Under the framework of the PROCASUR-IFAD Programme: Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations, a Learning Route (LR) was implemented in Mozambique and Rwanda in November 2016. The LR titled Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors was organized in an effort to stimulate the peer-to-peer knowledge sharing on Climate Change Adaptation related issues within IFAD-funded projects in East and Southern Africa (ESA) Region.
Climate change adaptation has been chosen as a focus of the LR because it is becoming more and more a prior driver of vulnerability for rural development worldwide, where people’s livelihoods rely on natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. Climate variability and change are expected to compromise agricultural production and food security severely in many African countries. High levels of vulnerability and low adaptive capacity across the continent have been linked to, among other things, poverty. In particular, in East and Southern Africa (ESA), the effects of climate change are compounded by the region’s high poverty levels, weak infrastructure, poor natural resource management, and dependence on rain fed agriculture. In order to cope with these changes and overcome related challenges, rural communities must develop innovative and adaptive solutions, strategies, and practices.
It is under this context that a total of twenty five participants from seven different countries in ESA (Botswana, Ethiopia Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) and from different projects dealing with agriculture and livestock development joined the learning activity with the same expectation: to learn how to face these challenges imposed by climate change in agriculture and livestock and finding their own way of enhancing small-holder farmers’ resilience within their given projects and country contexts.
The LR was drawn from the cases of two successful ongoing IFAD-funded projects: the Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in Mozambique and the Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda. The two projects are implementing innovative strategies to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvest sectors. Both are supported by the Adaptation to Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), currently the largest adaptation programme targeting small-holder farmers to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes, and strengthen their resilience to the negative effects of climate change.
Mozambique and Rwanda offered several crucial lessons on how to enhance small-holder farmers’ resilience and adaptive capacities. Among others, the participants learnt about climate-smart technologies, infrastructures and techniques in production and post-harvesting sectors and on how to access them. In addition, they also learnt how to best promote relationships between farmers and financial institutions to enhance farmers’ access to the market and their capacities to build partnership with private investors. They were also trained on different local community models of farmers’ organizations and their abilities to strengthen their relationships with local stakeholders and on how to enhance farmers’ access to climate information.