By: Ivy Kinyua
Recently, The Africa CSA summit in Nairobi, Kenya, was organized by the Aid & International Development Forum. The event brought together thought leaders at non-governmental organizations, government agencies, research institutes, private sector, and agricultural associations to discuss and share best practices, innovations, and success stories across the Africa region.
Initially, the World Bank Group approached CIAT to develop country climate-smart agriculture (CSA) profiles for countries where it wanted to make climate-smart agricultural investments. This event provided a platform for CIAT to launch those profiles through senior scientist Dr. Evan Girvetz, who moderated the panel discussion on profiling climate risks and CSA opportunities to de-risk agriculture and increase opportunities for investments.
It was clear that there was a need for this information for both investors and farmers in order to maximize yield and enable agricultural financing partners to make informed investments. Currently, the continent only receives 5 percent of climate funding despite the fact that data reports indicate that the impact from climate change is expected to be the greatest in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2100.
This event was truly inspiring as scientists and researchers talked about success stories that were providing solutions in the face of climate change, such as our climate risk profiling work, agriculture insurance, the cost of gender gap in agricultural productivity, the importance of partnerships, the power of big data, and capacity building in climate-smart agriculture.
African farmers are being educated by local governments and extension agents on climate-smart agriculture and how they can use this information to increase the yield on their farms and prioritize best adaptation practices while maintaining and even increasing the fertility of the soil in order to boost food security.
The country climate-smart agriculture profiles for African countries highlight tools that guide local adaptation and target climate investments which sparked some interesting conversations in the room. Countries such as Ethiopia, Zambia, Rwanda and Tanzania have already successfully implemented the data in their respective CSA profiles with increased yield and proper climate adaptation.
Key partners at the event were able to recognize that the CSA profiles provided a well-detailed summary of the key issues affecting agriculture in Africa, such as climate impacts, relevant policies, climate-smart agricultural practices, investment opportunities for scaling up the advancement, and implementation of climate-smart interventions.
In addition to the country-level profiles, a more detailed climate-risk profiling has been done for 31 counties in Kenya to inform the US$ 250 million Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project (KSCAP) being implemented by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MALF), not to mention that the profiles are also integrated in the county integrated development plans.
Francis Muthami, the national project coordinator for KSCAP noted that institutions looking to provide funding for agriculture in Africa require solid evidence that the project would be feasible. He noted that the profiles provided by CIAT have gone a long way in providing supporting data about adaptation options in accordance with climate change.
Based on the CSA profiles, researchers have also been able to point out details in investment recommendations based on the analysis of the current agricultural environment and the drivers and limitations that affect the adoption of climate-smart agricultural interventions. Over and above the identification of climate risks and adaptation options for key agricultural commodities is the identification of gaps in policy and adaptation.
CIAT got the opportunity to network with organizations that were interested in the profiles to inform their own projects due to the success that the profiles have seen so far. For instance, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has requested the creation of CSA profiles for three states in Nigeria. In addition to that, we were able to note other ways in which we can apply our CSA profiles, e.g., to inform agricultural insurance products as well as other financial products more inclusive for farmers and agribusinesses.
This forum showed that investors are willing to be more involved in climate-smart agriculture in Africa where they can get access to detailed and data-driven information indicating the climate trends and influencing the adaptation of climate smart interventions.