Resources on climate change and African agriculture

| April 28, 2019

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The following six documents represent a variety of opinions and perspectives on the issue of climate change and African farming. Some are opinion pieces; some are more technical documents.

How farmers can adapt to a changing climate. Farm Radio Resource Pack 89, item 7, 2007.

This document provides background information on climate change to help you prepare radio programs on the topic. You could tell farmers in your region about some of the ways that climate change affects farmers. Then you could discuss strategies that local farmers might use to successfully adapt to climate change. Talk to farmers to see what their experience has been with changing weather. Have they found new practices, or used traditional practices, that help them adapt to the new conditions? To help you produce programs on climate change, this document notes a number of past Farm Radio International scripts that you might find helpful.

Despite climate change, Africa can feed Africa. By Richard Munang and Jessica Andrews of the United Nations Environmental Program, published in Africa Renewal (2014).

Excerpted from the article: “The changing climate does not have to mean greater food insecurity in Africa. Many communities across the continent are already building resilience by stimulating their existing ecosystems and available natural resource bases. Building on such good practices, and properly managing the unavoidable effects of climate change, will unlock Africa’s potential to feed itself. The future need not be a future of want.”

Adaptation of African Agriculture to Climate change. By Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2017).

This blog post discusses both how agriculture contributes to climate change and how climate change affects agriculture, particularly in Africa. Eight of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change are African and 95% of agriculture is rainfed in Africa. The article also discusses how IFAD is taking action and discusses IFAD’s projects, particularly efforts to support water management and land management. The article also discusses the roles of public and private actors in addressing climate change.

Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture across Africa. A technical article by Laura Pereira, excerpted from an Oxford Encyclopaedia of Environmental Science (2017).

From the article: “Much of African agriculture’s vulnerability to climate change lies in the fact that its agricultural systems remain largely rain-fed and underdeveloped, as the majority of Africa’s farmers are small-scale farmers with few financial resources, limited access to infrastructure, and disparate access to information. At the same time, as these systems are highly reliant on their environment, and farmers are dependent on farming for their livelihoods, their diversity, context specificity, and the existence of generations of traditional knowledge offer elements of resilience in the face of climate change. Overall, however, the combination of climatic and non-climatic drivers and stressors will exacerbate the vulnerability of Africa’s agricultural systems to climate change, but the impacts will not be universally felt. Climate change will impact farmers and their agricultural systems in different ways, and adapting to these impacts will need to be context-specific.”

Food Security and Climate Change in Africa: A Question of Political Will. By Robert Winterbottom, the World Resources Institute (2014).

With many graphs and images, this blog post illustrates the impact of climate change on agriculture and the impact of agriculture on the environment in Africa. It also discusses the “triple win” of climate-smart agriculture, which can increase productivity and resilience, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

African peasants demand climate justice to regional governments: “Time of real solutions is now”. A press release from La Via Campesina, a global farmers’ rights organization (2018).

This press release is a response to what La Via Campesina identifies as the shortcomings of two decades of United Nations negotiations on climate change and the limited action of African governments. The farmers’ rights organization calls on the Ministerial Committee responsible for Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment and respective regional governmental bodies to demand climate justice and adopt peasant-based solutions, such as agroecology and food sovereignty.