On October 25, in the framework of the International Young Farmers’ Summit (IYFS2022) organised in Kigali (Rwanda), the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO), in collaboration with the World Farmers’ Organisation, hosted The Climakers Africa Workshop.
The workshop titled “Young Farmers’ Resilience to Climate Change and Other Crises: Building the capacity of African young farmers to effectively and successfully tackle climate change and its associated impact – the role of youth and their organisations”, focused on young African farmers’ experience in addressing climate emergency.
Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala, WFO Board Member for the African Constituency, former President of PAFO and President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), delivered the opening remarks.
“Farmers are the most exposed to the changing climate and for this reason, over centuries, farmers have learned how to adapt to climate change, as well as how to mitigate its effects at the farm level.” – Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala
During her welcoming speech, she retraced the main milestones of The Climakers, from the launch in 2018 in Katowice, Poland, highlighting the innovative approach of the initiative, which aims to promote a completely reversed paradigm applying an authentic bottom-up approach, where farmers lead the global political process on climate change, through a renewed agenda that is farmers-driven, science-based and result-oriented.
Moderated by Dr. Peter Asare – Nuamah from PAFO, the workshop (that took place in a hybrid format, both in person and online), was an insightful moment of debate during which young farmers from different African nations shared with the audience what climate change means to them and how they are coping with these unprecedented challenges, thanks to the support of their Farmers’ Organisations.
They showed the audience some brilliant smart-farming practices they are already implementing in the fields; they exposed their needs, constraints, and doubts in a fruitful moment of exchange between the youngest and the oldest farmers in the room.
For example, the WFO Gymnasium Alumna Khoushbou Sewraj from FALCON Association brought into the meeting some insightful best practices her association adopted in Mauritius, such as the agrophotovoltaism where dual income is generated from the sale of organic crops grown under the sheltered cultivation as well as the sale of electrical energy to the central electricity board.
The workshop was also the occasion to shine a light on the most important outcome of The Climakers Alliance: the Guidelines for Policy Makers – a practical paper based on the best practices that farmers worldwide are already implementing to mitigate and adapt to climate change – that is conceived and designed as an “NDCs Toolkit” for policymakers on how to successfully integrate agriculture into the national fulfilment of the Paris Agreement,
The Climakers’ final goal is to influence the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), calling on Governments to base their national plans for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on the best practices that farmers are already implementing to mitigate and adapt to climate change, proving that farmers own an essential part of the solution.
“Today we have been listening to young bright minds and collecting practices and solutions from young African farmers with the aim to present the outcomes of today’s session to COP27 during a session on youth and climate change.” – Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala
Closing the meeting, Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala underlined that “young farmers are the present and future of agriculture and must be supported and empowered to be able to engage in agriculture and recognize it as a profitable (and therefore sustainable) profession and see themselves as entrepreneurs.”
Therefore, it is crucial to hear from them and engage them in the decision-making processes and policies on agriculture and related topics, including climate change.
She then remarked on the importance of all the stories from the field heard, and the purpose of bringing them to the next COP27 in Egypt: “today we have been listening to young bright minds and collecting practices and solutions from young African farmers with the aim to present the outcomes of today’s session to COP27 during a session on youth and climate change.”