On March 27 and 28 in Dakar, Senegal academics, researchers, development partners, civil society and representatives of 38 member states gathered for the 3rd Africa Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Alliance Forum to review progress made towards Vision 25x25. Delegates shared lessons and insights on how to drive sustained adoption of CSA in the African context. The Forum also discussed how CSA can offer meaningful economic opportunities to millions of Africa’s youths despite a changing climate. Discussions focused on finding effective financing models for large scale CSA investments on the continent, and how to facilitate mutually beneficial and commercially sustainable partnerships between the private sector and smallholder farmers in CSA interventions.
To achieve the ambitious Vision 25x25, delegates agreed that accelerated action is required on many fronts. New approaches for deploying development finance in transformative ways that unlock private sector investments are urgently needed to accelerate adoption of CSA. Equally critical is the role of governments in creating a supportive environment of policies and services, as well as risk management instruments that enable farmers to make the transition to CSA. To galvanise the African youths, a strong agribusiness approach that results in meaningful economic opportunities, was singled out as the most promising route in designing CSA solutions.
The world’s population is expected to grow to almost 9 billion by 2050, with the bulk of that growth predicted to take place in Africa. To keep up with rising demand and changing consumption patterns, food production will need to increase by up to 70%. Achieving this steep target in the face of climate change is a daunting undertaking. Climate change threatens to derail progress made so far in fighting food insecurity and poverty in Africa. Rainfall is increasingly variable in timing, amount, and intensity. Both drought and flooding have become more frequent and severe. Across the continent, more than 51 million smallholder farming households still depend on rain fed agricultural production systems, putting them at severe risk from a changing climate. These risks are magnified by a lack of resources, technologies information, and support services needed by farmers to adapt their farming systems to the changing climate. Unless urgent action is taken to help farmers adapt to climate change, tens of millions of farming households on the continent face food insecurity, economic marginalisation and poverty.
The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, adapted by African Heads of State and Government at the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit in 2014, repositioned agriculture as a priority on the continental development agenda. Commitment 6 of the Malabo Declaration calls for AU members states to “enhance resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks”. AU member states are expected to “ensure that at least 30% of farm, pastoral and fisher households are resilient to climate and weather related risks”.
In Malabo, African leaders and member states also adopted the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Vision 25X25 which aims to support at least 25 million farm households in practicing CSA by 2025.
The Africa CSA Alliance Forum through which the African Union Development Agency collaborates with all stakeholders and partners towards the attainment of Vision 25X25 was established in 2015. The forum brings together AU member states, the RECs, representatives from the private sector, development partners, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to share lessons and insights, as well as opportunities for driving sustained adoption of CSA by African farmers.
The 3rd Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Forum followed the success of the 1st and the 2nd Africa CSA Alliance Forums held in 2015 and 2016. Jointly organised by African Union Development Agency, the African Union Commission with support from GIZ and Norad, the 3rd Forum was themed “Towards Vision 25x25 – Taking stock of CSA in Africa”.
Source: African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)