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19.06.2019 Article

Climate Smart Agriculture Is The Smart Way To Feed Ourselves

By Godfred Nelson
Climate Smart Agriculture Is The Smart Way To Feed Ourselves
LISTEN JUN 19, 2019

Food security is increasingly becoming a global concern and threatens to be more of a concern if nothing dramatic is done in revolutionising agriculture and climate change adaptive practices. Close to 70% more food has to be produced by 2050 to be able to feed an estimated 9billion people (WorldBank 2018).

Agriculture is very susceptible to climate change; inconsistent weather patterns, reduced crop yields, vulnerability to pests and disease are among the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture. It’s prudent therefore that Agricultural practices are fine tuned such that these negative impacts are mitigated or even adapted to. That’s where Climate Smart Agriculture,CSA, comes into the picture.

The world bank explains CSA as an integrated approach to managing landscapes, croplands, livestock, forests and fisheries, that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, while the FAO defines it as an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient Agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.

Between 19-29% of Global GHG emissions is from Agriculture, a phenomenon that CSA aims to address. CSA aims to produce more with less, by simultaneously increasing food production, enhancing resilience of crops and by reducing emissions for each kilo of food produced.

In this direction, it’s important that good agroforestry techniques are adopted and encouraged since that helps to reduce the reliance of farmers on agrochemicals and fertilizers. Nature is blessed with a number of tree species that are helpful in agroforestry and intercropping to increase yields. In focus is Faidherbia Albida also known as White Acacia. A deciduous tree species that grows in the northern parts of Ghana and the African region, white acacia possesses a natural phenomenon which makes it grow in the dry season and dries up in the rainy season.

Because of this attribute, it attracts animals who normally are looking for foliage and shade during the hot days of the dry season, these animals excrete droppings under and around the tree coupled with its fallen highly nitrogenous leaves make land around the tree very rich in nutrients.

Also, since white acacia grows in reverse to normal plants, it doesn’t compete with crops when it’s used as an agroforestry tree on farms, helping to increase yields. As its the aim of CSA to reduce emissions, species such as White acacia are helpful since it reduces the use of fertilizers which end up producing GHG in the soil from their high nitrogen components.

Farmers should be sensitised to adopt agroforestry trees like white acacia, they could also be educated on other variety of possibilities that are available to them. Bush burning, excessive agrochemical reliance and agriculture related deforestation must be discouraged.

We are in the era of smart technology, Climate Smart Agriculture is the way to go for sustainable food production.

Godfred Nelson
Environmentalist & Climate Change Advocate.
[email protected]

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