Africa Talk

Time to Scale Up Climate Resilient Agriculture in the SADC Region

In terms of awareness creation, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region has done exceedingly well. The regional and national governments, civil society organisations, and some private sector are all seized with the issue of climate change, emerging as a major global phenomena requiring coordinated and collective approaches to addressing it. Although the contribution to the increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHG) by African states is relatively small, the risks paused by climate change and related variability are real, with extreme weather conditions already causing havoc. In the recent past, the SADC region has experienced intermittent drought and rainfall patterns, floods and cyclones, all with devastating effects to the region’s food systems. In the face of seemingly surmountable challenges, the region has not abandoned hope, remaining steadfast in its pursuit of opportunities to adapt and/or mitigate against the climate challenge.

Across SADC member states, numerous investments have been made in pilot studies aimed at establishing the most appropriate approaches to building the resilience of the region’s agriculture sector, especially that of smallholder farmers, the producers of the bulk of the region’s food. And after a number of trials, the region is replete with proven interventions whose implementation holds the key to building climate resilience. However, the implementation of these measures is constrained by the lack of financial, institutional and human capacities. To address this, there is need to mobilize investment which is central to supporting the necessary transformation and the scaling of climate resilient agriculture. 

In an effort to support the SADC region and its member states to secure commitment and interest from investors towards the scaling of climate resilient agriculture interventions in the region, the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) with support from Supported by the SADC/German Development Cooperation (GIZ) ‘Adaptation to Climate Change in Rural Areas in Southern Africa (ACCRA) Programme has been leading a multi-institution collaboration initiative designed to ‘Scale up climate resilient agriculture in the SADC Region and fostering investment through innovative engagement from local to global levels’. Equipped with evidence of successful climate adaptation and mitigation technologies, practices and approaches, the initiative has profiled and presented investment proposals for scaling climate resilient agriculture at key global platforms which include the 5th Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture, held in Bali, Indonesia,  the SADC Intra ACP GCCA+ Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa; the FANRPAN Annual Regional Policy Dialogues that was held in Kigali, Rwanda; with the climax being a side event at the UNFCCC CoP25, in Madrid, Spain.

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The FANRPAN team with partners at CoP25, Madrid, Spain

Through the initiative three diverse investment pitches have been developed by partners based on successful climate resilient projects from the SADC region:

  1. Transforming Crop & Livestock Production Systems for Climate Resilience In southern Africa –  seeks to expand the uptake of climate-smart agriculture and pastoral production systems that are more resilient to climate shocks and soil fertility breakdown; leading to higher yields and incomes, and healthier populations, ecosystems and economies while creating an enabling policy environment to combat climate change.
  1. Digitalizing Agricultural Transformation through Bundling Agricultural Advisories and Risk Insurance in Southern Africa (SADC) – seeks to increase food security and stabilize climate-resilient agricultural production in southern Africa (Malawi and Zambia) through improved access to climate-informed agricultural advisories, risk insurance, agricultural finance and markets, and public private partnerships. 
  1. Harnessing the potential of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) in enhancing climate change resilience among the rural farming communities in SADC –  seeks to improve the use and conservation of adapted varieties by farmers in the region leading to increased productivity and on-farm incomes, increased availability of diverse nutrient-rich foods, reduced adverse impacts to the environment, and enhanced resilience to production shocks.
Sithembile Mwamakamba (FANRPAN) and Dr Lefulesele Lebesa (Chief Researcher – Department of Agricultural Research – Lesotho) prepare for the side event

F. Hale (FANRPAN); V. Chinoko (CARE); Hon. S. Ngwenya (former SG for COMESA); and T. Madzivhandila (FANRPAN) at CoP25, Madrid, Spain

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