Delegates at both the national and regional levels in Africa, as well as scientists and agriculture experts will be brainstorming together Thursday, October 25, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, for a unique high-level policy session to discuss needed changes for withstanding the effects of climate change on agriculture and food security on the continent.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is sponsoring the event, which can be seen live via webcast.
Dr. Robert Zougmore is the west Africa regional program leader of the group. He said the goal of the high-level meeting is to draw attention to key stakeholders in the future of agriculture and food security at both the regional and national levels.
“In west Africa, agriculture is the driver of the economy of most countries because it contributes to about 40 percent of the GDP in countries. In that regard, we see climate change as an additional threat to an already existing constraint to agriculture. If we need to consider the future of agriculture we really need to, from right now, look at how climate change can impact the agricultural sector so that it will not be seriously constrained,” said Zougmore.
According to Zougmore, most of the countries in west Africa have not reached their full potential in their yield of major crops, so there is room to improve in terms of productivity.
“For instance, we should consider better management of fertilizers in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the application of fertilizers. Also, we should consider how to manage livestock in order to reduce methane emissions. So we are trying to promote some best practices management that is somehow climate-proof, including the use of crop varieties that are more adaptable to the future climate,” said Zougmore.
Zougmore said the Sahel region of Africa is a good example of where better management of crops is needed. The area often endures severe droughts which cause crop failure, and in turn increase food insecurity for a large part of the population. To listen to the entire interview please click on audio.