The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.
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Building climate-resilient cereal and livestock farming in southern Africa


Climate change poses a critical challenge to cereal and livestock farmers in southern Africa. More frequent failure of the annual wet season to deliver adequate rain endangers the food security, nutrition and incomes of up to 6 million people in rural households. Drought this year has already led four southern African countries to declare national emergencies.

To support the implementation of a new flagship project to bring climate-smart solutions to farmers and build genuine synergies with partners, CTA co-organised a regional planning meeting ‘Scaling-Up Climate-Smart Agricultural Solutions for Cereals and Livestock Farmers in Southern Africa – Building partnership for successful implementation’, on 13–15 September 2016 in Johannesburg.

Oluyede Ajayi, Senior Programme Coordinator, who coordinates the CTA flagship project in southern Africa, says that "there is a growing recognition among development practitioners that drought is the 'new normal'". Questions are being asked: How have maize and livestock value chains been affected by climate change recently? What are existing proven solutions and appropriate responses that can build climate resilience in smallholder cereal and livestock farming? What is being done in the region to upscale these solutions?

CTA and partners have identified four proven solutions that cereal and livestock farmers can adopt to make the transition to climate-resilient agriculture: stress-tolerant germplasm, ICT-enabled climate information services, diversifying livestock-based livelihoods and weather-based insurance. But farmers have not been able to take advantage of these because they either don't know about them or don't have access to them. Agricultural extension services that have traditionally advised farmers have collapsed in many countries and the private sector has not fully stepped in to fill the gap.

The shift from the usual response of 'drought relief' (providing farmers whose crops have failed with food aid) to 'production relief' (supporting farmers to make changes that allow them to grow cereals and rear livestock in an uncertain climate), is possible and long overdue.

The planning meeting discussed the business case for the engagement of private sector in the scaling up of climate-smart practices. It also assessed the existing level of use mobile communications, ICT, knowledge management and extension tools to disseminate agricultural information to smallholder farmers. Participants were drawn from partner organisations, the private sector, farmers' organisations, banks and financial sector players, mobile and ICT operators, and national and regional government institutions. The meeting lead to detailed implementation strategies for scaling-up each of the solutions in the region.

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