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Before COP25, Africa intends to defend its agriculture

A few weeks before the international climate meeting (COP25) in Spain, Africa closes the ranks, in a coalition led by Morocco, to request more transitional funds dedicated to a climate-smart agriculture. Morocco relies on the expertise of a phosphate producer.

Part of Africa is affected by food insecurity, aggravated by climate change. In this context, three countries, Somalia, Chad and Tunisia, joined on November 5, 2019 the coalition of 35 African countries (out of 54), named AAA (Adaptation of African Agriculture), launched by Morocco in 2016. Objective to bring the interests of Africa and its agriculture into the climate negotiations. “We especially want to bridge the gap between the climate community and the farming community”AFR told AFP Abir Lemseffer, director of the AAA Foundation. It has led meetings of African ministers, scientists and international donors at Mohammed VI University in Benguerir (western Morocco).

While the COP25, initially planned in Chile, is to be held from 2 to 13 December 2019 in Madrid, the AAA meeting should take place “every year before the COPsspecified Abir Lemseffer. Welcoming the work already done on the subject, in particular by the French Development Agency (AFD), the World Bank has made public its commitment to the tune of 2 billion dollars to finance projects. projects “Climate-smart” in 11 African countries. Examples : the world's two largest cocoa producing countries, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, have joined forces with food groups (Nestlé …) to lead a concerted action against “deforestation associated with cocoa production”; in Ethiopia, a sustainable management program strives to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the state of Oromia (center and south of the country).

Clarification regarding expression “Climate-smart” : “Climate Smart Agriculture (CIA) is an approach that identifies the steps needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support agricultural development and food security in the face of change.” climate “, says the site of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In this context, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has just made a giant capital increase of “125% of its capital” at $ 115 billion, the largest in its history. The goal is to use it to “support a sustainable transformation of African agriculture”.

At the same time, to help with the transition, a Green Climate Fund, launched by the UN in late 2011, has forecast two million dollars per country, highlights Abir Lemseffer. “But to date, only six African countries have been able to disburse this money, because they do not have the capacity to mount files, while they are among the first victims of the warming”, she notes. It's urgent While more than 200 million people are malnourished in Africa, crop yields could drop by 20% by 2050, with warming of 2 degrees. All while the population continues to increase.

A farmer, Nobutho Thethani, works in the fields in South Johannesburg (South Africa) on February 21, 2019. (REUTERS – SIPHIWE SIBEKO / X90069)

“AAA Foundation works to enable Africa to access” to the Green Fund, adds Abir Lemseffer. And behind this foundation, it is the Shereefian kingdom that is at the maneuver, which can help to promote … its own interests. To deal with the crucial subject of land degradation, Morocco relies in particular on the expertise of the OCP group, main producer of phosphates on the continent. Which phosphates are used in chemical agricultural fertilizers, which are among the main vectors of intensive agriculture, far removed from green practices …

In the Sahel, shaken by inter-community conflicts, the financing of agriculture can play a role of weapon of peace, estimated the participants in AAA meetings. Provided that flexible means are found to finance irrigation projects, the purchase of seeds orinputs quality, or access to credit for smallholders. “With the increasingly severe drought, livestock from the north-eastern part of the country is invading my country, small farmers are being excluded from their land and can no longer grow.” It would be very important for AAA to also include a peaceful and intelligent transhumance in its reflections, pleaded the Minister of Agriculture of Central Africa.

Behind the demand for management of pastoral conflicts between breeders and farmers around scarce natural resources, is the hope of slowing down the migrations that feed the great flows towards the north of Europe.

For Patrick Caron, researcher at Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), “there is no local solution duplicable to infinity to solve all problems at the same time” in Africa. The continent “at the same time needs local innovations to allow, for example, a better assimilation of rainwater by degraded soils, of structural transformations (land status, agricultural policy ..) and interlinked territorial projects “ he told AFP.

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