EU funds to promote climate-smart agriculture for smallholder farmers in Southern Africa

The European Union (EU) has availed a €1.5 million fund to help 140 000 smallholder farmers in Southern Africa adopt new innovations aimed at aiding the transition from traditional to climate-smart agriculture (CSA) solutions.

The fund will be disbursed through the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a Netherlands-based non-governmental organisations that works to promote climate-smart agriculture as well as adaptation to, and the mitigation of climate change in Africa.

In a statement, CTA said the funding agreement was signed in Johannesburg recently. The organisation said the mitigation of climate change remained a core objective shared with the EU as well as implementing partners and governments in the Southern African region.

“Working through partnerships, the project seeks to improve and stabilise food security and income for 140 000 smallholder farmers in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe under a changing climate. The 2-year project seeks to promote smallholder farmer access to a multi-layer bundle of solutions to enable them to address the challenges they encounter in their daily lives.

“Climate solutions involve the use of stress-tolerant seed, weather information service using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, innovative weather-based insurance schemes and expanded livelihood options through livestock production,” the organisation said.

Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation to South Africa, Dr Arno Schaefer was quoted as saying climate change had negatively affected the practice of agriculture, especially the rain-fed model.

“Agricultural production systems and the farmers need to adapt to new realities. We need to help farmers to be more resilient and adapt to climate change which, unfortunately, is to a certain degree inevitable in the near future,” Schaefer said.

The project also seeks to establish the specific solutions that farmers need to help develop resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as how to share the proven solutions between farming communities.

The CTA Southern Africa Flagship project was launched in June last year with the objective of building smallholder farmer resilience to climate change through CSA solutions.

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