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August 24th, 2017 / Daily Mail, Zambia

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says African countries need to develop harmonised regional agricultural policies that promote investment in key resilient infrastructure to boost regional trade in agro-products.

The policies should also aim to mitigate climatic challenges.

COMESA climate change advisor Mclay Kanyangarara said strengthened regional integration measures that exceed national and sub-national borders hold a key role for overcoming Africa’s food import dependency and food insecurity challenges.

It is estimated that 70 percent of Africans are dependent on rain-fed agriculture, an activity that is characterised by small-scale, subsistence farms that are vulnerable to a variety of stresses, including those associated with climate change.

Speaking at a regional conference on climate change, agriculture and food security in Lusaka recently, Dr Kanyangarara said climate change impacts will increase agronomic complexity and risks of shocks at farm and community levels, thereby implying additional changes in crops and cropping patterns.

“In order to bridge the gap between climate change, agriculture and food security, there is need for development of deliberate policy on adoption of climate-smart agriculture.

“[This should include] development of harmonised regional agricultural policy as well as investment in robust infrastructure to boost regional trade in agricultural products,” he said.

Crop yields in most sub-Saharan African countries are estimated to fall by at least 10 to 20 percent by 2050. Read more