Climate Change

More than 60% of Africa’s population are living in rural areas with agriculture as their main livelihood. This makes the sector the largest contributor to the continent’s gross domestic product. However, increasing effects of climate change are expected to impact the agricultural sector in general with smallholder farmers the most vulnerable groups.

With rising temperatures expected to render certain producing areas less suitable or even completely unsuitable for cultivation – for instance in cocoa growing regions, the cashew tree is increasingly becoming an alternative for numerous small-scale farmers, especially in Sahel regions. The tree’s well-developed root system allows it to endure long drought conditions making it an ideal alternative crop in areas that are predicted to become drier due to climate change.

According to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, “Tackling climate change and fostering sustainable development are two mutually reinforcing sides of the same coin”. In this regard, ComCashew’s policy advice and support to its project partners is focusing on the need to integrate climate smart strategies into individual national strategies. All six project countries are combining efforts to reach explicit national adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change or at least develop plans that take climate change mitigation into consideration.

For example in Ghana, an action plan for national climate-smart agriculture has been set up with the aim of placing agriculture, which is the country’s major economic activity into the scope of climate change from 2016 to 2020. It is foreseen that ComCashew will implement the EU REACH component (Resilience Against Climate Change) of the EU programme “Productive Investment in Agriculture in Savannah ecological Zone”. This programme is part of the 11th European Development Fund and will focus only on Ghana. The objective of REACH is: “to enable a sustainable and inclusive improvement in the rural economy through enhanced implementation of gender sensitive climate adaptation and mitigation practices”.