The diverse needs of farmers must be taken into account when dealing with climate change. This was one of the messages SACAU took to COP23 in Bonn, Germany, in November during their participation in side events. SACAU spoke at two events on Agriculture Advantage which was an initiative and collaborative effort between different organisations with the same mission: to transform agricultural development in the face of climate change.
SACAU was also part of these organisations which were led by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Mr Ishmael Sunga, CEO of SACAU, spoke about the farmerbased approach to climate action in agriculture at a closing session of this side event which called on countries, international organisations and businesses to take cognisance of the advantage offered by climate investments in agriculture, and urged stakeholders to come together for the transformation required within the sector.
This event was based on previous sessions which articulated the different dimensions of climate actions in agriculture. In his remarks, Mr Sunga stressed the importance of understanding farmers and their needs. “It’s wrong to think farmers are all the same. If projects are designed for farmers as a homogeneous group and they fail, don’t blame the farmer, blame yourself”, said Mr Sunga. “If we don’t invest time and money and resources in studying the basic things, we might not get anywhere. It’s not exciting but it might re-define what is exciting,” he added.
He highlighted the need to look at the farmer in his totality in the design of services and products for farmers. One such example is the bundling of agricultural insurance with other products that are essential for a farmer, which one of SACAU members is already implementing. Mr Sunga concluded by calling on stakeholders to get farmers’ inputs in designs of products and programmes. “Let it come from farmers themselves, and let us have the basic infrastructure to enable things to happen,” he said. Another side event in which SACAU participated was around scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.
Mr Sunga concluded by calling on stakeholders to get farmers’ inputs in designs of products and programmes. “Let it come from farmers themselves, and let us have the basic infrastructure to enable things to happen,” he said. Another side event in which SACAU participated was around scaling up private sector climate actions in agriculture.
This event sought to understand the role which the private sector can play to achieve goals set out within Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by countries and private sector fora, building on the experience from private sector businesses, industry bodies and international financial institutions.
At this event, SACAU’s Project Officer, Ms Fhumulani Mashau, said there is a need for joining hands by the public and private sectors for investments in the agricultural sector’s response to climate change. Ms Mashau said there is a need for resources to absorb the shocks that climate change inflicts on small-scale farmers. She also said that farmers have important responsibilities too.
“Farmers themselves also have the responsibility to proactively assert themselves to get involved
in the design and implementation where they have an interest in climate action. Again, we’d also like to see the private sector to be obliged to consult with the farming community also in the design and implementation of climate action. We can’t do that without talking to each other,” she said.
Recognising the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) models which can empower farmers in their decision making, while also increasing their resilience to climate shocks, she stressed the importance public private partnerships in infrastructural investments.
“Massive expansion of ICT network/ connectivity infrastructure to cover all farming areas where the majority of farmers located are required,” she said. Reducing the cost of data and insurance premiums could also result in increased uptake of ICT and other solutions to help farmers better respond to climate shocks.