By James Ratemo
Experts at the ongoing first meteorological conference in Nairobi, have warned that reliance on rain-fed agriculture is no longer sustainable, since climate change has disrupted weather patterns.
They urged Africa to adopt new farming methods to overcome effects of climate change and produce enough food.
The continent was also urged to adopt modern weather forecast techniques to counter the devastating effects of climate change, which could lead to lack of enough water.
Statistics from the World Food Organisation show that 1.5 billion people are directly affected by degraded land and soil erosion, a situation worsened by climate change.
Over half of the worldâs grasslands are degraded and 70 per cent of the global fresh water withdrawal is attributable to irrigated agriculture. Demand for water for agriculture has led to serious depletion of surface water resources.
The experts also called for cautious adoption of genetically modified foods and modern methods of farming. They also want Africa to go back to indigenous crops, which are more resilient to harsh climate and are rich nutritionally. Kenya Organic Agriculture Network Co-ordinator Eustace Gacanja said chemical and energy intensive industrial and toxic agriculture is unsustainable.
"Yields are not the only measure of agricultural success. Nutrition, diversity and monocultures must be re-considered in favour of diverse agro-ecosystems. Agriculture policies should recognise the complex links between health, nutrition and agriculture," said Ms Gacanja.
She said small farms provide more than 90 per cent of Africaâs agricultural production, hence the need for ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forms of farming.
"Small holder farmers are key actors for regional food security. They are more productive, resource conserving, represent a sanctuary of agro-biodiversity and are more resilient to climate change," she argued.