Merian Kalala, a farmer in Solwezi, the capital of the North- Western Province of Zambia, knows firsthand that climate change is posing massive problems for agricultural productivity.
With its negative effects already being felt through floods, droughts, early frosts and increased incidences of pests and diseases, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts an increase in the frequency and intensity of such severe weather events across the globe, threatening to reverse global developmental gains.
Although it falls at number 13 on the list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change is now being described as the greates t development challenge of the 21st century.
Ms Kalala hails from a region that gets normal to above-normal rainfall annually, but she understands the stress that her fellow smallholders affected by drought are going through, and believes the latest technology and innovations as highlighted at the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) General Assembly in Zambia last week could be crucial to tackling the challenge.
“Climate change is a serious threat to agriculture. I know how challenging it is for our colleagues in drought-prone regions of the country. It’s about time we embrace water harvesting techniques to deal with the drought situations that have become more prominent in recent years,” Ms Kalala, who chairs the District Farmers Association, said.
She also thinks an integrated approach where farmers have a guaranteed access to finance, insurance and markets could be a solution to climate change impacts.