Africa / Agriculture / Climate Change / Food Security / Opinion piece / Rwanda

Can smallholder farmers take a leading role in addressing the twin challenges of food security and environmental sustainability?

NP Himachal Pradesh 75

A farmer in Himachal Pradesh, India. Smallholder farmers can contribute to the search for climate solutions (photo credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT).

Paul Kagame, the president of the Republic of Rwanda, says experience from that country shows that smallholder farmers can contribute to the search for climate-smart solutions and climate talks should bring smallholder agriculture into the discussion.

In an opinion piece published in Business Daily (Kenya), he says:

‘Until the world’s small farmers adopt a series of necessary changes, climate talks such as the United Nations Rio+20 Summit, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro this June, will never translate into action.’

‘The emergence of a global green economy requires governments, other policymakers, and businesses from developed and emerging economies to recognize the inextricable linkages between climate change, the environment, and food security. This means bringing the world’s smallholder agriculture into the discussion.’

‘Every day, smallholder farmers in developing countries confront the consequences of climate change. They are often the very first to fall prey to fickle global markets or extreme weather events.’

‘Yet smallholders cannot be ignored when it comes to climate-change solutions: the world’s half-billion small farms account for 60 per cent of global agriculture production and provide up to 80% of the food supply in developing countries. Together, they manage vast areas of our planet, including 80% of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.’

The lesson is simple: identify the climate-smart farming practices and techniques that can boost agricultural production, convey the relevant know-how to smallholders, support them as they make the transition, and create a policy environment that enables them to take advantage of this knowledge.

Read whole article in Business DailyInvolve farmers in climate solutions, 15 Mar 2012.

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