ICRISAT’s work in the area of climate-smart agriculture was highlighted recently at a COP26 side event featuring international experts in climate change, adaptation and atomic energy. At the side event, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ICRISAT was represented by Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director – West and Central Africa.
The side event, conducted on 6 November 2021, raised awareness about the role of nuclear science and technology in climate-smart agriculture, and in climate adaptation overall. It highlighted IAEA’s role in supporting countries in climate adaptation and monitoring, including capacity building, research and transfer of equipment.
Participants in the panel discussion included Professor Guy Midgley, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, who presented the IPCC findings on climate impacts on agriculture. He was followed by Dr Christoph Müller, Institute of Plant Ecology at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany and University College Dublin, Ireland, who focused on the impact of agriculture on climate (GHG Emissions). Dr Norbert Nowotny, Consultant, Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, highlighted the link between zoonotic diseases and climate. Dr Jodie Miller, Head, Isotope Hydrology Section, IAEA; emphasized on identifying groundwater resources using isotope hydrology. Prince Matova, Mukushi Seeds, Zimbabwe, presented the mutation of breeding for climate adaptation. In her intervention, Dr Diana Pérez Staples, Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, spoke about the management of insect pests while Dr Ilmi Hewajulige, DG, R&D Professor, Industrial Technology Institute, Sri Lanka, enlightened the audience about the concept of food safety and irradiation.
Dr Tabo, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), summed up the discussion saying, “I am a firm believer that building long-term relationships with farmers, donors and policy makers to deploy sustainable solutions is key. We have been ringing the alarm bell for quite a while. As we have noted in many IPCC reports, Africa is the most vulnerable continent, particularly the agricultural sector, which is the predominant source of income and food for hundreds of millions of farmers. The situation is getting worse and what we heard at the AIEA event is at the core of the climate action”.
“Agricultural research on climate-smart agriculture is covering lot of different topics, and my institution, ICRISAT, which hosts the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program of CGIAR in West and Central Africa has deep and wide expertise in climate smart agriculture through its research. We need to change the way food systems are managed if we hope to achieve the goal of food security and sustainable development more quickly. The lessons that we have learned from the ground implementation of CCAFS projects in countries like Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda were instrumental in informing the action area of the food system transformation framework,” he concluded.
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Martin Krause, Division of Programme Support and Coordination, IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation.