Jan 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Water management and technology can stave off worst effects of climate change

Climate change, which manifests itself in drought, floods, changing precipitation patterns and increased variability, is expected to hit the African countries south of the Sahara hardest.

Africa recorded a 30 percent increase in frequency and duration of drought events since 2000. In 2019, more than 33 million people in Eastern and South African countries were affected by food insecurity as a result of floods, landslides, droughts and hurricanes.

Africa is vulnerable because of the economies of its states are largely based on weather-sensitive plant and animal husbandry systems and also because of the low adaptability of communities to the threats of climate change. Adaptation is closely related to accessing and using improved technologies and practices to develop resilient systems.

The experience of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) leading the agricultural transformation in Africa shows that investing in a number of areas could simultaneously improve productivity, profitability and adapt to climate change.

About 70 percent of the land in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is arid – or semi-areas – dry agricultural systems, but only about 5 percent have access to irrigation with water from rivers, streams, groundwater or rainwater harvesting. In SSA, only about 7 percent of the arable land is irrigated, compared to 40 percent in Asia. Rainwater management could be practiced anywhere on the continent by capturing, storing and efficiently using rainwater from roofs and drains.

Small irrigation

In addition, small irrigation from the surface and groundwater can reduce the vulnerability of the Reduce farmers for annual rainfall variability and associated climate risks.

The private sector must support the expansion of small-scale irrigation in SSA by improving market opportunities, energy for water extraction, and access to irrigation water, too from shallow wells and groundwater.

Despite the high demand for drought-resistant varieties, farmers have limited access to high-yielding plant varieties. Providing the right crops for the right agroecology ensures good crop yields and reduces the risk of crop failure due to drought and other climate-related disasters. Traditional high-yielding African crops such as sorghum and millet rarely reach farmers’ fields due to weak last mile delivery systems.

Improved expansion, including the use of consultants in the villages, would help farmers gain access to Obtaining the right varieties together with good agronomic advice.

About 65 percent of agricultural arable land and 31 percent of permanent pasture land in Africa are degraded. Only 17 kilograms of fertilizer is applied per hectare of arable land in Africa compared to 250 kilograms per hectare in Europe, which exacerbates the decline in soil fertility due to the breakdown of nutrients per hectare can cause percent and 60 percent loss of soil organic matter after 12 and 46 years, with the crop yield dropping from one ton / ha to 300 kg / ha. While the application of critical nutrients such as phosphorus is important, regenerative processes such as composting and returning crop residues to the soil reduce the need for fertilizers.

Our farmers need to use a combination of organic and mixed mineral fertilizers, not just to increase productivity , but also to improve the grain quality of crops through micronutrient enrichment. Since most soils are acidic in areas of high rainfall, it is also important to note that soils affected by soil acidity do not give a good response from plants to fertilization unless the soils are corrected by liming / p>

Mono-growing is prone to climate and market risks. Different types of fruit trees, vegetables, crops such as coffee and cocoa are grown in home gardens and provide fodder for the fattening of small ruminants. These gardens are enriched with household waste, manure, night soil and other sources of nutrients and produce up to 40 percent of household food on around 15 percent of the agricultural area.

They offer a broad and constant supply of fresh products all year round , potentially substantial income and should be promoted across the SSA. Research shows that home gardens in a small area can produce crops, trees, fodder, medicinal herbs, planting material and other products with an income of around $ 3 per square meter per season.

In the era of climate change, the lack of mechanization continues farmers drought and invasion of pests and diseases. For example, in drought-prone areas of Africa, delaying corn sowing by a day could add a month to the harvest’s ripening time and expose it to end-of-season drought. The hoe-based plow cannot break the hard shell of the soil and prevents rainwater from penetrating deeper into the root zone. A lack of mechanization delays the harvest and proper storage, which leads to enormous post-harvest losses of sometimes up to 30 to 50 percent.

Lack of mechanization

Above all, access to mechanization is made more difficult by a Underdeveloped ecosystems (equipment sellers, customer service, loan and leasing products, mechanic workshops, mechanization as a service model) and investments in the ecosystem are beyond the reach of individual farmers.

Farmers’ livelihoods depend largely on integrated crop and livestock management systems away. Not only is this a risk management strategy (livestock is a savings account), it is also critical to improved crop productivity due to the need for traction, fertilizer, efficient recycling of water and nutrients for improved soil fertility, economic risk reduction and livelihood diversification.

Milk, fattening and poultry are becoming attractive investments in urban areas and are playing an important role in Africa’s agricultural transformation. In addition, most of the African arid areas are based on livestock farming, and therefore adapting to climate change and improving livelihoods cannot be achieved without improved management of pasture and agri-pastoral systems.

Aquaculture plays an important role in the Food security and profitability for Asia farmers and should be built into the growing rice fields of SSA. Unfortunately, the integration of aquaculture had only a low success rate.

Agricultural productivity

Diverse land uses interact across landscapes and affect the natural resources that agriculture and ecosystems maintain. One of the main factors influencing agricultural productivity in SSA is soil degradation due to poor management and soil erosion. Land restoration through the application of soil and water conservation practices, accompanied by innovations that bring short-term benefits in terms of forage, firewood, water and other resources, would increase tree cover, minimize erosion and improve the functions of water catchment areas.

< In the context of climate change, integrated water catchment management is required, which can include technological, social, political and institutional interventions to restore land, while increasing the productivity of water, nutrients and labor for food security and environmental services. This also requires wider collaboration between key stakeholders at local and higher levels.

Dr. Tilahum Amede is Head of Resilience, Climate and Soil Fertility at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; [emailprotected]