Speech by David Shamulenge, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Publication date: 
26 August 2015
Author: 
David Shamulenge

HON ARGENT CHUULA – FANRPAN BOARD CHAIR

DR LINDIWE MAJELE SIBANDA - FANRPAN CEO

MR JOSEP MBINJI - THE COORDINATOR- FOR THE AGRICULTURE COALITION FORUM

DR. MCLAY KANYANGARARA- CLIMATE CHANGE ADVISOR AT COMESA

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I HAVE A RARE PRIVILEGE TO WELCOME ALL OF YOU TO THIS IMPORTANT EVENT ORGANIZED BY THE FOOD AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES POLICY ANALYSIS NETWORK (FANRPAN) IN COLLABORATION WITH THE AGRICULTURAL CONSULTATIVE FORUM (ACF) WHICH IS THE FANRPAN NODE HOSTING INSTITUTION IN ZAMBIA. SPECIAL WELCOME GOES TO DELEGATES WHO HAVE TRAVELLED ALL THE WAY FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES. I SAY YOU ARE MOST WELCOME TO ZAMBIA!

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

WE ARE HERE TODAY TO DISCUSS ONE ISSUE THAT IS CLOSE TO MANY OF OUR HEARTS. WE ARE HERE TO DISCUSS CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE (CSA) AS AN ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION STRATEGY TO A CHANGING CLIMATE. THE CHANGING CLIMATE IS SOMETHING THAT IS THREATENING OUR AGRICULTURE AND THE LIVELIHOODS OF MANY HOUSEHOLDS TODAY AS I SPEAK.

THE IMPACT OF EXTREME CLIMATE, WHETHER IN THE FORM OF A SUPER EL NIÑO OR OTHER LONG-TERM TRENDS, AFFECTS THOSE THAT ENGAGE IN AGRICULTURE IN THE REGION. IT AFFECTS THE FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY OF THE REGION AND ULTIMATELY AFFECTS ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE REGION.

ACCORDING TO THE CONSULTATIVE GROUP FOR INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE RESEARCH (CGIAR) PROGRAM ON CLIMATE CHANGE, AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA, CLIMATE CHANGE IS EXPECTED TO LOWER CROP YIELDS BY AT LEAST FIVE PER CENT WITH TWO DEGREES CELSIUS INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE, AND BY ABOUT 15 PER CENT SHOULD WARMING INCREASE TO 2.5 DEGREES CELSIUS.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

FOR AFRICA, CLIMATE CHANGE IS ALREADY HAVING ADVERSE EFFECTS ON OUR CONTINENT’S FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY STATUS AND ON THE LIVELIHOODS OF OUR RURAL POPULATION, WHICH IS ENTIRELY DEPENDENT ON AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, AND FOREST PRODUCTS.

THIS YEAR WE WITNESSED THE POOR RAINFALL DISTRIBUTION IN ZAMBIA AND FLOODS IN MALAWI. WE ALSO HAVE REPORTS FROM THE ANNUAL SOUTHERN AFRICA DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC) SUMMIT THAT WAS HELD IN GABORONE TWO WEEKS AGO THAT AN UNPRECEDENTED MIX OF ERRATIC RAINS, ABNORMALLY HIGH TEMPERATURES AND FLOODS HAVE CAUSED HAVOC ON FARMING, DAMAGING A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THIS YEAR'S CROP.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THIS HAS LEFT AN ESTIMATED 27.4-MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF THE REGION'S COMBINED POPULATION OF 292-MILLION – OR NEARLY 10 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE – REQUIRING FOOD AID BY THE END OF THE YEAR. FURTHERMORE, YIELDS OF THE MAIN STAPLE MAIZE (CORN) HAVE SHRUNK BY UP TO 90 PERCENT IN SOME COUNTRIES OF THE 15-NATION SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC). THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL TO ALL OF US.

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, DESPITE THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF EXTREME CLIMATE ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, AFRICA (SADC INCLUSIVE) HOLDS ENORMOUS POTENTIAL IF THE RIGHT AGRICULTURAL POLICIES ARE ADOPTED AND FUNDED. CLIMATE RESILIENT AGRICULTURAL POLICIES ARE ONE SUCH POLICIES THAT WILL HELP AFRICA ADAPT TO THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE WILL ENABLE THE CONTINENT

TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS MITIGATION EFFORTS. IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT AFRICA HOLDS AROUND 60 PER CENT OF THE WORLD’S UNCULTIVATED ARABLE LAND AND COULD GROW ENOUGH FOOD, NOT ONLY TO MEET ITS OWN NEEDS, BUT ALSO TO FEED OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE IS A PATHWAY TOWARDS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD & NUTRITION SECURITY WHICH IS BUILT ON THREE PILLARS NAMELY; INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AND INCOME, ENHANCING RESILIENCE OF LIVELIHOODS AND ECOSYSTEMS, AND REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM THE ATMOSPHERE. THEREFORE, ‘CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE’ IS AGRICULTURE THAT INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY IN A SUSTAINABLE MANNER, STRENGTHENS RESILIENCE (ADAPTATION) AND, WHERE FEASIBLE, REDUCES/REMOVES GREENHOUSE GASES (MITIGATION). YET AT THE SAME TIME, IT SEEKS TO ENHANCE THE ACHIEVEMENT OF NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT GOALS.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

RECENT EXPERIENCES AND STUDIES ON CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE SHOW THAT THERE ARE NO ONE SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTIONS: CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE PRACTICES NEED TO RESPOND TO DIFFERENT LOCAL CONDITIONS, TO GEOGRAPHY, WEATHER, THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE AS WELL AS TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE SOCIAL DYNAMICS.

I COMMEND FANRPAN AND ITS PARTNERS IN THEIR PURSUIT OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF BETTER FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES POLICIES IN AFRICA. I HAVE IT ON GOOD ACCOUNT THAT THIS DIALOGUE WILL DELIBERATE ON RESULTS OF THE FANRPAN CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE POLICY SCOPING EXERCISE THIS WAS CONDUCTED IN 15 AFRICAN COUNTRIES INCLUDING ZAMBIA AND WAS FUNDED BY THE AFRICAN CAPACITY BUILDING FOUNDATION AND NORAD.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

IT IS CRITICAL THAT VALUABLE LESSONS FROM THESE STUDIES ARE SHARED WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS, AND ENSURE THAT THESE LESSONS COMPLEMENT EVIDENCE GENERATED BY OTHER MINISTRIES, RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS, FARMER ORGANISATIONS, NGOS AND PRIVATE SECTOR IN ORDER FOR US TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE.

IN AFRICA, ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND CLIMATE VARIABILITY IS ALL ABOUT HAVING (1) KNOWLEDGE, (2) TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION, (3) RESPONSIVE ACTION, AND (4) STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

THE TIME CANNOT BE MORE OPPORTUNE FOR US TO ACT AND HELP TO SPELL OUT WHERE AFRICA IS GOING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE. IT IS A SOBERING THOUGHT TO HAVE FARMERS TAKE THE LEAD IN CALLING FOR EVIDENCE-BASED POLICIES PARTICULARLY AT THIS TIME WHEN THE CONTINENT IS RAVAGED BY POVERTY AND THE HAZARDOUS EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

AS THE WORLD LOOKS AHEAD TO THE PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS IN DECEMBER, THE INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE NEEDS TO MAKE AGRICULTURE INTEGRAL TO ALL AGREEMENTS AND ACTIVITIES. IF WE FAIL TO SAFEGUARD OUR NATURAL RESOURCE BASE, FARMERS WILL CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE DIMINISHING RETURNS ON THEIR INVESTMENTS. SADLY, THEY WILL HAVE TO SELL OFF THEIR MEAGRE PHYSICAL ASSETS THAT THEY OWN; AND AS SUCH, THEY WILL ULTIMATELY FAIL TO FEED THEIR FAMILIES.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS WE DIALOGUE IN THE NEXT TWO DAYS, I URGE YOU TO THINK ABOUT THE SMALLHOLDER FARMER, THE WOMAN FARMER ARMED WITH A HAND HOE IN ONE HAND, A BABY ON HER BACK AND 50 PER CENT OF WHOM ARE PREGNANT WHILST STILL FACED WITH THE CHALLENGES OF PRODUCING FOOD FROM THEIR SMALLHOLDING FARMS. BUT YIELDS ONLY MEET TWO MONTHS OF THE HOUSEHOLD NEEDS DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE’S NEGATIVE IMPACT, SOILS THAT ARE DENUDED OF NUTRIENTS, FERTILIZER THAT IS NOT APPLIED ACCORDING TO PRESCRIPTIONS AND THE SOIL’S NEEDS.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

IN CLOSING, LET ME REITERATE THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL! SO LET US ALL FULLY ENGAGE IN THE DIALOGUE. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, WHEN I SAY WE, I MEAN ALL OF US. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT EACH ONE OF US GATHERED HERE TODAY, BECOMES A CREDIBLE MESSENGER FOR THE KEY MESSAGES THAT WE WILL HEAR TODAY. IT IS TIME THAT WE CHAMPION A NEW CAUSE WITH CLEAR SYNERGIES, VALUE-ADDITION AND A ROAD MAP THAT TAKES US TO THE FINISH LINE. FIELD VISITS TO SITES NEED TO BE MAINSTREAMED IN ALL PROGRAMMES.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

BEFORE I END MY SPEECH, ALLOW ME TO THANK FANRPAN AND THE AGRICULTURAL CONSULTATIVE FORUM FOR FACILITATING THIS IMPORTANT REGIONAL POLICY DIALOGUE. I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THIS DIALOGUE WILL GO A LONG WAY IN SUPPORTING GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES IN THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR. AS GOVERNMENT, WE FULLY SUPPORT THIS PROCESS AND WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE RESOLUTIONS FROM THIS MEETING.

WITH THESE FEW REMARKS IT IS MY SINGULAR HONOUR TO DECLARE THIS MEETING OFFICIALLY OPENED.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

I THANK YOU.