Climate change effect on coffee in Tanzania
COP21 is now underway, and as global leaders converge on Paris, many think that agriculture is being side-lined at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The farming-climate debate has hitherto been seen as the purview of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO); however, there is a growing movement of farmers, and their development allies, working to ensure agriculture is recognized by the UNFCCC and included on the new Protocol. Furthermore, to be effective, the agricultural component of the climate agreement will need to avoid repeating the much-documented challenges and impacts of climate change on agriculture, and focus on the solutions and innovations that will help farmers adapt.
Smallholder farmers in Africa face especially high risks from climate change, given the scale of the potential impact on them. These farmers urgently need access to practical and proven climate-smart solutions, which can then be scaled up to mitigate the risks of climate change across Africa. For example, this year saw the first historical evidence emerge that African coffee yields have been declining due to climate change (coffee in Tanzania) – designing resistant coffee strains, planting shade trees, and using artificial shading, are a few of the solutions that need further development. Strong leadership from Paris and effective partnership models are going to be key in supporting the implementation of climate-smart solutions for smallholders in Africa and across the value chain.
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