Stakeholders deliberate on food security solutions
Agricultural value chain stakeholders from 40 countries began deliberations in Accra on the use of climate-smart and green technology solutions for food security in Africa.
The conference is themed: “Introspection on climate-smart agricultural actions to enhance accountability, resource use and impact in Africa”, and is organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the EU and other partners.
Among the issues discussed are creating opportunities for international collaborations, investing in resilient crop varieties and adopting sustainable agricultural practices to mitigate the threat.
Among the 350 attendees at the three-day Science and Partnerships for Agriculture (SPAC) conference, which kicked off yesterday[September 14, 2022]are scholars, researchers and policy makers from Africa and the EU.
Others join remotely through a dedicated zoom platform.
Other thematic areas under deliberation are the role of digitalization in promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in smallholder systems, the link between CSA and mechanization of smallholder systems in Africa, bottom-up and system-wide capacity development approaches to improve CSA practices, building support for extension and advisory services to ensure CSA compliance among smallholder farmers in Africa and progress in the generation and use of CSA technology in crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture.
The outcomes of the conference will contribute to Africa’s position at the upcoming Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (CoP 27) in Egypt in November 2022.
Food and Agriculture Minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has called for strategic innovations to address the threats posed by the climate crisis.
He said the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector and the cross-cutting nature of the climate crisis required countries to work together to identify solutions.
“Projections to 2024 show the possibility of continued warming and decreasing rainfall, particularly over northern and southern Africa, and increased rainfall over the Sahel.
“These changes will affect food systems and will only require science and policy action to enable the world to respond appropriately,” he said.
The minister said agriculture was responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, the second largest contributor to the climate crisis.
“Scientists need to come up with new technologies and knowledge that will help us produce food and fiber in a sustainable way and in line with new climate realities. We will need new farming systems and techniques that will help us produce more with fewer external inputs,” he added.
Dr. Akoto mentioned the Planting for Food and Employment (PFJ), Livestock for Food and Employment, and Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) initiatives and l horticulture and mechanization as some of the policies implemented by the government over the past six years.
FARA Board Chair Dr. Alioune Fall described SPAC as timely and relevant, as it provided an opportunity for agricultural value chain stakeholders and policy makers to explore smart technologies and green to help transform agriculture.
He said the current challenges facing the sector, such as climate change, drought, deforestation and lack of funding, required international collaborations to tackle.
Dr Fall said that once adopted, CSA and green technologies would not only help tackle the climate crisis but also motivate the continent’s youth to venture into agriculture.