The Future of Resilient Food Systems in Africa, a three-day regional forum, has concluded in collaboration with the Global Centre on Adaptation, the African Development Bank, and the Wangari Mathai Institute.
The event aimed to provide training to stakeholders from across Eastern Africa on ways to design and implement solutions to improve food security and climate resilience. The focus was on facilitating knowledge sharing among farmers and promoting the use of digital climate-informed advisory services (DCAS).
DCAS offers tools and platforms that integrate climate information into agricultural decision-making, including digital mobile apps, online platforms, and digitally enabled printed bulletins based on climate models.
The use of such services can help small-scale producers build resilience in the face of worsening climate change impacts by providing them with the resources to adapt to climate shocks and plan for new climate conditions.
The forum brought together stakeholders from ministries of agriculture, related government agencies, public research institutions, farmer organisations, universities, and non-profit organisations working on climate adaptation for food security in Eastern Africa. Participants from Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Mauritius, Tanzania, Seychelles, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Kenya attended the event.
Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Centre on Adaptation, emphasised the need for urgent financial support to put Africa on the path of food sovereignty. He highlighted the implementation of adaptation solutions that are already yielding good results, such as irrigation, developing drought-resistant seeds, and livestock diversification.
The African Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP) is a $350 million project aimed at building resilience for food and nutrition security in the Horn of Africa, using digital climate technology for market information, insurance products, and financial services tailored to smallholder farmers’ needs.
Dr Pascal Sanginga, regional sector manager for agriculture and agro-industries, representing the African Development Bank’s East Africa regional director general, noted that the forum was timely, following the recently concluded Dakar 2 Feed Africa-Food Sovereignty and Resilience summit. He reiterated the importance of AAAP, which is contributing to closing Africa’s adaptation gap by supporting African countries to put climate adaptation and resilience at the centre of their policies, programs, and institutions.
Professor Stephen Kiama Gitahi, vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi, highlighted the relevance of the forum, stating that 70% of the population in Eastern Africa live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. He encouraged trainers to simplify the modules in a way that removes the fear of technology and accelerates adaptation for rural farmers, citing the legacy of late Professor Wangari Maathai.
The forum has highlighted the importance of promoting the use of digital climate-informed advisory services in agriculture to build resilience among small-scale producers. It has also emphasised the need for financial support to implement adaptation solutions that can help address the challenges posed by climate change in Africa.