COP22: A Chance For African Farmers?

Agriculture: an under-used lever to address climate change

By Bernard Giraud, President & Co-founder of Livelihoods Venture.

As the host country of COP22, Morocco, supported by an alliance of ~30 African countries, major development finance institutions, corporations and NGOs, has designed an initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA). The AAA initiative promotes and fosters the implementation of projects to improve soil management, agricultural water control, climate risk management and capacity building & funding solutions. Learn more about the AAA Initiative.

So far, agriculture has never been a major topic in the international negotiations on climate change. Yet, it accounts for a significant part of the GHG emissions and, moreover, can be a major carbon sink as soils can sequester 2 to 3 times more carbon than the atmosphere. As world class scientists have demonstrated it, the good news is that carbon in the soil=organic matter=more fertility=more water retention=better yields. As a result, enabling farmers to adapt to climate change through practices maintaining or restoring a positive cycle of carbon in the soil and farming ecosystems have a direct impact on food security, natural resources and farmers’ income.

Social justice for African farmers

Putting farmers at the centre of an intergovernmental conference on climate that takes place in Africa would also be a question of social justice. Indeed, the 500 million smallholder farmers who provide 70% of the world’s food are the first to suffer from climate change. From West to East Africa, from The Sahel to the tropical forests, farmers express the same growing concerns about droughts, high temperatures, typhoons, and their consequences on farming. Though African agriculture produces very little of our GHG, it is severely impacted by the emissions from the rest of the world.

Major decisions to address this issue must be taken by governments at COP22: agriculture and forestry should be recognized as a strategic sector to reduce global warming and a major financial effort should be decided on adaptation, especially for smallholder farmers.
These decisions, or the absence of decision, will have heavy consequences for the decades to come, on climate but also on social and political stability of the entire world.

Time to break the silos between Governments, the private sector and NGOs

For adaptation at a large scale, we will require new types of coalitions and new models to finance agriculture, based on impact investment, hybrid funding, etc. The traditional silos between public aid and private sector investments, between governments, NGOs and private companies have shown their limits. The good news is that new approaches are emerging, like the Livelihoods project in Mount Elgon- Kenya where 30,000 farmers are benefitting from a coalition between an impact investment fund, an efficient NGO and a leader in East-Africa’s dairy industry. The AAA initiative offers another possibility to bring various actors together to reach scale and impact. Learn more about the Livelihoods Mount Elgon Project.


Side-event for “More impactful public-private partnerships for African Agriculture”

Join us for an interactive side-event with high-level speakers from the public sector, international organisations, business leaders and civil society
Wednesday 16 November 2016
16h00-18h00 in the African Pavilion, Blue Zone.
COP22- Marrakesh
View programme.

Conveners: The Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA), The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Morocco and The Livelihoods Funds.