The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with several international and regional organisations, convened the 2017 Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) Annual Conference from 25th to 27th October 2017 in Maputo, Mozambique.
Held under the theme, “A Thriving Agricultural Sector in A Changing Climate: Meeting Malabo Declaration Goals through Climate-Smart Agriculture”, the conference brought together stakeholders from within and outside Africa, including policymakers, development partners, researchers, advocacy groups, farmers’ organisations and the private sector to, among others, discuss the contribution of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) towards meeting the Malabo Declaration goals by taking stock of the current knowledge of the effects of climate change, reviewing existing evidence of the effectiveness of various CSA strategies, and sharing examples of CSA-based practices and tools for developing and implementing evidence-based policies and programmes.
One of the fundamental subjects under discussion was the contentious issue of factors affecting the adoption of CSA practices in Africa. Some of the highlighted factors include: lack of commitment from the public sector to mainstream CSA practices in national policies and programmes, lack of appropriate policies to incentivise farmers to adopt CSA practices and lack of data to conduct location specific simulations on the effects of climate change leading to researchers and policy makers making reference to global models.
In addition, the lack of capacity development was said to be another factor; hence, the need to train a new generation of scientists to develop new models adaptable to local conditions was seen as key in this regard. Finally it was emphasised that the promotion of CSA practices and technologies as a means of improving food and nutrition security under changing climate conditions should not only focus on the production aspect, but should give equal attention, if not more, to post-harvest management as well as the demand side of the chain.
From the various discussions, it seems a lot of research is still required on factors influencing/ inhibiting the adoption of CSA practices in Africa. As one presenter noted, “There are no silver bullets in fighting climate change and improving farmers’ resilience. Climate smartness in the mixed systems depends on local context. Therefore, broad-brush targeting of CSA interventions is not appropriate from a technical standpoint, given that the impacts are often context-specific.”