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Climate Change and Food Systems Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa

July 21st, 2011

A book published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and edited by Lim Li Ching, Sue Edwards and Nadia El-Hage Scialabba on the possibility of harmonizing agricultural production with the wellbeing of the biosphere

The book aims at demonstrating that the least developed country and most threatened by climate change can achieve the harmonization of agricultural production and wellbeing of the biosphere.
The work arises from the Conference on Ecological Agriculture:  Mitigating Climate Change, Providing Food Security and Self-Reliance for Rural Livelihoods in Africa that was held in Ethiopia in 2008.

The conference discussed the various challenges Africa’s agriculture is facing, among which the global food crisis, climate change, land degradation and pests and prices increase, and the main conclusions were that ecological agriculture plays a crucial role in increasing Africa’s productivity, hence has a positive effect on food security, resilience and also on the environment; it has a high potential to counter climate change damages, for example by avoiding the use of agrochemicals;
furthermore, ecological agriculture helps farmers adapt to climate change by increasing the agroecosystem’s resistance to stress and challenges.

A less reassuring conclusion though, was that the achievement of ecological agriculture encounters many hindrances, such as lack of policy support at the local, national and international level.

Discussions during the Conference and field visits to Tingray, a region that was highly affected by hunger and poverty which is now largely food secure, highlighted Africa’s potential for intensifying its agriculture through a better use of natural resources.

The book is divided into different chapters about Africa’s potential for ecological intensification of agriculture; past experiences and lessons learnt,  such as the Green Revolution in Asia;
international assessment  of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development;
trade policies effects on African agriculture; interventions in water to improve livelihoods in rural areas;  climate change implications on agriculture and food systems.

In conclusion, the book gives hope for enough food for us, our children and grandchildren, for healthy lives and wellbeing of our biosphere.

Download full report here