing some of the pressing environmental and developmental challenges facing the continent.

“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments,” said Wangari Maathai, the internationally renowned activist acknowledged for her struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation.

Dr. Maathai frequently narrated her childhood experience: a world where food was present in the farms all year round and birds would chirp as frogs croaked in anticipation of the rains. Today, over 50 years later, Africa is a different place. Climate related shocks such as droughts and floods are more frequent and are altering how people gain access to food, changing the balance between work, trade and transfers.

As we mark the Africa Environment Day on March 3, we highlight climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and their potential in improving productivity and livelihoods. Climate-smart agriculture is the result of practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity, support farmers’ adaptation to climate change, and where possible reduce levels of greenhouse gases. CSA can also help governments to achieve national food security and poverty reduction goals.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

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