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Lusaka, Thursday, September 29, 2016: More than 25 participants from 15 Member States drawn from research communities, Government ministries, private sector, farmer-organizations and regional economic communities have begun a two day symposium on climate smart agriculture.

The objective of the symposium is to enhance regional collaboration and informed decision-making for adaptation to climate change in COMESA, the East African Community and the Southern Africa Development Community through the adoption of CSA.

Speaking at the opening of the symposium, Assistant Secretary General (Programmes) Dr Kipyego Cheluget said the event will consolidate the results and lessons learnt over the years on Climate Smart Agriculture.

“Since, 2009, COMESA has been supporting research and generation of scientific evidence to guide agricultural transformation in the region as a response to the threats to food security posed by the rapidly changing climatic conditions,” he said.

In addition to the COMESA programme, the tripartite blocs (COMESA-EAC-SADC) have been implementing a tripartite programme to address the impact of climate change in the region. This has been done through successful adaptation and mitigation actions which also build economic and social resilience for present and future generations.

“The Tripartite Programme has supported research to generate scientific evidence and knowledge to minimize the impact of climate-induced risks in agriculture among other activities,” Dr Cheluget said. “In addition, work has been undertaken on best-practices on climate change mitigation.”

Given the amount of scientific knowledge generated, there is a need to create a platform to disseminate and share this knowledge, experiences, lessons learnt and best practices. Hence the hosting of the symposium to provide a platform for participants to share their research results, experiences, lessons learnt, challenges and recommendations that will inform the on-going initiatives.

Further, the symposium will provide an ideal forum for researchers, policy makers, farmers and private sector to deliberate on emerging CSA innovations that have the potential to enhance farm level productivity, national and regional food and nutrition security. This is in addition to increasing adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers, improving landscape and farm level resilience, optimizing policy formulation, and reducing emissions from agricultural systems in the COMESA-EAC-SADC region.

The symposium will also provide a platform for dialogue on scientific evidence a contribution to the African Alliance on CSA Vision 25X25.
The event is organized under the auspices of COMESA with funding from DFID and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Programme.