Climate change in Africa and the world at large has impacted on many fronts resulting in drought and floods hence resulting in food shortage.
Consequently, poverty levels have increased leading to low development among many developing nations.
It is against this backdrop that leading agriculture and climate scientists, policymakers, farmers, and development experts from around the world will gather in Nairobi from today to focus on the threat of climate change to the global food supply.
The conference is jointly convened by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).
Speakers are drawn from World Agro forestry Centre (ICRAF), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), UNEP, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The conference conveners noted that if climate change is not checked, it could negatively affect efforts to reduce poverty and hunger.
This would threaten the stability of entire nations as farmers struggle in hotter and more uncertain conditions to feed a population set to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Less rain and changing rainfall patterns have resulted in low yields.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, one in three people living in Sub-Saharan Africa were chronically hungry in 2007.
The region is also hardest hit by extreme poverty, harboring 75 percent of people worldwide that live on less then a dollar a day.
Since 2007, erratic rainfall has led to increased food shortages in southern Africa where droughts damaged and destroyed maize crops.
A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) warns that in Africa alone, over the next four decades higher temperatures and more frequent droughts could depress wheat yields by over 30 percent, rice by 15 percent, and maize by 10 percent.
Yet FAO has projected that over this same period food production globally must increase by 70 percent to feed a population expected to reach 9.1 billion people.
IFPRI found that neutralizing the effects of climate change on productivity requires investing at least 7 billion dollars per year on research, irrigation, and rural roads.
The conference comes in the wake of talks in Copenhagen last December, where high-level recognition of the link between climate change and food security was reinforced.
In a month’s time, climate change negotiators reconvene in Bonn, Germany to continue discussions to reach consensus on a new global agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to their impacts.
African leaders have been particularly frustrated by the failure of negotiators to give adequate attention to the food security-climate change connection and have joined other developing country officials in declaring: “no agriculture, no agreement.”
Scientists blame climate change for causing more intense and frequent droughts, floods, hurricanes, rising sea levels, and other negative effects in different parts of the world.
The cheapest and most efficient way to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change on poor nations like Kenya is to have lots of trees. Trees absorb excess carbon dioxide and other harmful gases from the atmosphere. But when trees are cut down, this process is halted.
The government recently, launched the third phase of tree planting in bid to reclaim Kenya’s water tower the Mau forest and forest cover.