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Difficulties Tackling Agriculture Highlighted in Marrakesh Meeting

Ask an African farmer how climate change is affecting the community, and the response will be unequivocal. "It cut off my means of survival," 66 year old Zimbabwean farmer Amon Makonese told us just last month, referring to the El Niño induced drought which struck last year. "It was one of the worst droughts we have ever seen," he added. "I planted three hectares of maize, but it all wilted".

This story of failed harvest, hunger and hopelessness as temperatures rise is common across the continent. In fact, it is estimated that 65 percent of Africa's population is affected by climate change. The need for agriculture, which feeds the chronically food insecure region and forms the backbone of its economy, to adapt to these extreme weather events is becoming urgent.

Yet disappointingly, here at COP22 in Marrakech, dubbed both "The African COP" and "The COP of Action," talks to include agriculture in the climate change negotiations have once again collapsed. Disputes on how to integrate adaptation and mitigation efforts have led to any further discussions being postponed until June 2017 at the next meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in Bonn.

Kate Evans/CIFOR

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