Niger centre studies climate-smart agriculture and climate finance
Some two thirds of the Sahel’s 100 million population depend on agriculture for their survival, but climate change threatens that very survival. Droughts or even flooding can quickly devastate farms and livestock.
Adaptation requires leaders and public servants who understand the challenge and techniques to overcome it.
“Agriculture is the key sector in the Sahel and West African economies, but it faces a major challenge,” says Maguette Kaire, GCCA+ Coordinator in the Sahel.
“To fight climate change, we need to understand it first so that we can adopt solutions at national and local level,” he adds.
In June 2014, the Intra-ACP GCCA Programme worked with the Centre Regional Agrhymet (CRA) to build that understanding. Based in Niamey, Niger, the Centre Regional Agrhymet (CRA) takes students from all across the region, training future leaders on a range of issues including environment, agriculture, water, energy, environmental science, geography, and more.
The Intra-ACP GCCA Programme financed an international consultant to help develop two modules for the CRA’s Masters Programme on climate change and sustainable development. The two modules covered
climate-smart agriculture and climate finance.
Both modules have proven to be very useful for the students, Maguette says. The work on climate finance helps participants to understand the opportunities for international support and to access further support for the region.
“The module on climate finance showed the diversity of funding possibilities and gave ideas on how to access this funding.”
The consultant also trained CILSS staff to teach the modules themselves.
“This Masters course is very popular in Sahel countries,” says Maguette. “Students learn from experts and researchers, who have long experience in the field.”
Still supported by the Intra-ACP GCCA+ Programme, further courses are due in 2019 and 2020.
FACTBOX – SAHEL - AGRICULTURE
Some two thirds of the Sahel’s 100 million population depend on agriculture or livestock. Here are some more facts about the impact of climate change on farming and food security in the Sahel.
- Yields are low and over a third of crops are lost every year.
- Climate change may already be impacting the region. In 2017, lack of rain in many Sahel areas affected pasture availability and led to an early onset of the lean season. Up to 40 and 95 percent of the pastoral areas were negatively affected in Chad and Mauritania respectively.
- UNICEF has warned that well over 1.5 million children under the age of five may be affected by severe acute malnutrition in 2018.
- The UN also estimated that in the Sahel’s pastoral areas, 4.25 million people would need food assistance in the 2018 lean season (May to August). As many as 6.8 million people may need humanitarian assistance.
- In 2011-2012, major drought left more than 18 million people facing hunger and 1 million children at risk of death from malnutrition.
- In 2017, a report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said that climate change could one day turn the Sahel green by changing weather patterns and triggering more rain. However, the first few years of the transition would involve very erratic weather – extreme droughts followed by destructive floods.