Strategies to mitigate climate effects on food security on course – govt

The Guardian . April 1, 2013

The government is yet to undertake initiatives to link agriculture, trade and climate changes so as to come up with an effective policy and mitigation measures that will prevent the country from famine.

Speaking recently at the launching of a scientific study titled ‘Climate, Food, and Trade: Where is the Policy Nexus’ organised by Economic and Social Foundation (ESRF) through the support of CUTS International; Joyce Mapunjo the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Trade said that there have been several initiatives by the government to establish institutions and structures that can be used to execute policies and strategies to mitigate climate changes.

“Strategies and plans to combat climate change from the grassroots level where the effects are felt the most are in progress,” she said.

She added, “Among the strategies in place at Local Government level is crop land management, grazing land management as well as improvement of organic soils, restoration of degraded lands, livestock management, manure management and bio-energy.”

The Permanent Secretary explained that the impacts of climatic changes are specific to location and to the level of development of which most of the sectors of the global economy are expected to be affected and the impacts will often have implications on trade.

“Sectors to be affected by climatic changes are agriculture, tourism, and trade infrastructures; meanwhile it is observed that there is a gap between the national trade policy and climatic change issues something which needs to be addressed,” she noted.

“Crop failures in flooded areas, livestock dying increasingly in arid lands and unaffordable foods are some of the common challenges facing millions of East Africans; both the EAC Secretariat and the governments are taking seriously the adaptation imperative,” said Julien Grollier of CUTS International’s office from Geneva, Switzerland.

He added, “Yet, there are a number of opportunities for synergies between agriculture, food security, trade and environmental policies that still need to be harnessed.”

The Acting Ambassador of Tanzania to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Lucas Saronga insisted that trade, indeed plays a critical role in the food security equation, just as climate change does.

Saronga who is regularly involved in the project said, “Climatic change is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and several levels of trade policy influence farmers’ choices for growing and selling.”

Meanwhile, ESRF’s Project Coordinator, Solomon Baregu pointed out that effective policy responses to climate-related hunger call for an inclusive, coordinated and coherent three-dimensional approach that takes all relevant aspects of trade on board, and most importantly these responses need to be owned by all relevant stakeholders in EAC.

CUTS International’s PACT EAC project aims is to promote such three-dimensional responses by hearing from, informing, training and moving to action networks of relevant stakeholders.

The meeting gathered governmental and non-governmental stakeholders met for the aim of strengthening the policy and institutional linkages between the three inter-dependent issues of trade, climate change and food security.

The five member states of the EAC have to enhance the ability of the people to feed themselves despite the worsening climatic conditions, by harnessing the opportunities provided by trade and policy synergies.

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