Remarks as prepared for delivery by Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director at the World Bank, at a panel discussion on Climate-smart Agriculture on December 7, 2011.
I am delighted to join you today for this critical event about the future of our planet.
I am pleased to be in such distinguished company: President Zuma, Secretary General Kofi Annan; Chairperson Ping ; Prime Minister Meles; Minister Solheim, and Minister Joemat-Pettersson.
Feeding Africa and the world in a changing climate is one of the major challenges of our era.
- This month, the world’s population reached 7 billion people.By 2050, there will be 9 billion people in the world. We already know that we need to increase agricultural production by 70 percent to feed this many people.
- For Africa the challenge is staggering.Demand for food will rise by 200 percent by 2050, while yields, in the absence of urgent action, will be falling 20-30 percent.
- Yet, agriculture remains Africa’s life blood. Over 70 percent of Africa’s population is involved in farming, and the vast majority are small-holders and women. Cereal yields in Africa remain less than a quarter of global average and have barely increased in thirty years.
Improving agricultural performance is the most powerful tool we have to reduce global poverty and hunger
- In fact, it is about three times more effective in raising incomes among the very poor than growth in other sectors.
- But investment in agriculture and rural development has fallen short in the last several decades, and we must continue our collective efforts to reverse that trend.
- In Africa and beyond, we need agriculture that will strengthen food security, adaptation and mitigationwhere farmers use proven conservation agriculture techniques together with innovative technologies such as drought and flood tolerant crops, improved early warning systems and risk insurance.
- We need agriculture that can contribute to sequestering greenhouse gas emissions and capturing carbon in the soil. We need agriculture that can move from being part of the problem to part of the solution
- Currently, agriculture emits about 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and indirectly another 17 percent
Climate-smart agriculture can help achieve this
- "Climate-smart" farming techniquessuch as mulching, crop residue management, and soil and water conservation measures, would increase farm productivity and incomes, and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, while also contributing to mitigation.
- This is a "triple win" for agriculture, the environment and food security. Innovative approaches are already in place in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Niger, as well as in Yemen, China, Brazil and Mexico.
But to realize its full potential, climate-smart agriculture needs heightened attention in African policy processes and strategies, from national to regional levels.
- Leading scientists from 38 countries agree. In the Netherlands last month, experts were united in calling on the negotiators in Durban to recognize and support the potential that Climate-Smart Agriculture offers.
- And African leaders already know that early action is needed to identify and scale up best practices, to build capacity and experience, and to help clarify future policy choices.
- Africa – under the leadership of Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and others - is leading the wayin putting this issue on the political agenda and focusing on early action under the CAADP process for Africa.
- In September, the Government of South Africa hosted a meeting of African Agricultural Ministers who noted the opportunity of a "triple win" for African farmers, and called on the parties meeting here in Durban to establish an agriculture work program that puts people first and covers both adaptation and mitigation.
- We can discuss many different approaches to support climate-smart agriculture, but clearly what we need is early and wide-scale action.
The rest of the world must follow Africa’s lead and find new ways to support a climate-smart approach to agriculture.
This is about nothing less than transforming agriculture so that is becomes part of the solution. Urgent action is needed if we are to meet the needs of the future.
- Almost 1 billion people are going to bed hungry. We need collective action to boost agricultural production and productivity and also efforts to improve distribution networks, so people have food security by getting access to the food they need.