Merian Kalala, a farmer in Solwezi, capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia, knows firsthand that climate change is posing massive problems for agricultural productivity.
With its negative effects already being felt through floods, droughts, early frosts and increased incidences of pests and diseases, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts an increase in the frequency and intensity of such severe weather events across the globe, threatening to reverse global developmental gains.
Although it falls at number 13 on the list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change is now being described as the greatest development challenge of the 21st century.
Kalala hails from a region that gets normal to above-normal rainfall annually, but she understands the stress that her fellow smallholders affected by drought are going through, and believes the latest technology and innovations as highlighted at the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) General Assembly in Zambia this week could be crucial to tackling the challenge.
Climate change is a serious threat to agriculture. But Kalala thinks an integrated approach where farmers have a guaranteed access to finance, insurance and markets could be a solution to climate change impacts.
“With insurance, smallholders are assured of some returns in case of disasters,” said Kalala, whose association is on the verge of signing a financing agreement with NATSAVE and MFinance to grow soya beans with a market access guarantee.
Globally, agriculture directly accounts for 13.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (methane from animals and nitrous oxide from agricultural soils) and another 17 percent indirectly through deforestation and land use change.
However, it is also a crucial part of the solution through implementation of efficient climate-smart agricultural practices.