Agriculture in AfricaAgriculture is central to livelihoods across East and Southern Africa, and is a key driver of growth for many countries’ economies.
Agriculture in Africa
Climate change threatens to exacerbate current problems facing smallholder farmers, including food insecurity and lower incomes. Across East and Southern Africa, tens of millions of smallholder farmers are exposed to the impacts of climate change; impacts which are added to the pre-existing fragility of their livelihoods. Across the region, we are seeing climate impacts such as:
- Average annual temperatures that have increased by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, during the last 25 years. A similar rise is expected over the next 30 years.
- Drought is already endemic, but may become more frequent.
- Rainfall intensity is expected to increase, possibly leading to more erosion and flooding.
Farming practices exist which appear to help reduce the negative impacts of climate change, and to reduce emissions of Greenhouse gases. In spite of that, adoption of those practices has been very slow, compared to other comparable geographic regions. As a result, farmers remain exposed and their “climate resilience” is still very low.
Farmers need to adapt their decisions and practices to more changeable weather patterns, in addition to existing problems such as declining productivity and lack of access to suitable inputs, information, finance and markets.
Climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices are recognised to help farmers increase food production, become more resilient to climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions where possible. But evidence of ‘what works’ is still evolving and sustainable results are not yet seen at scale.