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Kufuor Calls for Change Way Africa Farmers Practice Agriculture
John Kufuor has called for a change in the way Africa farmers practice agriculture so as to drastically reduce its contribution to climate change, as he said the consequences of an ever-increasing climate change menace poses major challenges for agriculture.
This article was originally posted in AllAfrica
Kufuor said that agriculture has been a contributor of about 14% of the greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change.
He added that the deforestation and land degradation that are associated with uninformed agricultural and other practices, also add an additional 17% of the increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Speaking at the launch of the African Agriculture Status Report at the 2014 AGRF Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the week, the former President said through our continued emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, "the evidence is that human causes are a major contributor to climate change, the effects of which, we are told, are far more rapid than earlier thought."
Kufuor, who is UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Climate Change, added that over the past years, we have experienced droughts from California to Australia; flooding from Europe to Southeast Asia; severe winters in Europe and the Americas.
"Devastating heat waves around the world; rising sea levels that threaten island nations, coastal lands and communities; and changed rainfall patterns in Africa affecting our agriculture."
He noted that scientific prediction is that unless the temperature increases are arrested below 2oC by mid-century, all efforts might be overwhelmed.
"The droughts that will come about as a result of climate change; the flooding; as well as the irregular patterns of rainfall are what will cause debilitating effects on agriculture and food production."
He said in Africa where the majority of farmers practice rain-fed subsistence agriculture, unpredictable rainfall patterns will wreak havoc on food production and incomes through rains washing away top soils and planted seeds.
Kufuor said food security as well as our everyday livelihoods will thus be negatively impacted when we start having dry spells during the growing season wilting plants and rains at normally harvesting times and rotting agricultural produce.
Kufour therefore called for adaption of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), which he said is to ensure that agricultural production and productivity are enhanced for food security and income-sustainability.
Climate-Smart Agriculture, he added, will help to boost resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems as well as to mitigate agriculture's contribution to global warming.
"The CSA approach involves innovative practices such as drip irrigation; zero or minimum tillage; soil carbon preservation; capture and storage of atmospheric carbon and nitrogen in soils; agro-forestry; improved livestock and water management; integrated pest management; and ecosystem approaches to fisheries and aquaculture."
He added "It combines both climate change adaptation and mitigation into agricultural development planning and investment strategies, thereby taking advantage of critical synergies between them."
Kufour said this transformation will thus incorporate methods that ensure least depletion of the natural resource base for agriculture and vital ecosystems. "This, in essence, is conservation agriculture."