NAIROBI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- African governments should embark on policy reforms in order to facilitate large-scale adoption of food production systems that are resilient to climatic stresses, international scientists said on Wednesday.
The scientists who met in Nairobi for a two-day Africa climate smart agriculture summit proposed a revamp of existing policies and legislation to boost investments in farming systems that can withstand extreme weather events across the continent.
Richard Munang, the African Region Climate Change Coordinator at the UN Environment (UNEP), said that the quest for food security should be embedded within local and national climate response strategies.
"We need to restart a conversation on climate response in Africa and realign it with the aspiration to become food secure," Munang remarked, adding that African countries have made gradual progress in climate-proofing their agriculture sector.
Senior policymakers, representatives of industry, academia and multilateral lenders attended the Nairobi climate summit agriculture summit to discuss new strategies to shield the continent from hunger, water scarcity and habitat loss due to global warming.
The participants unveiled a detailed guide developed by international research bodies to showcase how investments in climate smart agriculture in 14 African countries have unleashed benefits to smallholder farmers and industry.
Ademola Braimoh, the Coordinator for climate smart agriculture at the World Bank, stressed that targeted policy and funding interventions are required to cushion African farmers from negative impacts of climate related shocks.
"Large-scale investments in climate smart agriculture need to be based on solid evidence that will provide productivity and climate benefits," said Braimoh.
He added that quality data is key to guiding investments in climate resilient agriculture in a continent struggling to feed its ballooning population.
The detailed guide on status of climate smart agriculture in Africa that was developed by international scientists root for irrigation, better land use practices, agro-forestry, zero tillage and organic farming to enhance food production in the light of erratic weather patterns.
Evan Girvetz, a senior scientist at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), said that accurate data should be availed to African governments, industry and donors to help change the misconception that investing in the continent's agriculture is a risky venture.
"For many large donors, private sector companies and African governments, investing in African agriculture is still extremely risky," said Girvetz.
"Our data and evidence based reports aim to reduce that risk, by providing a detailed analysis of the most effective approaches to the sustained adoption of climate-smart agriculture from a local to a national level," he added.