Will smallholder ecosystem-based adaptation counter climate change and improve farm productivity?

United Nations is proposing use of traditional ways in agricultural production to counter climate change impact and improve food production. 

The new strategy dubbed Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) encourages smallholder farmers to use traditional ways such as conservation agriculture, crop rotation, inter-cropping, use of organic manure and biological control of weeds. 

The outcome of the Second Africa Ecosystem based adaptation for Food security conference held in Nairobi on 30-31 July 2015 provides key actions that reignites conversation on agriculture and climate change.

The Nairobi Action Agenda on Africa's Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security declaration emphasizes that Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) is essential for climate change resilience, ecosystems productivity, agriculture and food security, as well as stimulating growth, job creation and value addition in Africa. 

There is proven evidence that ecosystem-based management practices that focus on conservation, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services can help farmers adapt both to climate change in the long term.  

We hope that the EBA practices can help reduce or avoid climate ravages particularly on rural small holder farmers who are often vulnerable.  

These practices are not new, but we need to increase their awareness and stimulate farmers to use them. 

in Kenya, EBA  practices are encouraged in coffee production.  We have seen how agro forestry can be integrated to increase coffee production. Trees planted around the farms provides shade for coffee bushes and at the same farmers benefit with timber, fruits and fuel woods.   

We should not be scared with the technical sounding EBA.

Let us take advantage of our biodiversity or ecosystem at the plot, farm or landscape level to increase productivity of crops or livestock.

EBA practices in agriculture offers an important opportunity to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change, while providing important livelihood and environmental co-benefits.

The onus now remains with Governments in Africa to create an enabling environment for technological advancement and encourage public and private investments to promote EBA-driven agriculture.

It is time to empower  smallholder farmers with demand-driven  extension services to share these practices. 

The government, private companies and NGOs should mobilise resources to empower rural farmers to increase food production and counter climate change.

Submitted by:  Elizaphan Ogechi


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