African Farmers Forced to Adapt to Climate Change

Work needed by UN on preparing farmers for impacts

BONN, GERMANY : As negotiations continued at UN climate talks, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) emphasised that there must be a greater focus and support for farmers in poor countries to adapt to the impacts of an already changing climate.

Seyni Nafo, Spokesperson of the African Group said: "Agriculture is the lifeline and mainstay of livelihoods for three out of four Africans, and therefore adaptation to climate change in this critical sector is not an option but a necessity. African farmers and pastoralists are already seeing changes in the timing of rains, in the severity of rains, in temperatures, and in the progressive drying of their soils."

Mr. Nafo further noted that "Global temperature rise must be limited urgently to avoid serious impacts on African agricultural production. International offset programmes, which provide a substitute for action in developed countries, will further threaten food security in Africa."

Finally, he said; "The negotiations on agriculture here in Bonn must focus on identifying and taking action on what the international community must do now to assist African farmers to adapt. Discussions of enhancing 'synergies' between adaptation and mitigation offset efforts is a dangerous and costly distraction from the most pressing needs for adaptation."

Warming as low as 1.5˚C threatens food production in Africa significantly.

At the current rate of temperature increase, global average temperatures will have increased 1.5°C by 2050. The latest science estimates that average production losses by 2050 for African maize at 22%, sorghum 17%, millet 17%, groundnut 18%, and cassava 8%.

"Africans demand ongoing work on agriculture under the Adaptation Framework, as recommended by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, both to ensure food security and address slow onset temperature rise and the yield declines that will follow," noted again the Spokesperson.

A copy of a report by the African Centre on Climate Policy on Climate Change and Agriculture in Africa is available here.

The African Group is the group of 54 African countries represented in the UN climate change negotiations. Seyni Nafo of Mali is the Group's spokesperson.

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