Triple A (Adaptation of African Agriculture): African agriculture in the front line against climate change

Summary

After COP 21 in Paris last year, COP 22 in Marrakech aims to be the one taking real action on behalf of Africa. To this end, before the event, Morocco brought together twenty-odd African ministers to put the spotlight on agriculture – a sector that employs 60% of Africa’s population – and make it a key lever to combat climate change and its effects through the initiative dubbed Triple A (Adaptation of African Agriculture).

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The meeting was an opportunity to discuss various African experiments to combat global warming, and most importantly, to put forward solutions at COP 22 for curbing it in a rapidly changing continent. Africa’s contribution needs to be part of the global effort to protect the planet, bearing in mind that current ambitions are far from achieved. What does the name Triple A represent in practical terms for Africa? We take a look.

A challenge: getting Africa to speak with one voice

According to the definition of the GIEC, Triple A covers “all initiatives and measures to limit the vulnerability” of the African environment to the effects of global warming: a vulnerability that could severely impact social and economic development, given that an increase of 2° in the planet’s temperature would lead to of a rise of 3° or even 4° in the Sahel desert, with considerable repercussions on the surrounding ecosystem. Triple A represents a powerful determination to anticipate the economic requirements of a booming continent. This means ensuring a secure food supply for Africa as a whole, whose present population of 2.5 billion will be double that by 2050. The Moroccan initiative thus includes « African » topics in the COP 22 programme. There are three approaches on the agenda. The first concerns improving land fertility and carbon sequestration in the soil, together with a changeover to tree cultivation. The second concerns the sustainable management of resources such as water in agriculture, and the third aims to boost the management of climate risks in the farming sector.

These are all crucial challenges for the continent, and they need to be approached holistically. Without security in terms of food, Africa is in danger of becoming even more dependent on the countries of the North, and unable to create conditions for productive, sustainable development. So, tripling the agricultural production needed by 2052 to meet food requirements means promoting farming and breeding methods that are productive, protect the soil and biodiversity, produce low quantities of greenhouse gases, and effectively resist the new risks connected with climate change.

Towards lobbying in the general interest?

Obviously, all these transformations need to be assisted, supported and financed. While for the moment African agriculture ministers have all come out in support of Triple A, the question of how this transition is to be financed will soon need to be tackled.

According to Precious Phiri, CEO of the firm “Earth Wisdom” and a member of the consumer network Regeneration International, the amount allocated by the Green Fund created by COP21 is still inadequate for the continent’s future needs. As she explains on the Regeneration International blog: “$100 billion is channeled every year to fund developing world productivity needs. Africa receives less than 50% of international funding overall. For climate change initiatives, Africa gets less than 5% of available funding. This year the Triple A seeks to lobby for $30 billion to be used as a pool fund for Agriculture.” This unique initiative thus needs to become a genuine lobby to obtain long-term guarantees. There is already a date: on 13 November, during COP 22, the various stakeholders are invited to share their ideas and practical examples to energize Triple A. A crucial time is in store for African agriculture and the planet alike.

Picture from AAA initiative