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Parliament Urged To Draft Policies That Mitigate Effects Of Climate Change On Agriculture

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Parliamentarians in Africa have been advised to prioritise the drafting of policies that will take into account measures that will lead to a resilient and sustainable food system including efficient production, in the wake of extreme and harsh weather conditions, being experienced in Uganda and other regions today.

Currently, Uganda is experiencing mudslides and landslides in the Elgon and Rwenzori regions, where apart from loss of lives and property, food items such as beans, bananas, maize and sweet potatoes that had been planted at the beginning of the second planting season have been washed away.

In the north-eastern parts of the country such as Karamoja sub-region, they are faced with hunger that has led to the death of livestock and humans, following the prolonged drought in the region.

For countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have been experiencing severe multisession drought conditions with the lowest rains in March to May recorded in 70 years.

And the Sahel region of West Africa, it will be most affected by global climate change, which will be exacerbated by a highly degraded and diminishing natural resource base and very high population growth.

That is one of the recommendations by the Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR 22) that was unveiled on September 6, 2022 at the ongoing Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) , organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Kigali, Rwanda.

In view of the above effects of climate change in Africa, measures that will be proposed in the policy documents should include development and promotion of drought-tolerant crops and hardy livestock breeds and species; conversion of marginal land to silvi-pastoral systems, investment in smallholder irrigation and rainwater-harvesting, improved animal feeding systems, and enhanced agricultural market integration and performance, according to the AASR 22 report.

 The above measures should be accompanied with reduction in Green House Gas emissions, (GHD) said to be one of the key drivers of global climate change.

And one way of reducing these gases is for farmers to be encouraged to covert to no-till and minimum tillage practices to enhance carbon sequestration, inclusion of legumes in crop rotations to fix soil nitrogen, and reduced application of inorganic nitrogen with commensurate reductions in nitrous oxide, which is 300 percent more potent as a GHG than carbon-dioxide.

The AASR22 report also calls for improved livestock feeding practices such as a transition from grain- to pasture-fed beef could reduce emissions from gastro-enteric fermentation, which would reduce enteric fermentation while enhancing soil carbon sequestration in Africa’s rangeland, among others.

Filed by Prossy Nandudu

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