There is need to adopt various mechanisms, including irrigation and erosion control, to avoid the effects of climate change on agriculture productivity, sector players have said.
The observation was made during celebrations to mark the World Food Day at Murori Marshland in Gishamvu Sector of Huye District, on Thursday.
The event was marked under the theme, “Climate is changing. Agriculture must change too.”
It involved several activities to prevent soil erosion, irrigation demonstration, as well as maize planting by participants who included Huye residents.
Fulgence Nsengiyumva, the state minister for agriculture, called for concerted efforts among all players to combat effects of climate change.
Pointing to drought that affected some parts of the country, Nsengiyumva said that “timely planting, irrigation, and erosion prevention were critical in efforts to guarantee food security.
Triphine Mujyawamariya, a resident of Gishamvu Sector, largely grows maize and beans. She talked of the need to manage the changing weather conditions which normally affect their production.
“When it rains heavily, our crops are flooded or washed away by rainwater, and when there is drought our crops dry. As a result, we get poor yields, which threaten our food security,” Mujyawamariya said.
“We need irrigation equipment to use during drought and other interventions to ensure sustainable yields,” she added.
Minister Nsengiyumva said irrigation should be done across the country as part of efforts to ensure food security.
“When it rains heavily water floods or destroys crops, yet there is a way such water could be retained to irrigate crops during dry season,” he said, noting that mechanisms to harvest rainwater should be adopted and reinforced to impact agriculture.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) country representative, Attaher Maiga, observed that disasters, such as floods and droughts, are bound to happen and difficult to predict.
In addition, he said, climate diseases and pests are also prevalent in crops.
“While we cannot prevent drought from happening, we can prevent drought that results in famine,” Maiga said, adding that drought-resistant crops and water management and other ‘smart’ farming practices will ensure sustainable agriculture.
“Climate change is already undermining our collective efforts to end hunger and other forms of malnutrition by 2030, which is the Sustainable Development Goals horizon… but, we should not allow that to happen,” he said.
A new FAO report on State of Food and Agriculture 2016 titled, “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security,” released this week, reiterates that success in transforming food and agriculture systems will largely depend on urgently supporting smallholder farmers in adapting to climate change.