Food security innovations that serve smallholders’ adaptation to Climate Change at #COP21

Today at the UN Climate Summit in Paris (COP21) the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Union (EU) and the global research partnership, CGIAR, presented results from an EU-IFAD co-financed CGIAR research programme which promotes adaptation to climate change and reduced emissions for smallholder farmer.

Megan Rowling from the Thomson Reuters Foundation said that the number of hungry people worldwide has dropped by around 20 per cent. But, there is still a long way to go to get to zero per cent hunger by 2030.

There are a total of 836 million poor children, women and men in the world today. The majority of them live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. Agriculture is both a victim and a significant contributor to climate change, according to IFAD’s President Kanayo F. Nwanze.

"Investing in smallholder adaptation is key to fighting climate change and also protecting food security,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze. “Smallholders are not just victims they are an important part of the solution to climate change.”

Kenyan farming leader, Purity Gachanga said that if farmers all used climate smart technologies smallholder farmers in developing countries could go far towards meeting the zero hunger goal.

"Everything used to grow - we expected rains in March and they would come,” Said Purity Gachanga. “That doesn’t happen anymore. Plants germinate without rain and yields suffer." 

Tony Simons, head of one of the CGIAR research centres reinforced the case for further research to help farmers adapt to climate impacts.

"If we could predict the future, we wouldn't need research,” said Simons. “If things never changed, we wouldn't need research - if we had all the answers we wouldn't need research - This isn't the case, we need research!"

"Sustainable agriculture, the truth works!” said the EU’s Roberto Ridolfi.

"The average farmer’s age is too high. It is not appealing to younger people. We need drive. The kind you can only find in humans. Farming is the biggest private sector actor and needs to be given that respect."

Moving forward in the COP21 negotiations we need to heed the words of IFAD's President: "Move from declarations to actions, now we have to to walk the talk!"