African countries to bear the brunt of climate change: FAO

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Tiri Masawi

Windhoek - African countries that are still in their development phase and over reliant on agriculture for survival will be the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, drastically reducing yields and also threatening food security, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says.

FAO also believes African countries stand to accrue better harvests and improve agriculture production if they put more efforts in practising smart agriculture in the midst of uncertain weather patterns brought about by climate change.

Ironically the report by FAO comes on the back of unfamiliar weather patterns in Southern African which have seen persistent droughts ravaging crops in most countries while the years that have seen rainfall have been characterised by rather gusty winds and devastating floods.

SADC has also become prone to unreasonably high temperatures across all countries resulting in heat waves in some instances.

FAO, in its report chronicling the advantages of smart agriculture, said more than three quarters of the world’s population in rural areas is dependent on agriculture for survival and needs to adopt the latest farming trends that are less dependent on the natural rainfall patterns.

The report also noted that countries in the developing world are the most hit by the effects of climate change, a move that will threaten the sustainability of agriculture as well as food security for multitudes of such populations in Africa.

“Over the world, three quarters of the people live in rural areas and many of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Its effects will include higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and frequent extreme weather events. The agriculture sectors in the developing world absorb around 22 percent of the economic impact caused by medium to large natural hazards,” FAO said.

The United Nations organisation responsible for food security also reiterated the need for Third World countries to be better equipped for their agriculture to survive, whether the devastating effects of climate change are to be felt severely or not. According to FAO, solace for farmers in Africa as well as other countries in the developing world primarily lies in smart agriculture.

FAO also mentioned that other countries in Africa, including Zambia, are already exploiting the opportunities presented by smart agriculture in improving output as well as well as alleviate the direct effects of reduced yields brought about by climate change.

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