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Digital solutions for a changing climate
Stakeholders from ministries of agriculture, government agencies, public research institutions, farmer organisations, universities and non-profits from across East Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya in early February 2023. They came together for the Regional Forum on the Future of Resilient Food Systems in Africa – AAAP Digital Solutions for a Changing Climate.
Organised by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Wangari Maathai Institute, the Forum provided training for stakeholders from across East Africa. They learned how to design and implement solutions to improve food security and climate resilience and to facilitate knowledge sharing among farmers around scaling up the use of digital climate-informed advisory services, or DCAS.
Digital climate-informed advisory services are tools and platforms that integrate climate information into agricultural decision-making. These services range from digital mobile apps, radio and online platforms to printed bulletins based on climate models and extension services that use climate information platforms.
DCAS helps build the resilience of small-scale producers in the face of worsening climate change impacts. From seasonal forecasts to pest advisories, effectively designed services provide producers with the resources to adapt to climate shocks and plan for new climate conditions.
Globally, more than 300 million small-scale agricultural producers have limited or no access to such services because service provision remains fragmented, does not continue beyond project cycles and is not reaching the last mile.
Professor Stephen Kiama Gitahi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, said that the forum was particularly relevant given that 70 per cent of the population of East Africa live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. He encouraged the trainers to simplify the modules in order to allay fears around technology and accelerate adaptation for rural farmers. Citing the legacy of the late Professor Wangari Maathai he stated, “We acknowledge that gaps exist on climate adaptation in the rural communities and those can be smartly bridged with the use of digital smart agriculture and climate innovations to create great conservation impact in our region.”
Read more on the AfdB website