The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged Zambia and other African states to embrace traditional crops in order to combat climate change.
Speaking in an interview, FAO Crops Officer Wilson Ronno said Africa should embrace and promote indigenous crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava and vegetables because they can help the continent fight climate change as they are drought tolerant.
“Drought resistant and mostly indigenous crops or food are key to ensuring food security in areas affected by climatic change or are drought hit,” he said.
Mr. Ronno added that studies have indicated that Sub-Saharan Africa would lose a significant portion of its arable land in the coming decades due to climate change.
He stated that the amount of land suitable for growing one of Africa’s staple crop, maize will reduce as climate change is now a reality.
Mr. Ronno explained that the continent should ensure resilience against climate change by embracing traditional crops that have been neglected.
He said cultivation and consumption of indigenous crops has been on the decline due to increasing urbanisation and change of lifestyles.
And Stockholm Environment Institute has urged the Zambian government to prioritise introduction of climate change friendly policies into its developmental initiatives so as to harmonise the two into actualised sustainable development.
Stockholm Environment Institute environmentalist Ali Romdhani observes that though there is a notable introduction of climate change policies such as in urban planning and national development strategies, there are still gaps which expose contradictions in some projects being implemented.
He says integration of climate change in Zambia’s policies remains erratic, with some projects, such as the Maamba coal-powered station, contradicting with the ongoing mitigation efforts.
Mr. Romdhani notes that it is unfortunate that measures designed to spur economic development or lead to climate change adaptation often contradict one another.