Ministers of Agriculture from 30 African countries, including Nigeria last week met to discuss actionable solutions to the threat posed by climate change to agriculture in Africa.
The meeting was the 2nd annual ministerial conference of the Adapting African Agriculture (AAA) Initiative, with the theme “Food Security Facing Climate Change”.
The two-day conference which was held at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Benguerir, Morocco, in partnership with the OCP Africa, also had representatives of International and regional funding organizations and institutions in attendance.
The high point of the conference was the ministerial declaration on the actions needed to tackle head-on, the issue of adapting African agriculture to climate change. Participants agreed that the threats posed by climate change to Agriculture is already manifesting in most African countries.
Citing examples, Tunisia has experienced increased temperatures and 15 percent drop in rainfall, Central African Republic (CAR) has witnessed flooding affecting 10,000 families; a situation that had not been experienced in 50 years according to the CAR Minister.
Also, Agricultural productivity in Togo has dropped significantly; the annual rains in Somalia currently does not support the crop cycle; Lesotho is battling with draught, delayed summer cropping and diminished surface water.
Speaking at the conference, the Nigeria Minister for Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, acknowledged the need for immediate actions to solve the threats from climate change, stating the need for interstate and inter-regional cooperation to confront the problem. He cited the example of Lake Chad which is experiencing reduced productivity as a result of climate change.
“For example, the Lake Chad which is bordered by Nigeria, Chad and Cameroun and by proxy, other African countries within the region. We have to see how we can collaborate because this is affecting all the countries within the region. We need to be less territorial in our thinking, so that we do not continue to face this challenge in Africa.
“We also need to think of how we manage the other resources that are available to us and maximize them. This will also require inter-regional cooperation between African countries and will enable us to greatly deal with the challenges of global warming. Finally, we also need to look at local solutions: like our existing laws, which we will need to review in the light of the challenges in order to have a common front in facing the challenges of climate change. This will prevent African countries from working at cross roads. I hope that as we move along, the emphasis on inter-regional cooperation will be given prominence,” Alhaji Nanono said.