By Mercy Nduati, CABE Communications Officer

The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) team participated in the international conference on climate change, pastoralism and food security, which was held on August 21-22, 2019 at the Ledger Bahari Beach Hotel – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

It was hosted by the Centre for Climate Change Studies (CCCS) of the University of Dar es Salaam in conjunction with the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI).  The key issues on the agenda at the conference included:

  • Urban-rural food system dynamics in the face of climate change;
  • Reigniting interest in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for food security in Africa;
  • Soil fertility management and farming systems;
  • Governance, resource conflict, and food systems;
  • Nutrition and technology for food systems in Africa. 

CABE made a presentation on climate change and food security in Kenya at the conference whose theme was ‘strengthen the network for collaboration on climate change and food security in Africa.’

Climate change affects food systems in several ways ranging from direct effects on crop production (e.g. changes in rainfall leading to drought or flooding, or warmer or cooler temperatures leading to changes in the length of the growing season), to changes in markets, food prices, and supply chain infrastructure.

Food systems encompass food availability (production, distribution, and exchange), food access (affordability, allocation, and preference) and food utilisation (nutritional and societal values and safety). Food security is, therefore, diminished when food systems are stressed. However, the relative importance of climate change for food security differs between regions. For example, in Africa, the climate is among the most frequently cited drivers of food insecurity because it acts both as an underlying, ongoing issue and as a short-lived shock.

The low ability to cope with shocks and to mitigate long-term stresses means that coping strategies that might be available in other regions of the globe are unavailable or inappropriate for Africa.

Some of the key findings from the presentation on responding to climate change ravages in Marsabit, Kajiado and Turkana pastoral areas of Kenya include:

  • Pastoral communities are actively responding to changing climatic conditions;
  • The communities make unique contributions towards resilience rooted in indigenous knowledge systems and practice:
  1. strategies of maintaining genetic and species diversity provide a form of insurance under a changing climate;
  2. mixed herds serve diverse purposes;
  3. diversified use of landscape, mobility, and access to multiple resources increases the capacity to respond to changing climate;
  4. the traditional system of governance and social networks contribute to the ability to collectively respond to environmental change thus enhance resilience.
  • Overall, indigenous knowledge systems are evolving and offer a lot, especially for interventions aimed at supporting vulnerable communities.

Some of the policy recommendations that stood out in the presentation was the need to build capacity among pastoralists, women, and youth on how to:

  1. Document and validate indigenous technical knowledge and climate change actions;
  2. Offer technical support on the utilisation of big data on climate change actions to inform planning, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E);
  3. Develop capacity on the political economy of policy processes with respect to the devolved system of governance;
  4. Empower women and youth on climate actions and;
  5. Develop a pool of green investments for the water sector in ASAL counties in line with the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

During the event, CABE was invited to collaborate in developing two concept notes on ‘Reigniting interest in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for food security in Africa and Policy effectiveness for balancing ecosystems conservation and use in East Africa.’

Read more about the presentation here:




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