Media’s Role Crucial In Food Security and Sustainable Water Management Awareness

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George Mhango
October 09, 2015

Communication breakdown between Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) officials and farmers could remain a challenge towards the achievement of food security and sustainable water management in farming production if nothing is done.

CAADP coordinator Komla Bissi said this in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the adoption of specialized technical committee (STC) after experts from Africa’s regional blocs set up terms of references (ToRs) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The observation comes amid news that some farmers are not aware of projects or declarations initiated by CAADP such as climate smart (CSA), conservation agriculture (CA) as to how to utilize such opportunities due to breakdown of communication.

Nepad research also shows that climate change effects are becoming more frequent and more severe, threatening the reliability and productivity of agriculture, exacerbating already extreme levels of poverty, and reinforcing persistent inequity and chronic under-nutrition.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.
Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Researchers have also hinted that the challenge can be avoided through adoption of more resilient, productive, sustainable, equitable and efficient farming practices apart from involving the media for publicity.

The STC, which will comprise African ministers in agriculture, water, rural development and environment, is due to be established this week to champion such matters at continental level and beyond with blessings from the African Union Commission (AUC).

On this, Bissi said to avert such challenges, CAADP is working with African journalists to help bring awareness close to every farmer on how to champion CSA and CA apart from following up on declarations governments and leaders recently agreed upon.

For example, the media should ably show that in the field of CA there are many benefits that both the producer and conservationist can obtain. CA can change the way humans produce food and energy. CA is shown to have even higher yields and higher outputs than conventional agriculture once CA has been establish over long periods.

“There is need for the media to report vehemently about CAADP projects so that farmers adhere to modern farming messages in view of climate change effects, which have negatively agricultural production in Africa,” said Bissi.

He said the media should simplify such messages which champion climate smart agriculture and comprehensive agriculture for farmers to understand and how to apply them in their farming endeavours.

“The establishment of networks of journalists reporting on agriculture and water, among others remains a critical part of CAADP in ensuring that Africa food basket.

Last year, CAADP championed the Malabo Declaration, which calls on African leaders to walk the talk on investment, end hunger, champion matters by 2015.

African heads of state and government agreed to the declaration after its formulation in Equatorial Guinea.

The Malabo Declaration is a follow up to the Maputo Declaration, another major blueprint championed by CAADP, which called on various governments to commit 10 percent of their budget towards agriculture.

Initially, Malawi is one of the shining examples of a country which has over the years committed about 10 percent towards the annual budget for the farm input fertilizer subsidy programme (FISP).

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