NAIROBI, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Scientists on Wednesday called on African countries to address climate and land tenure systems to avert the continent's food security challenges.
Dr. Braimoh Ademola, the senior Natural Resources Management specialist of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) at the World Bank, said the prospect of Africa rising from its bleak food security reality may never come to pass if two key problems are not addressed.
"We are taking a look at how farmers can be assured that if they plant crops this year, the next year they are not driven away from the same plot of land," Ademola said on the sidelines of the 2012 Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) Conference underway in Nairobi.
He cited Africa's need to increase productivity for about 750 million people in Africa by 2050 as the continent's greatest challenge what with the lacking resilience in the agricultural sector to cope with the reality of climate change whose impact is likely to decrease crop yields to as low as 20-30 percent.
Ademola said that Africa must check its green house gas emissions as an important factor in mitigating on climate change.
Revealing that the World Bank had programs designed to help countries implement Climate Smart Agriculture, a model that helps tackle food security and climate change problems concurrently manner addressing those issues simultaneous, he warned that breakthroughs cannot be achieved without taking measures to deal with resource depletion and land degradation.
On Monday, Kenya said it will begin to engage farmers in order to promote climate smart agricultural technologies which allow them to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Minister for Agriculture Dr Sally Kosgei told journalists in Nairobi that the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) will supply seeds and planting material of drought tolerant crops for the vulnerable arid and semi arid lands of the country.
"Kenya will assist its farmers to adopt climate smart technologies through drought tolerant seeds in order to help reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases," Kosgei said during the opening ceremony of the 13th KARI Biennial Scientific Conference and Exhibition of Innovations.
Kosgei said in a speech read of her behalf by the Assistant Minister of Agriculture Gideon Ndambuki that the agricultural sector has embarked on efforts to transform key institutions in the agriculture and livestock industry with the aim to increasing efficiency of service delivery.
But Ademola said problems of land tenure are also a big factor decimating food production in Africa. He called on governments to ensure that, through partnerships with institutions such as the World Bank, there is access to farming land both for men and women.
"Agriculture is a risky business and the reasons why youths in the continent have not embraced the sector is because governments and partners have failed to address the risks involved," he said.
If this happens, Ademola said, the youth will have the impetus and the motivation to go into farming. He noted that developed countries' excellence in Agriculture is on account of the fact that they have done away with these hurdles and their youths are returning back into farming.
"Without public and private partnership to minimize these risks, it will be difficult for farmers to break even and the circle of poverty will just continue," he said.
He highlights lack of will from the governments as the main hindrance to achieving the Maputo Declaration which stipulates that African governments invest at least 10 percent of their GDP in agriculture.
"Without increasing national investment in agriculture, how are we going to achieve it (food security)," Ademola said.
"Farmers need support from the government, policy makers to overcome most of the problems we have been talking about."
Integration of indigenous and modern farming practices could hold a key to better production in Africa, he added.