“Climate change threatens food security for more than 250 million in Africa”

Dyborn Charlie Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi, on why climate change threatens the foundation for agriculture in Africa

“For the past two to three decades agriculture has stagnated, suffering from underinvestment, poor policies and incoherent strategies. What is even more worrying is the emergence of new challenges like climate change which has complicated the whole course of agriculture in Africa. These challenges have contributed to food insecurity to more than 250 million Africans”, said Chibonga.

eat_20140527_015Yet agriculture remains the economic foundation of many African countries, employing approximately 60 percent of the workforce and contributing an aver¬age of 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

“Smallholder farmers are producing more than 50 % of the food that the growing world population needs. Ensuring food and nutrition security under a changing climate is one of the major challenges of our era. Climate change has devastating pressure and effects on food production systems, and Africa is the most affected, he said.

African countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change because of their dependence on rain-fed agriculture, high levels of poverty, low levels of human and physical capital, and poor infrastructure. They also have a limited capacity to adapt to climate change.

“Smallholder farmers are especially affected by climate change, in particular by the increasing loss of biodiversity caused by droughts and floods. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate are imperative. For Africa to meet food and nutrition security and achieve its development goals, sustainable agriculture is a priority,” he said.

Dyborn Charlie Chibonga concluded that smallholder farmer optimizing sustainable agriculture requires change in mindset from subsistence to farming as business, smallholder farmer mobilisation into cohesive groups, integrating in value chains, increased agricultural investments and strengthening public and private partnerships.