Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Agriculture has pulled out all stops to secure deal at COP17
9 December 2011
Ben Rootman
Junxion Communications

Organised agriculture in Africa has pulled out all stops to ensure that agriculture becomes an integral part of the climate change agenda.

Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda says her organisation has joined forces with agricultural partners in Africa and the world to ensure that the campaign - No agriculture, no deal - is top of mind at the negotiations.

"We should not leave COP17 without a secured deal that will promote food security despite the realities of climate change," she says.

FANRPAN is the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, an Africa-wide organisation advocating for sound agriculture. It also advocates for climate-smart agriculture which includes sustainable increases in productivity, strengthened resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and efforts to mitigate climate change by using proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping.

"Before and during COP17 we have been promoting the advantages of agriculture as a permanent item on the climate change agenda and we expect negotiators to push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture.

"No agriculture, no deal will ensure that food insecurity no longer causes havoc on the African continent. Our call is not an emotional one but is based on scientific evidence, based on facts presented by global scientists and agriculturists alike. We are strongly advocating that agriculture sectors must become climate-smart to successfully tackle current food security and climate change challenges. Agriculture, including forestry and fisheries, is crucial for food security and rural incomes as well as other essential products such as energy, fibre, feed and a range of ecosystem services.

"We endorse the three pillars of climate-smart agriculture towards development and food security - increasing productivity and income, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and reducing and removing gas emissions from the atmosphere.

"We are aware that poverty reduction, in addition to adaptation and mitigation, is the keyword in the negotiations Climate-smart agriculture will guarantee food security, poverty eradication and wealth creation. There is no better and proven way to lift people out of poverty other than through agriculture.

"Furthermore, we have every reason to believe that farmers, along with the companies and institutions that develop crop varieties and agricultural technologies, can meet the challenge of reducing emissions from agriculture.

South Africa's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson says the time is over for compiling agendas on agriculture's future - it is time for action.

"The time is over for elaborate technical and scientific advice - agriculture is no longer discussed in broad descriptions. We know the specifics and these need to be put into action to ensure that we continue to feed an ever-increasing population. However, it is essential that the way forward needs to be determined with the farming communities.

"Organised agriculture has provided negotiators and politicians with successful examples of climate-smart agriculture and has identified the way forward. This is the way in which agriculture - and people - will be the beneficiaries," says the minister.

Sibanda says agriculture is the backbone of Africa's economy and it needs a secure climate.

"We are using all our power to ensure that the sector is put on the centre stage at COP17, and not through an exit door.

"The world population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050 - and these people will have to be fed by agriculture in whatever from. Does it make any sense that agriculture is not a permanent item on the climate change agenda?

"Now is the time for previous commitments made in Cancun to be sealed. Financial commitments should also be cemented to ensure that agricultural projects do not remain pipedreams but become realistic with measurable outputs. We should not keep on moving the goalposts - COP17 should produce concrete outputs that are binding to everyone. The world is waiting."

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