What will the African Agriculture Revolution look like?

by Michael Victor, CPWF

Africa is going through its own agriculture revolution. According to studies from the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, Africa can produce 3-4 times more food through improved agriculture water management practices.

The learning event on “How can rainwater management help support smallholder farmers’ ability to adapt to climate variability and change?” explored how rainwater management strategies have the potential to boost agriculture production across the board in Africa and improve livelihoods. Continue reading

Evergreen agriculture can Build Resilience and Increase Food Security in the Face of Climate Change

Improving the adoptability of promising agroforestry. A project staff member at the Machakos research center compares a maize plant’s roots with that of Grevillea. They are held at a corresponding point to soil level when planted. Photo by Sahar Nimeh ©IFAD

by Paul Stapleton, World Agroforestry Centre

How do we raise awareness of the potential for evergreen agriculture (EA) as an approach to improve livelihoods, adaptation and mitigation in the tropics, and its successful expansion in Africa? This was the theme of a learning event organized by the World Agroforestry Centre, IFAD, UNEP and the African Development Bank, at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day held in Durban in association with COP17 of the UNFCCC. Continue reading

Agriculture Raises Its Voice in UN Climate Change Negotiations

by Nathan Russell, CIAT

South Africa’s minister of agriculture, Tina Joemat-Petersson, knows a thing or two about negotiating tough issues. So, she had these words of advice for more than 500 representatives of leading agricultural institutions, as they gathered at Durban today to call for action on agriculture in the UN-sponsored climate change deliberations:  Focus on a common message, bury your divisions, and stand together.

“The negotiators are like God, she added in booming cadences, “quick to listen, but slow to answer.” So, make it easy for them to decide in your favor. “Start by putting a bottle of whiskey on the table” – i.e., give them a suitable enticement to cut a deal. Continue reading

Lessons on Best Practices for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Yesterday, more than 500 people joined together in Durban to share practical experience on how to make agriculture climate-smart. Here is a synthesis of best practices, as presented by James Nyoro, of the Rockefeller Foundation

Lessons on best practice for climate smart agriculture from Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011

Summaries from the learning events and presentations from each session will be shared via this blog and website, so please stay tuned!



Press release: a Joint Appeal to COP17 Climate Negotiators

We call on COP17 climate negotiators to take concrete action to include agriculture in the text of the climate agreement. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)

Leading Agricultural Organisations Issue Joint Appeal to COP17 Climate Negotiators at All-Day Event in Durban

Announcement highlights the need for long-term investment and support for improved food security, farmer resilience and climate mitigation efforts in agriculture

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: A group of 16 of the world’s leading agricultural organisations (including three United Nations agencies, the World Bank, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), FANRPAN, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and the World Farmers’ Organisation) has jointly endorsed a letter calling on COP17 climate negotiators to take concrete action to include agriculture in the text of the climate agreement.

The full text of the letter and list of endorsers can be viewed here.

Together, these organizations are hosting an all-day event called Agriculture and Rural Development Day in parallel with the COP17 negotiations in Durban. At the event, more than 500 agricultural experts – including policymakers and negotiators, journalists, farmers, and scientists – are discussing priorities to boost agricultural production while supporting mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Continue reading

What is Climate-Smart Agriculture Anyway?

Worldwide, there are opportunities for agriculture to contribute to efforts to adapt to, and mitigate climate change, while also supporting food security and the fight against poverty. To realize the true potential of climate-smart agriculture, international climate change negotiations must take into these opportunities into account, and adopt policies that create incentives for farmers, help finance projects, and fund continued agricultural research. A new booklet from the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security gives concrete examples of successful climate smart agricultural practices and helps push the agenda forward.
Download it now!  Farming’s Climate Smart Future: Placing Agriculture at the Heart of Climate Change Policy

Climate Information: Malian Farmers’ Most Valuable Tool?

Weather information is a powerful for farmers facing an uncertain climate. PHOTO/P. Casier (CCAFS)

By Vanessa Meadu. This article was originally posted on Reuters AlertNet

Last year in villages across Mali, some farmers harvested bumper crops of millet, sorghum and maize, while their neighbours struggled to produce a high-enough yield to feed their families. Yet they all faced the same dry spells, high temperatures and unpredictable rains.

So what caused such dramatic difference between these two groups? The first group of farmers was not simply lucky. Rather they were reaping the benefits of having had access to weather information and weather-based farm management advisories, thanks to an innovative programme set up by the Mali government in an effort to stave off hunger. Continue reading

Top Scientists from Emerging Economies Call for Agricultural Work Program

Agricultural research expenditures must be increased substantially to address the needs for agricultural adaptation and mitigation. Farmer in Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT).

by Vanessa Meadu. Reposted from the CGIAR Climate Blog.

Today, leading scientists from the BRICS+ countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – plus Indonesia and the United States) have joined to call for an agricultural work programme under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The call is directed at negotiators who are currently gathered in Durban to decide on the future of a global climate treaty. The call comes out of a conference in Beijing last month on food security, which was coordinated by CCAFS partners at the International Food Policy Research Institute

The experts say agricultural research expenditures must be increased substantially to address the needs for agricultural adaptation and mitigation, and highlight twelve priority areas for research, including pests and diseases, storage losses, land use change, international trade, and human capital development. Continue reading

Combining Traditional Knowledge and Climate Science in Chad

This blog post by Giacomo Rambaldi, from CTA – the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation. This blog first appeared on the Reuters Alternet blog Climate Conversations. Reuters Alertnert is the Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011 media partner.

Fulani-Mbororo pastoralists in Chad rest near their cattle. Photo: CTA

Bouba Mal Yaya is a herdsman from the Fulani-Mbororo peoples in Chad. Along with his fellow herders, he had been expecting good grazing for his cattle this year but this has not been the case.

He is confused and frustrated. He had always been able to rely on his people’s age-old knowledge of their ecosystem to sustainably manage grazing. This traditional knowledge has been used by his people to develop strategies to cope with seasonal weather patterns and manage their meagre resources.

The community has typically looked to the elders for predictions on rainfall distribution, drought and other seasonal patterns. Now, it would appear that the reliability of their prediction is undermined by increasingly unpredictable weather and climate conditions. Their livelihoods and future as a culture are under threat.

The cause? Climate change. Continue reading