CCARDESA and the Ministry of Agriculture in Botswana convene an information sharing event

CCARDESA and the Department of Agricultural Research in Botswana convened a half day information sharing event on 23 March 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives of most departments in the Botswana Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security.

Opening the meeting the Director of Agricultural Research and Board Member for CCARDESA Dr Mosupi thanked all development partners who find it fit to support developing countries especially southern Africa in addressing their key challenges. He stressed that SADC still needs expertise and support from developed countries in addressing many development issues including the challenge of climate change adaptation. He challenged all SADC member states to implement development projects with maximum commitment in order to fully benefit from the support. He thanked the German Government and GIZ for partnering with SADC in addressing the challenge of climate change, a challenge which he said has come to stay. If proper measures are not taken, climate change poses serious food security challenges to the region.  He encouraged all departments of the Ministry to take advantage of such gatherings and come up with ideas which work for farmers who happen to be directly affected by climate change even though the resultant food insecurity will spare noone including urban dweller.

He called for all departments of the Ministry to work together in the fight to minimise effects of climate change and proposed establishment of a committee represented by all departments to deal with issues of climate change adaptation in liason with CCARDESA.

Speaking on behalf of the Acting Direct of CCARDESA, Dr Podisi thanked the Government of Botswana especially the Ministry of Agriculture for hosting CCARDESA on behalf of all SADC member states. He reiterated that SADC is rich in natural resources which are however, being underutilised.

Dr Podisi presented the role of CCARDESA as a subregional organisation and explained how member states are expected to benefit from the SRO. He described CCARDESA as a facilitator of linkages, collaboration and knowledge sharing in agriculture besides supporting and coordinating various projects. He stated that CCARDESA is currently coordinating over 74 regional projects addressing various food security issues in the region. He also dwelt into the Agricultural Productivity Programme (APPSA), a World Bank supported project which is currently being implemented in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to develop these countries as centres of leardership in maize, rice and legumes cropping systems respectively.

Ms Sarah Beerhalter the programme manager for ACCRA reiterated the effects of climate change in the region which include floods, high temperature and droughts. After a comprehensive situation analysis she highlighted need for the region to increase its agricultural production by at least 60% by 2050 to feed its increasing population. Climate change makes it a mammoth task to reach such high targets. She said ACCRA programme aims to facilitate regional knowledge sharing in CSA and to support the region in adapting to climate change. For knowledge sharing she said GIZ is working with CCARDESA to build necessary systems and produce more knowledge products as well as in building capacity for extension and various stakeholders in addressing climate change and related policy issues. She indicated that for Botswana the project is working with Lesotho and Botswana to start piloting climate smart practices in the production of sorghum.  She also extended an opportunity for capacity building to Botswana in terms of mainstreaming climate smart issues in the national agricultural policy as well as in extension strategies and messages.

Participants were introduced to knowledge sharing platforms which CCARDESA is developing to reach out to the region on CSA. They were encouraged to share information through the platforms and access more information from other countries. The platforms include the website, the Southern African Agricultural Information and Knowledge System (SAAIKS) and social media tools.

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