Climate change in the spotlight

The third Global Conference on Agricultural Research (GCARD3), hosted by South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC), is currently underway in Johannesburg.

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The future of family farms, poor communities as well as the consequences of climate change already visible in agriculture are among the key topics.

Sustainable agricultural production, poverty and climate variation in the context of a slowing economy are major problems facing the agriculture sector, said ARC CEO Shadrack Moephuli in his address.

The agriculture sector has contributed towards climate change and should play a more active role in understanding and developing solutions, said Mark Holderness, executive secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research. “This is the big issue and we are [only] tinkering around the edges. We stand to lose entire ecosystems,” he said.

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Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, chief executive of the Food, Agriculture and National Resources Policy Analysis Network, said organisations worldwide are making progress in helping farmers deal with climate change.

Hamady Diop, head of the fisheries and aquaculture programme at NEPAD, said climate change, enhancing water productivity and biofuels should be research priorities.