COP27: Climate change prompts an urgent call for agricultural adaptation

“Leading scientists have told us that we face unavoidable climate hazards over the next two decades, even if we succeed in keeping global warming to 1.5°C, including sea level rise, unpredictable rainfall, flooding, drought, heatwaves and heat extremes, forest fires, and melting glaciers and permafrost. The impacts of these changes will undermine development gains, exacerbate geopolitical tensions, accelerate the food security crisis, and result in greater instability and humanitarian need…And to tackle one of the greatest global challenges of our time, we must make deep investments in our allies and partners and support their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”  

The above statement is from the White House’s recently published PREPARE Action Plan which gravely outlines the dire situation the world faces: we must all work to adapt to climate change, or else. Similar calls to action were promptly reverberated at this year’s COP27, an annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This 27th Conference of the Parties took place in Egypt from November 6 to 20 and hosted more than 100 Heads of State and Governments and over 35,000 participants through multiple events, showcases, negotiations and press conferences to review and take action towards global climate goals formed under the Paris Agreement and Convention.

World Leaders call attention to adaptation for agriculture. 

Unlike previous years, discussions around adaptation took the spotlight as the world continues to grapple with extreme and catastrophic weather events. The sentiment that echoed across numerous conference rooms and negotiation tables was that of an urgent call to either adapt to climate change or starve.  

Attention of adaptation, agriculture, and food systems in the context of climate change is not only enlightening, but necessary. Food production in developing countries has been suffering for years as a result of abnormal climatic conditions. This, in part, has contributed to a rise of food insecurity, a trend that is frightening many world leaders.  

During a press conference, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, Ambassador for the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), calls out to world leaders that “we need to help rural populations build their resilience to extreme weather events and adapt to a changing climate. If not, we only go from one crisis to the next. Small-scale farmers work hard to grow food for us in tough conditions.”  

Due to a variation of compounded reasons such as socioeconomic status among others, smallholder farmers are often the least resilient to climate change. And this matters; it is estimated that there are 600 million smallholder farmers across the world that produce around one third of all food consumed. Yet in developing countries, this statistic is much higher. Smallholder farmers are responsible for feeding up to 80 percent of the population in many African countries. Failure to address the adaptation struggles of this population could have dangerous consequences, leading to long-term hunger, poverty, migration, and even conflict, warns Dina Saleh, Regional Director of IFAD.

Technology and resources for smallholder adaptation.  

It has been proven that vulnerable households are more at risk to climate change because they lack productive inputs and practices that would protect their crop yields during a bad year. Research has shown that financial and agricultural technologies can both increase resilience in good years and bad years.  

Bountifield is committed to addressing this hurdle for smallholder farms by creating access to vital inputs such as technology, business training and finance. When smallholder farmers develop their capacity through these services, they become less vulnerable and more resilient to climate change.  

The United Nation’s Adaptation Gap Report 2021 estimated that the necessary adaptation costs in developing countries will rise to USD $300 billion by 2030, and up to USD $500 billion by 2050 to properly and justly respond to the climate crisis. However, current commitments and interventions are significantly falling short of this figure.  

That is why programs such as Bountifield are crucial to helping rural communities strengthen their resilience to climate change through vital technologies to increase the availability, affordability, and accessibility of nutritious food.  

Every step taken to help rural communities matters; no matter how big or small. With continued support, we can continue our mission to help more and more smallholder farmers and rural communities not only to endure, but to thrive.  

Help Bountifield continue to strengthen climate resilience and adaptation for smallholder farmers across Africa with a donation today.