Enhancing adaptation capabilities of small-scale farmers to climate change

At the Forty-third session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 43), participants  met for an event where “Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition” was the subject of discussion.

The event was facilitated by Mark Davis, FAO Deputy Director of the Climate and Environment Division. It was a fairly informal panel with representatives from each of the Rome Based Agencies, and a representative from the World Farmers Organisation. The panel included: Alexandre Meybeck, Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture at FAO; Roshan Cooke, Regional Environment and Climate Change specialist at IFAD ; Tania Osejo, Climate Adaptation Specialist at WFP; and Mr Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer at the National Smallholder Farmers Association on Malawi. During the  side event, panellists focused on experiences from local climate adaptation efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition.

Mark Davis opened by saying ''With a changing climate, agriculture needs to change way it operates too.''

In light of the Paris Agreement, rural communities and farmers have been urged to  take the lead as efficient agents of change to enhance adaptation capabilities to the negative impacts of climate change to food security and nutrition.

The event also  reviewed elements in various country–led climate adaptation plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ten INDCs actually name IFAD specifically as contributing towards their national adaptation priorities in the agriculture sector. “We need to move towards diversification for farmers - away from monoculture'', said Roshan Cooke, adding,'' Good results are already coming in from our adaptation work with smallholders."

Alexandre gave the FAO view by saying ''We need a multi stakeholder approach to working with  countries on their INDC targets and priorities that leverages each agency’s comparative advantages..''

Tania admitted that reaching the Sustainable Development Goals would put the Rome-based Agencies out of business. Achieving  zero hunger would mean WFP had done its job. Unfortunately we are not there yet. So in the meantime, 'we are trying to facilitate adaptation planning processes whilst linking communities to market and social infrastructure.''