Climate Change: Upscaling Digital Adaptation Solutions to Boost Food Security in Eastern Africa
By Gift Briton and Sharon Atieno
Climate change has had a serious impact on the capacity of African nations, especially in the Greater Horn of Africa, to produce enough food.
The situation is so bad that the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), issued a report noting that the Eastern Africa is one of the world’s most food insecure regions, with up to 48 million people critically food insecure.
Further, the report revealed that the number is likely to rise during the first half of 2023 partly due to failing seasonal rainfalls as a result of climate change.
In an effort to boost resilience of food systems in Eastern Africa, the Global Center on Adaptation(GCA) has partnered with African Development Bank(AfDB) and the University of Nairobi(UoN) to host a three day training to promote adoption of digital climate adaptation solutions.
Giving his opening remarks during the meeting held in Nairobi, Prof. Patrick Verjkooijen, Chief Executive Officer, GCA, noted that Africa needs an agricultural sector that is resilient to climate shocks, adding that technologies and solutions are available however they need to upscaling and acceleration.
According to him, nine out of ten countries vulnerable to climate crisis globally are from Africa, despite the continent contributing to less than three percent to the global greenhouse gas emissions.
“On the current emissions trajectory, the arable land for the production of maize will reduce by up to 30% across Africa in the next few years. Africa is at a cross road, to either go through the current trajectory of hunger and suffering or the path of putting climate adaptations at the heart of solutions,” Prof. Verjkooijen posed.
“Climate adaptations require speed and scale and investing in climate adaptation in Africa is smart economics.”
According to him, investing in climate smart agriculture in Africa is beneficial as it only requires 15billion dollars whereas the cost for not investing in climate smart agriculture is worth 200 billion dollars.
Speaking on behalf of the African Development Bank’s East African Regional Director General, Nnenna Nwabufo, Dr. Pascal Sanginga, Regional Sector Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industries noted that the forum was timely, coming on the heels of the recently concluded Dakar 2 Feed Africa-Food Sovereignty and Resilience summit in Dakar organized by the African Development Bank.
“The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) is already contributing to closing Africa’s adaptation gap by supporting African countries to make a transformational shift in their development pathways by putting climate adaptation and resilience at the center of their policies, programs and institutions,” he said.
“There is no doubt that AAAP will be a strong component of the Country Food and Agricultural Delivery Compacts to accelerate the transformation of Africa’s food systems and build a more resilient Africa.”
Supported by more than 30 global leaders, AAAP is built on four transformational pillars including climate smart digital technologies for agriculture and food security.
The main goal of this pillar being to scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies, and associated data-driven agricultural and financial services, for at least 30 million farmers in Africa, supporting food security in 26 African countries, and reducing malnutrition for at least 10 million people.
To achieve this goal, the pillar leverages on thought leadership on climate-smart digital technologies in agriculture and supporting the design, mainstreaming and adoption of climate-smart digital technologies into agriculture projects and programs, enhancing the capacity of relevant persons and institutions to implement projects with climate-smart digital technologies, and monitoring, evaluation and learning on the implementation of climate-smart digital solutions.
The Forum brought together stakeholders from the government agencies, public research institutions, farmer organizations, universities, and non-profit organizations working on climate adaptation for food security in Eastern Africa.
Participants were from different countries including Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.