Climate Action

Revolutionise African farming methods to overcome climate change, says UN

Two UN agencies are pushing for new farming techniques in Africa to address concerns over food security.

  • 24 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Representatives from both the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and UN Environment have highlighted the need to change African farming techniques to address food security concerns in the region.

Josef Kienzle, Leader of the Mechanisation task team at FAO commented at a recent conference in Kenya: “There is need for a paradigm shift on intensive crop production since the current methods applied cannot meet the challenges of the new millennium”

Mr Kienzle also urged governments to invest in fertile land, pest upsurges, pollution and sustainable intensification, saying "there is need to integrate sustainable mechanization in collaboration with the private sector to enhance productivity and profitability.”

The use of agricultural tools that result in minimal soil disturbance, organic soil cover and diversification of crops would also benefit agricultural production. Last week the FAO also called for an increase in agro-ecology. Similarly, Richard Mungang, UN Environment's Africa Climate Change Coordinator, has lobbied for an increase in climate smart agriculture to protect African farmers from climate change. Climate change has the potential to reduce Africa’s economy by 75% if no measures are taken to adapt.

He noted: “With climate change in the picture, the negative challenges it poses in the agriculture sector will be compounded by multiple other problems that will lead to food insecurity in the continent”

In an exclusive interview with the Aid & International Development Forum, Dr Munang emphasised the importance of climate smart agriculture.

Projections suggest that Africa’s agricultural sector will experience a 1 degree temperature rise, reducing crop revenue by 14 percent. Dr Munang added that climate smart agriculture could increase yields by 300%, helping to combat climate change.

"Once appropriately exercised, this model could potentially create as many as 17 million jobs annually for Africa's youth and also catalyze an agro-sector projected to be worth 1 trillion US dollars by 2030"


Our sister organisation, the Aid & International Development Forum is hosting its inaugural Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Summit being held on 15-16 May 2018 in Nairobi Kenya. Click here to see other speakers at the Summit and the agenda.