Millions of Africans are directly affected by the adverse effects of climate change which undermine efforts by African Union (AU) Member States to reduce hunger and promote nutrition.
Undernutrition in turn undermines climate resilience and the coping strategies of vulnerable African communities, further exposing existing weaknesses in the continent’s food systems.
However, in spite of the threat of climate change, a significant number of AU member states continue to rely on rain-fed agriculture.
CARE International (CI), the Graça Machel Trust (GMT) and the Food, Agriculture Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) came together and compiled the first Malabo Biennial Report on the Malabo Commitment to accelerate Agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.
During the launch of the report, Dr. Tobias Takavarasha, Chief Executive Officer of FANRPAN said that the report demonstrated commitment by AU Member States to increase investment in agriculture.
When African leaders signed the Malabo Declaration in 2014, they reconfirmed that agriculture should remain high on the development agenda of the continent as a means to end hunger and halve poverty by 2025.
This calls for a significant shift in the way agriculture has been handled across the continent.
In view of this observation, the Managing Deputy Regional Director (MDRD) of CARE International for Southern Africa, Ms Michelle D Carter Managing Deputy Regional Director, said that the future of agriculture depends on the management of climate change.
Ms. Carter noted that there is need for national investments targeted at efforts that address the threats to food and nutrition security within the context of the changing climate.
“It is disappointing that only one country (Mauritius) is on track on the commitment to enhance resilience to climate variability. We are hopeful that Governments will implement recommendations to improve adoption and uptake of climate resilient agriculture by smallholder farmers especially women,” added Ms. Carter.
Climate change and improving food security and nutrition are interlinked issues that would benefit from being dealt with simultaneously.
However, during the two years of implementing the Malabo commitments, evidence suggests that there is still a fragmented approach to addressing these issues within the Member States. African governments have foregone the benefits arising from the opportunity of exploiting the tradeoff effects presented by synergizing climate change and nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions.
There is still a lot more that needs to be done for all countries to reach the targeted threshold of 10 percent of national budgets being invested into agriculture in Africa.