Resilience Building a Function of All Farming Stakeholders, Experts Say

AGRF 2020

KIGALI, Rwanda – “We need to stop managing poverty and start managing wealth.”

These were the introductory words of Cristina Duarte, former Minister of Finance in the Republic of Cape Verde, as she gave a keynote address ahead of a plenary session at the 2018 African Green Revolution Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.

Duarte went on to note that Africa remains a resource-rich continent, which continues to struggle with poverty as a result of mismanagement and a self-bred inability to explore presenting opportunities.

Among the areas that Ms Duarte wants to see receive critical attention is the building of resilience against various shocks by farming communities, an assertion that received widespread support by experts at the Kigali Forum.

“Ultimately, the way we define resilience is by helping people have the ability to adapt to multiple shocks, including climate change and regional conflict,” said Sean Jones, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID.

To successfully embark on a journey of resilience, Dr Brylyne Chitsunge, a Pan African Food Security Ambassador, says governments have to be strictly committed to setting up and implementing legislation that favours farmers.

“Policy makers often draft policies with the exclusion of the farmers. We now need to use available technologies to get information across to farmers in all regions, as this is the only way that solutions to local problems can be found,” said Dr Chitsunge.

Part of this solution-seeking process involves such strategies as adoption of insurance programs, to shield all affected from any unexpected eventualities.

“Early intervention is key, and it is important for countries to set up national frameworks that ensure that presenting problems are identified and dealt with in good time,” said Dolika Banda, CEO, Africa Risk Capacity.

Simeon Ehui, the Director in the Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank, goes on to add that accountability structures are critical in ensuring commitment to resilience-building strategies.

“Anyone can give you money, but it takes a great deal of effort to ensure that the intended benefit is achieved,” said Ehui.

Mr Ehui further believes that with proper technical and financial structures, Africa can become food secure, and ultimately grow into an economically-sound block.

“Countries like Thailand and Brazil and India are doing well in food production by proper investment in the field. That is the direction we should be taking and institutions like the World Bank are now providing resources, experiences and knowledge to speed up the adoption of technologies that would improve the state of the African agriculture,” said Ehui.

Video diarist Kisilu Musya, adds that public education on portending risks can help secure a goodwill between farmers and governments, as well as other institutions, which effectively leads to better solutions to challenges.

“It is important that the people who are directly affected are involved in finding solutions for their problems,” said Musya.

Musya has spent almost a decade recording videos that show how climate change has adversely affected his community in Eastern Kenya.

He recently collated film from his recordings over the years into a now well-celebrated film titled Thank You for the Rain.