Climate change platform helps promote food security

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Members during the launch of the platform
Members during the launch of the platform

The Ghana Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), science-policy dialogue platform, has since its existence provided consistent research and development to support the mainstreaming of climate smart agriculture (CSA), into Ghana’s food and agriculture systems.

Through the work of the platform, the draft financial plan to address the CSA and Food Security Action Plan (CSA-FSAP, 2016-2020) has become a relevant input for the development of Ghana CSA Investment Plan (CSAIP) by the World Bank through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), and which will be linked to the Adaptation of African Initiative.

In an interview on the occasion of its seventh anniversary, the Executive Secretary of the platform, Mr Vincent Ansah Botchway, said the platform had received both ministerial and parliamentary support over the years which had made significant achievement in terms of outputs and outcomes.

Specifically, he said it had helped create a deeper awareness and enhanced knowledge on climate change  and CSA among stakeholders, including farmers.

He said it had increased collaboration between the private sector, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the public sector to address climate change.

“Also, there has been a conscious effort to protect the environment by developing bye-laws at the district and community levels.”

“To bridge observed climate change information, solutions and actions gaps between community people – researchers – policy decision makers, the platform in collaboration with CCAFS West Africa, CARE International and MOFA mobilised for the establishment and launch of 10 subnational platforms in 10 districts in Ghana,” he explained.

The districts are: Nadowli-Kaleo, Lawra, Jirapa, Nandom, Lambusie-Karni, Ho West, Ada West, Tain, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese and Birim South respectively to ensure policy advocacy and mainstreaming of CSA into agriculture at the community levels.

Other activities
Mr Botchway said the platform in partnership with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2017-2018 developed nine district level CSA investment frameworks for the mobilisation of funds into the districts, and thereby responsive to the Ghana CSA-FSAP 2016-2020.

He said the frameworks were anchored by gender and value chain development considerations for which some district assemblies remarked that they would guide their development plans, particularly in tapping into the one-district-one-factory (1D1F) policy of the government.

The CCAFS platform
The Ghana CCAFS platform is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-ARI) and was formed in 2012 through a multi-stakeholder dialogue and launched on July 30, 2013, with strong ministerial support from MOFA, and the Ministries of Environment Science and Technology, and Trade and Industry.

The concept was initiated by the CCAFS programme West Africa (ICRISAT, Bamako- Mali) with the goal to promote food-secure nations through the provision of science-based efforts that support sustainable agriculture and enhance livelihoods, while adapting to CC and conserving natural resources and environmental services.

Ghana is one of three countries including Mali and Burkina Faso to benefit from the initiative.

The main objective is to enhance CC adaptation within the food and agricultural systems in rural communities in the participating countries through exchange of information, experience sharing and learning to influence policy.

Other objectives include: network and interact regularly with relevant stakeholders to develop Ghana’s priorities and needs for adaptation to CC; Build capacities to enhance change and adaptation to CC effects at the local, national and sub-regional levels; and to facilitate agribusiness related activities to enhance rural livelihoods and empowerment.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) developed climate smart agriculture (CSA) concept as an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.

CSA aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

CSA provides the means to help stakeholders from local to national and international levels identify agricultural strategies suitable to their local conditions and it is one of the 11 Corporate Areas for Resource Mobilisation under the FAO’s strategic objectives.

Way forward
Dr Botchway said the platform would support improved food and nutrition security for health, contribute to build resilient agro-systems at the sub-national level through active participation in action research and CSA promotions.

“This year CCAFS West Africa in collaboration with Ghana CCAFS platform is supporting the capacity building of CSA actors in the existing platforms to enable them to develop proposals to attract local and international funding to address climate-change-related challenges within their respective farming systems,” he said.

The CCAFS is a member of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) and also member of West Africa CSA Alliance.

The platform is an active participant of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA)-NEPAD activities on climate smart agriculture on the continent.