Monday, July 15, 2024

Agricultural sector not spared from climate change – Kenewendo

With climate change purportedly making agricultural activities more difficult to meet human demands around the world, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ special advisor, Africa director, Bogolo Kenewendo, is concerned about Botswana’s food security.

While discussing climate finance for Africa on a Foresight Africa podcast, she remarked that Botswana’s agriculture sector is in jeopardy. “The impact of climate change in Botswana is evidently seen in our agricultural sector, which has always been quite small, but now it is really under threat of the ever changing climate, of the droughts, the consistent and persistent droughts that we see,” says Kenewendo.

She was speaking with Aloysius Uche Ordu, a senior fellow and director of the Africa Growth Initiative in the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program.

Kenewendo pointed out that Botswana should give the agriculture sector higher priority because the effects of climate change are visible everywhere. “So, it’s really mainly the agricultural sector that I would say to me should have a stronger focus. Solutions should be seen,” she says.

Although climate change is becoming a contentious issue, with some claiming it exists while others deny it, some climate scientists say it is already affecting Botswana’s food security by reducing food availability and lowering access to food.  They also contend that Botswana’s changing weather patterns, such as changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, and decreasing water availability, could all contribute to lower agricultural productivity.

“I had a very interesting conversation last month with some players in the agricultural sector in Botswana about climate-smart agriculture because it’s very imperative—right now there’s a global, ensuing global food crisis and we should find ways of really being able to provide for our own food, our own grains in Botswana,” says Kenewendo, adding that “So, we have to think about innovation around agriculture and climate-smart agriculture in order to really secure people’s livelihoods.”

She also urged Botswana to find answers to problems such as climate adaption and resilience. “My main concern with this is when we fail to deal with adaptation and resilience in places like Botswana, particularly areas that are closer to the desert, is those areas already have very high unemployment, very high poverty rates, very high malnutrition rates,” she says.

Furthermore, she indicated that: “So, a further impact on their access to food and agricultural sector will really deteriorate livelihoods in those spaces and we do not want to see any further loss of progress that has been made in the last decades of uplifting people’s lives”.

Concerning Botswana’s response to climate change, Kenewendo stated that the effects of climate change will worsen, thus “it’s best that we start acting now.”


Read this week's paper