Accra, Ghana, September 14, 2022: Madam Jeanine Milly Cooper, Liberia's Minister of Agriculture, has emphasized the potential benefits of climate-smart agriculture, but stressed that it must be applied in a way that complements existing local agricultural practices. The minister also expressed concern about the uncritical application of international practices in a project-based approach to development, where much time and resources are spent on problem definition and program design, with recommended actions usually not comprehensive.
The Liberian Minister of Agriculture made these statements on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at the official opening of the "Science and Partnerships for Agriculture" conference, where she was the keynote speaker at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana. The conference is organized under the auspices of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the technical arm of the African Union Commission and the continental umbrella organization for the coordination and promotion of agricultural science, technology and innovation and agricultural research for development (AR4D).
In her keynote address, Ms. Cooper explained that most of what is called smart climate agriculture in Western countries, such as regenerative agriculture or the expansion of family or small farms, is not necessarily foreign to Africa, but rather the norm in countries like Liberia.
She also addressed the thorny issue of how commercial agriculture and "big farming" have grown using chemicals and fertilizers that are harmful to the planet and its inhabitants, while frowning on the use the same chemicals and fertilizers in developing countries, especially when agriculture is barely mechanized.
The Liberian Minister of Agriculture also highlighted the issue of little action being taken to advance the position of women in agriculture, despite the fact that they constitute the majority of the agricultural workforce in sub-Saharan countries. The minister also specifically recommended the adoption of climate-smart agriculture which would encourage more youths to work in agriculture.
From September 14-16, 2022, stakeholders in the field of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) are meeting in Accra, Ghana, to discuss creative and sustainable solutions to the problems caused by climate change in African agriculture.
Academics, researchers, politicians and other stakeholders from the African continent and the European Union are attending the conference. Over 250 participants are attending, in person and some virtually using a special Zoom platform. The theme of the conference is "Insight into climate-smart agriculture initiatives to increase accountability, resource use and impact in Africa".