African agriculture facing climate change

20-Nov-2017

COP23, which ended last Friday in Bonn, is intended to remind governments and policymakers of the importance of combating global warming and placing the world on a path towards more sustainable and inclusive development.

Indeed, during the twentieth century, the temperature increased by 0.74 ° C, this situation is very alarming when we see that the average global warming rate for the last fifty years is almost double that of the hundred latest.

In addition, the African continent, which has contributed the least to this situation, is facing global warming 1.5 times higher than the global average. This climate change generates negative situations for the daily life of the inhabitants: worsening of extreme climatic phenomena: droughts, floods, hot weather, famine.

According to the global adaptation index of Notre-Dame University (Indiana, USA), eight of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change are African, a constraining situation when we know that the agricultural sector determines the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people. These new climate cycles increase the likelihood of poor harvests and spread various shortages and diseases.

The African continent depends on the agricultural sector. It employs about 65% of the labor force, accounting for about 25% of GDP. Global warming of about two degrees Celsius could lead to a 10 percent reduction in total agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050, according to the Africa Adaptation gap report of the United Nations Environment Program. (UNEP). By the middle of the century, production of the major cereals in Africa, wheat, maize, sorghum and millet could fall by 17%, 5%, 15% and 10%.

To meet this challenge, it is critical that African governments and policymakers work together with civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to build a sustainable and inclusive African agricultural model.

Initiatives such as the African Platform for Contributions (Africa NDC Hub) launched on November 15 during COP 23 and administered by the AfDB, including 11 partners, illustrate this desire to bring national solutions to this global problem. .

Initiatives already exist on the continent, especially in Zambia where 61% of farmers want to mitigate the effects of climate change through the adaptation of their ecosystems using natural systems and methods of storing water. In Ghana, farmers have encouraged wild pollinators to forage for their chilli crops in order to increase yields and hasten maturation. Another example in Burkina Faso, where several farmers have developed sustainable traditional methods, such as the creation of micro-basins to revitalize soils through organic materials.

Registers of good practices are present in several African countries, their wide dissemination would be beneficial for all farmers. In addition, the growth of alternative and modern solutions promoted by startups should be encouraged. In Niger, social entrepreneur Maman Abdou Kané has developed a remote remote irrigation system that has improved the management of water and the living conditions of populations through the use of a mobile application.

As we have seen, a large number of solutions are emerging on the continent to respond to the climate emergency. It is the combination of on-the-ground efforts and the support of governments and international institutions to find concrete answers to Africa's immense challenge.