A family in north western Zimbabwe prepares land ahead of planting in the new agriculture season. Climate Change now makes good harvests uncertain. Picture by Edith Dongozi

By Fisani Ngwazi

South Africa, Kwazulu Natal Province

The message was loud and clear that Climate Change is a major threat to food security in Africa.

This emerged at the official launch of the 3rd edition of the AFAAS Africa-Wide Agricultural Extension Week 2017 held in Durban, South Africa.

Over 500 delegates from and outside Africa attended the kickoff of the joint 3rd edition of the conference of AFAAS Africa-Wide Agricultural Extension Week 2017 and the 51st Annual conference of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension.

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, Senzeni Zokwana and the AFAAS Patron, Proffessor Ruth Oniang’o.

Negative effects of Climate Change which are impacting agricultural productivity appeared to have influenced the theme of the conference: “Scaling up climate smart agriculture: integrating youth, women and the digital revolution”.

Professor Oniang’o acknowledged the different types of ICTs on exhibition.

“We have technologies showing us how we can grow food in the desert and arid areas”, she said.

But she also pointed out lack of partnership and experience sharing among actors. She recalled the critical role played by African women in feeding the world and the huge opportunities in agriculture for the youths.

Senzeni Zokwana, the South African minister said there is a need for more interactions between extension workers and farmers.

Farmers needed to harness the expertise that extension workers brought to the agricultural sector as ‘no farmer will produce efficiently under certain conditions without being assisted by an extension worker’.

To improve their support to farming activities, agricultural extension needed more resources and improved policies.

Fighting against Climate Change required efficient use of human resources, available funds and technologies.

This would help Africa overcome food insecurity and begin to produce surplus food.

About the writer: Fisani Ngwazi is one of several journalists from Southern Africa who have received training on reporting Climate Change, gender and the media in the region. The training was convened by UN Women in South Africa.