Experts at the Africa Drought Conference that concluded last week in Windhoek said that China has a lot to offer for Africa’s capacity building in dealing with drought.
“The Chinese have skills in fighting drought, through sustainable land and water management, use of innovative technologies that maximize the use of water, use of drought tolerant seeds and varieties developed to do well even under drought conditions,” said Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative to Namibia, Babagana Ahmadu. Ahmadu said Africa can partner with China in the transfer of the skills and sharing of experiences learned through programmes such as the South South Cooperation(SSC) facilitated by FAO.
“Governments could use platforms such as the SSC programme facilitated by FAO to help in the plight,” he added. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), National Focal Point from Nigeria, Bala Gukut said, as China has proved to be a major investor in Africa, he thinks that the area China can aid in is at the funding level. According to Gukut, the Chinese can help with the funding for the process of the development of the white paper and the protocol.”China can also help with funds for the subsequent implementation of the projects at local, regional and national level, as well as all the things that will be done in connection with drought management,” he added.
Gukut said the just ended conference, was a good experience and he was happy with the hosts, Namibia, as well as the deliberations and development of the white paper document that was reached.
Meanwhile, Ahmadu said the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is ready to support the efforts of countries and team up with all committed development partners in building drought resilience in all agricultural sectors with special emphasis on vulnerable rural communities.
Furthermore, Ahmadu said the impacts of drought on agriculture cascade down to all economic sectors that rely on the outputs of agriculture for their input, such as agro-industry, exports, commerce, transportation, tax return, and national economies at large.
“For these reasons, agriculture should be the number one priority sector to be considered for action in any drought management strategy. In fact, a drought management plan that does not fully integrate agriculture is doomed to fail,” Ahmadu added. Currently, FAO is supporting many interventions that seek to strengthen the resilience of people in the dry lands of sub-Saharan Africa and is being done through different interventions.