As the world descends on Morocco for the annual United Nations climate conference, the host nation is championing an unlikely hero: African agriculture.
After launching the ambitious Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative in September, the Moroccan government seeks to mobilise $30bn of investment for the sector that is under the most significant threat from climate change, in the region that is the least equipped to deal with it. According to current estimates, the negative effects of climate change are already reducing Africa’s GDP by about 1.4 per cent, and the costs arising from adaptation to climate change are set to reach an annual three per cent of GDP by 2030. A principal victim of this is the agriculture sector, which not only feeds the chronically food-insecure continent, but forms the backbone of its economy and its route out of poverty.
A new study out this week led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development shows that Morocco’s approach may well be on the right track. It confirms that investment in climate-sensitive approaches for smallholder farmers can more than double farmer incomes – meaning directing climate funding for adaptation in African agriculture would make both climate and economic sense.
However, Africa currently only attracts around 5 per cent of climate funding. This is despite the fact that six of the 10 countries most affected by climate change are in Africa, and every single African nation that submitted climate adaptation strategies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris last year, included agriculture in its plans. Read more