This is the view shared by many at a national workshop on climate finance to support agriculture that was held in Lilongwe.
Professor Charles Jumbe who presented a paper at the workshop, said the economic importance of climate on agriculture cannot be over emphasized hence the need to increase investment on issues to do with climate change.
He says there is need to strengthen the resilience of agriculture. "The country’s economy is not sufficiently diversified as it relies heavily on rain fed agriculture," he said.
“The decision by government to develop the national agricultural policy is a way forward as it aims to achieve sustainable agricultural transformation that will result in significant growth of the sector despite having challenges with climate change” Jumbe said.
He outlined some of the reasons why there is need to put much focus on the agriculture sector in line with climate change, saying among other issues, the use of increase fertilizer use over time is responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide.
The Director of Environmental Affairs in the ministry of Natural Resources, Tawonga Luka, said as government they are excited to be associated with the initiative saying information generated from such research studies will help them to build strong strategies that can improve climate finance in the agriculture sector.
“Malawi has taken firm decisions and plans to move the country’s development agenda towards green economy and low emissions pathway. This is more so as the country’s economy is extremely sensitive into climate change and variability due to its dependence on natural resources that also provide a source of livelihood to the majority of the Malawian population” she said.
Luka added that government has created an enabling framework to manage climate change and build resilience. She said for example, in addition to ratification of the UNFCCC in 1994, the Kyoto protocol in 2001 and Paris agreement in 2015, government developed the Malawi Growth and Development strategy III that has priotized agriculture alongside climate change management.
Participants to the workshop pose with guest of honour
Adding her voice on the issue was CEO for NASFAM, Betty Chinyamunyamu, who said in the agricultural sector, less than 5-percent of global climate finance is targeted towards the agricultural sector and even less to small holder farmers which is not good for the sector.
“We all know that although the contribution of global greenhouse gas emissions by Africa countries is very small estimated at 3-percent, Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change because of widespread poverty and low levels of adaptive capacity” Chinyamunyamu said.
She said funding towards climate related activities are channeled through the agriculture sector that makes it difficult to isolate and document the level of funding that goes towards addressing climate change. The agricultural sector received a boost at the 23rd conference of parties at COP 23 as negotiators agreed on the need to pay attention to issues relating to agriculture, taking into consideration the vulnerabilities of the sector to climate change and its central role in food security.
The workshop was conducted under the theme “promoting climate finance to support Agriculture in Malawi”.