Hot, hungry and starved of investment: supporting smallholders to build a climate-resilient agricultural sector in southern Africa

Hot, hungry and starved of investment: supporting smallholders to build a climate-resilient agricultural sector in southern Africa

As the African Development Bank meets in southern Africa, one of the strongest and most sustained El Niño events on record, turbocharged by climate change, is causing severe drought, failed harvests and a hunger crisis across the region. This is being made worse by record high temperatures as a result of global warming. Women farmers are on the front line of climate change, yet are also the region’s first line of defence against food insecurity. With smallholder agriculture being critical to both food security and inclusive growth, governments, supported by donors and international organisations, must urgently implement plans to better support smallholder farmers and increase resilience. This paper outlines the current situation in the region and presents recommendations to help work towards this.

 

Recommendations for the African Development Bank include: invest in infrastructure for small-scale producers and processors, especially women; resist the attraction of large-scale PPPs; and champion funds for adapting to climate change. Recommendations for national governments include: tailor public spending to help women and smallholder farmers diversify away from maize and enter high-value chains; strengthen land tenure rights for smallholders and women; promote responsible private sector investment in smallholder and women farmers; and invest in sustainable agriculture that is resilient to climate change. 

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