FAO helps rural communities adapt to climate change

Albert Chavhunduka

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says it is working closely with government to offer food assistance to affected rural communities and improve their adaptation to global warming and climate change which is threatening food security.

This 2021-22 agriculture season has been characterised by poor and erratic rainfall coupled with floods and cyclones which affected some areas countrywide leading to below-average harvests for the season.

Most farmers lost a large chunk of their crops to the blistering heat which characterised the better part of the second half of the season.

In exclusive interview with Review & Mail, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa and Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam said his organisation was working hand and glove with a number of institutions to assist communities that were affected by a food crisis and introduce sustainable crop and livestock farming to improve resilience.

“As you know Zimbabwe just like any other African countries is really impacted a lot by climate change. So we have drought, floods and cyclones and any time when there is such a situation, we will work in close collaboration with all institutions to provide support to the affected communities,” said Dr Takoukam.

“Currently, what I can mention is that FAO is in partnership with UNICEF through funding provided by the EU to support the government to improve the livelihoods and household resilience to food crisis and climate change by improving sustainable crop and livestock production. Through this programme, we are providing early warning programmes to prepare the communities for climate induced hazards so that they can act on time.”

Dr Takoukam further said FAO was also implementing a number of projects focused on assisting local communities especially in the rural areas to adjust, adapt and counter the effects of climate change, particularly on its impact on food security.

“Also FAO through a number of projects that we are implementing, we are also providing support to enhance the capacities of rural households to improve agricultural production through the promotion of low external inputs and sustainable agriculture practices,” he said.

“For many years, we have been providing support and capacity building in communities, what we call conservative agriculture or climate-smart agriculture. So these are techniques that really give capacity to the communities to adapt to these climate changes.”

FAO further said they were working with government to avert the food crisis situation as well as fight against malnutrition in the country.

“So FAO is really addressing the problem of malnutrition through the food base agri-food systems projects, through which we are contributing to the prevention and treatment of malnutrition.”

He said FAO was helping the government to assess the prevalence of malnutrition in the country, saying it was still difficult to give a specific number of those affected.

 Dr Takoukam said the just ended season had been characterised by prolonged dry spells that threatened crop production, adding it would certainly result in crop failure in some instances.

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