African ministerial Conference on Climate–Smart Agriculture -A call to action


Heading the Seychelles delegation was Manuela Desaubin-Stravens, advisor to the Minister for Investment, Natural Resources and Industry, and principal officer for Agriculture, Keven Nancy.

The conference, chaired by the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa, Tina Joemat-Petterson, was of a technical nature and aimed at preparing African countries for the upcoming high level climate event -- the 17th Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- in Durban later this year.
Climate-smart agriculture seeks to increase productivity in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, strengthen farmer’s resilience to climate change, and reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon storage on farmland.
Climate-smart agriculture is about getting existing, appropriate technologies off the shelf and into the hands of farmers and developing new technologies such as drought or flood tolerant crops to meet the emerging challenges of the changing climate.

It is also about creating an enabling policy environment for adaptation.

Among the many issues discussed were:
• The need for close links between food security, poverty and climate change.

• Strong adaption and mitigation measures, as well as new and additional financing to support the related programmes and projects to ensure poverty alleviation and food security.

• Adaptation and mitigation measures will not only enhance food security but can potentially contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

• Climate-smart agriculture offers triple wins for food security, adaption and mitigation.

• Climate-smart agriculture needs heightened attention in African policy processes and strategies at national and regional levels.
• Early action is needed to identify and scale up best practices to build capacity and capitalise on experiences to help clarify future choices.

• Considerable public and private finances will be needed to rapidly implement climate-smart agriculture.

The concept of climate-smart agriculture is in line with the national agricultural development strategy 2007-2011 and is fully endorsed by the government of Seychelles.

Effort being implemented by the government through the Seychelles Agricultural Agency includes:

• Cultivation under shade house throughout the two cropping seasons

• Encouraging terrace cultivation and contour planting on steep slopes

• Use of drip irrigation and micro sprinklers

• The use of mulch and cover crop

• The use of legumes as cover crop in terms of green manures

• Revitalisation of the soil laboratory for the precise application of fertiliser and irrigation water.

On-going projects with regards to climate-smart agriculture:

• GEF UNDP sustainable land management project

• COI regional agro ecology project

• IAEA soil fertility and soil moisture project.

At the end of the event, a communiqué entitled ‘The Road to Durban and beyond’ was produced.

This conference and its recommendations mark the gearing up of the African ministers of Agriculture and if any, opportunities, posed by the evident effect of climate change.

It also signals their active engagement in the 17th Conference of Parties and its future related discussion on ‘Sustainable Development’.


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