KIGALI - The East African Community (EAC) ministers recently met and held talks in Kisumu, Kenya over climate change and food insecurity within the regional bloc.
During the meeting, they concluded with a firm resolution to address food insecurity and the impact of climate change within the East African Community.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said that one of the efficient ways of eliminating food insecurity is to minimize the impact of climate change on food production processes through appropriate adaptive measures.
“These must include the adoption of proper farming systems that are less dependent on weather patterns, through the promotion of irrigation schemes coupled with intensification of agricultural land,” he said
“The resolution is very timely. Food insecurity is the intrinsic negation of human development, implying that all the parameters that sustain it have to be removed or dealt with in a sustainable manner.”
Kamanzi added that within the EAC region, agriculture is largely dependent on unpredictable climate trends, and there is need to elaborate appropriate strategies to overcome that challenge together as the members of EAC states.
“The resolution is in line with our national policies and strategies in the matter, as illustrated by the Crop Intensification Program that has transformed the agriculture sector of recent,” he said.
He added that climate change challenges are multi-faceted, complex and need a multi-sectoral framework to overcome. That multi-faceted character implies a wide range of role players in a complementary and harmonized manner.
According to the statement from the EAC Secretariat, the adverse impact of climate change is a threat to the livelihoods of people in almost all sectors of the economy in the EAC region.
“Severe droughts, floods and indeed the extreme weather phenomena are occurring with greater frequency and intensity in the region. Climate change has thus become a leading contributor to food insecurity, insufficient hydro-power, increase in pests and diseases, water scarcity and severe damage to infrastructure,” the statement reads.
It says that the draft EAC food security action plan, climate change policy; and the declaration on food security and climate Change have been submitted to Partner States for further scrutiny.
Partner States are to submit their comments on these critical documents to the EAC Secretariat by March 18, 2010 for consolidation.
The consolidated drafts will be submitted to the 20th Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for March19-24 this year.