The woes of climate change

“Climate change working against social economic growth espercially the agriculture sector” metrological department

The Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia has in nearly a century created a platform for both service providers and consumers to interact and exchange ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, trade information and commercial as well as creating opportunities to show case emerging farming technologies, product innovation and value addition.

Every first Monday of August of each year in Zambia the president of the republic and people from all walks of life join farmers to celebrate the achievements made in the Agriculture sector.

The 90th Agriculture and Commercial show which run from 27th to the 1st of August was held under the theme “managing environment for growth;” the theme comes at the time the southern African region including Zambia suffered effects of El Niño conditions in 2015 which altered rainfall patterns causing droughts in some parts.

The change in weather pattern demands for improved and enhanced farming technology responding to government’s campaign to diversify the economy to the agriculture sector.

Stakeholders are putting heads together to ensure the easy flow of information on good agriculture practices, weather patterns and promote the adoption of new and improved seed varieties in the agriculture sector.

And exhibiting at 90th Agriculture and Commercial Show the Metrological department of Zambia took time to explain to stakeholders on the effects of climate change and the mitigation measures the department is undertaking.

“Climate change is one of the issues working against social economic growth because of its negative impact on the social sectors of the country such as heat waves, flooding and disease due to high temperatures”.

Interpreting the theme for the 90th Agriculture and Commercial show Senior Metrological Officer Victor Bupe said the department has identified climate change as one of the issue working against social economic growth because of its negative impact on the social sectors of the country such as heat waves, flooding as well as disease due to high temperatures.

Mr. Bupe said that weather focus play a critical role in the social economic sector of the nation such as the aviation sector, agriculture financial, Energy sector as well as health sectors.

He explained that after identifying the impact of climate change the department picked a green component as one of the issue it is focusing on to create an environment of mitigating most of the risks brought by climate change by providing accurate information.

Mr. Bupe said stakeholders especially farmers should fully utilize the information provided by the department for them to develop strategies to mitigate the impact associated with climate change to avoid accruing losses.

He also disclosed that due to the information given by the department farmers and financial players in the agriculture sector have now stated developing plans for crop diversification programs responding to climate change to avoid losses.

Meanwhile the Metrological department disclosed that the weather centers around the world have indicated that the Southern African region is likely to experience the La-Nina which is associated with wet and cool conditions.

La Niña is a phenomenon that describes cooler than normal ocean surface temperatures in the Eastern and Central Pacific Ocean; regions close to the equator off the west coast of South America and La Niña causes increased rainfall.

Senior Metrological Officer Victor Bupe says the all the models for 2016/17 season indicate that the region is cooling from the El-Nino.

Speaking in an interview with millennium radio Mr. Bupe said prediction from the world metrological stations have indicated that the southern African region might be associated with wet and cool conditions which are likely to result in adequate rainfall partten.

Meanwhile the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute Senior Agriculture Research officer Mathias Tembo says the institute has scaled up research as well as to promote the adoption of new seed varieties and improved technologies that suit the changes in the agricultural market to counter the effects of climate change.

Mr. Tembo revealed that the institute through the crop improvement agronomy division is developing seed varieties that are drought tolerant to enable farmers have high yields during droughts.

Mr. Tembo explained that through the development of drought resistant seed varieties, the institute is managing the environment in the wake of climate change as well as keeping the growth rate high in the agriculture sector.

And government through the ministry of agriculture has created a program dubbed Smallholder Productivity Promotions Programs (SEP) targeting small scale farmers aimed at stimulating the development of good agriculture practices and enhance the local agricultural markets for crops and livestock.

SEP Local Agriculture Investment Manager Sunday Mwelwa  said the aim of program is to  empower rural farmers and help bridge information gap  in order for farmers to adopt good farming practices such conversation farming to intensify productivity of rural farmers.

Mr. Mwelwa said government has developed a deliberate policy to empower small scale rural agriculture activities.

The annual event was this year graced by Namibian president Dr. Hage Geingob who during the official opening of the Agriculture and Commercial Show observed that there was need for African Countries to closely work with the Private Sector and local entrepreneurs in advancing economic growth.

Dr. Geingob stated that there is also need for African countries to diversify inputs and increase exports in order to strengthen African’s external position adding that it was gratifying that African countries have realized that creating conducive policies for investment purposes is the correct thing in advancing economic growth.

Zambia like many other African countries depending on the export of raw materials have faced economic slowdown due to China’s cooling demand for commodities.

In a bid to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the poor, Stakeholders including government and the World Bank suggests that there is need unlock the livestock development and agri-business, to help unlock the potential of the agriculture sector in which the majority of the poor lies, but it is facing challenges due to droughts in some parts of the country due to effects of climate change.

In March 2013 The World Bank Group (WBG) Board of Directors developed the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Zambia for the period 2013 -2016, the strategy which focuses on promoting diversification and private sector development to help Zambia achieve its goal of becoming a prosperous Middle Income Country by 2030.