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Africa's food security relies on climate smart agriculture

04 Jul 2022 at 06:59hrs | Views
THERE has not been a more demanding time for Africa to adopt modern agriculture methods than now. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, food security in Africa is threatened at all levels and farming activities have nearly been brought to a standstill.

African farmers lost market as borders closed and flights were grounded to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the pandemic severely affected agriculture value chains from supply of inputs to transporting the end product.

Africa now finds itself more in need of modern farming methods to increase production in a cost-effective manner.

However, while attempting to increase production, African farmers must also mitigate the effects of climate change by adopting climate-smart agriculture.

There is need to use improved seed varieties even in the backdrop of the side effects of using hybrid seeds. Improved seed varieties are more resistant to disease and poor weather, the yield more and they do so fast, an obvious solution to food shortage.

Modern technology is the solution to Africa's production, harvesting and post-harvesting complications. Most small-scale farmers, who actually make up the majority of farmers, still use old methods to till their land and this hampers their productivity, especially in the face of negative effects of climate change.

Where there are cases of good production, comes the issue of storage and transportation. Farmers may get good output, but then their produce loses quality during harvesting, storage and transportation.

To improve and increase food production, there is need for concerted efforts and public-private partnership across all value chains. The private sector has the technology and the financial muscle and the government has the policy advocacy that can bridge the technology gap.

East Africa is taking steps towards adopting smart climate agriculture like the recent investment from the Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (Craft).

This is a multi-country project that specifically targets several legumes including soybeans and sesame as well as potatoes, sorghum and sunflower across the East Africa Community (EAC).

Funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the five-year project advocates describe it as a climate innovation and investment facility, that will help to support performance-based investments so as to build the resilience of private sector agribusinesses and service providers in the targeted value

In Tanzania, four companies have already entered into partnership pacts that are worth over €567 000.

It is envisioned that the programme will help the EAC boost its productivity, that through smart climate agriculture methods, EAC farmers can increase and sustain production for their countries food security.

The Craft project is very selective.

It only invests in companies that have demonstrated from their own internally generated funds as well as from third party providers like financiers and beneficiaries, that their businesses are viable.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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