…Morocco Minister of Agriculture
By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries for the Kingdom of Morocco has reiterated the importance of agriculture in combating climate change in the world. While more than fifty African Journalists where on his country on a conducted Press trip (from 2-13 September) organized by the Media Committee ahead of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries, Mr. Aziz Akhannough has said “Africa needs investment in Agriculture in other to effectively able to combat Climate Change ” while pointing out that without there is also no agriculture.
On the 7th on to the 18th of November this year, the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be hosted in Marrakech preceding the 21st Conference of Parties in France where the landmarked Paris Agreement was agreed upon and more than 170 countries made their first instance signing. On the 3rd of this month, China and the United States of America who are the major contributors to Climate Change have ratified the Paris agreement at a colorful ceremony in Hangzhou, China while the Government of Sierra Leone as part of the continent that contribute less to Climate Change, during the recent United Nations General Assembly in the United states of America signed to the Paris Agreement.
Even though Agriculture is contributing to the degradation of the land in the continent, Africa is not producing or rearing too much of livestock like Europe and other continents which Scientific Experts rate and class to be of minimal impact compared to others.
Mr. Aziz Akhannough said “agriculture is a solution to Climate Change in Africa for the simple reason that if you plant or engage in it, you can capture some amount of carbon on the atmosphere which can contribute to the resilience of Climate Change”. Water is key to this all and Mr. Aziz Akhannough views it this way; “we need water for irrigation and if it is absent there could be disaster for farmers”. In his opinion, he suggests that something must be done immediately to salvage the foreseeing disaster for investment in agriculture.
On the 29th September, Africa Ministers of Agriculture will meet in Morocco to chat the way forward on how they can better develop and enhance agriculture in the continent with biodiversity and ecosystems and solidarity base investment and income forming key during the meeting. The economic activities of communities closer to forested areas is vital in other to upkeep and maintain a greener environment and bearing this in mind, livelihood for those people closer to forest areas will also be paramount during the Minister’s meeting on the 29th September.
A well prepared project by African themselves will help garner funding from the Adaptation Fund. According to the Moroccan Agriculture Minister, what is now important for the African continent is for the different parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to present solid and well designed projects for funding during the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Marrakech come November this year.
With millions of cattle, Morocco is a country that is self sufficient for milk and produces 40% of sugar while also attaining the status of the largest producer of sardines in the world.
Morocco is a country found in the North African segment of the continent with desert like soil. But this is not preventing them to become one of the greenest countries in Africa though with less rains. According to Mr. Aziz Akhannough on a yearly basis, the Ministry plants more than twelve million trees including citrus, olive and ornamental trees across the country.
Morocco presently has 9 million hectares of forested areas and 8.1 million hectares of arable land for agriculture. Speaking on the Africa Agriculture and Adaptation also known as the Triple A Initiative, Mr. Aziz Akhannough encouraged all Africans to put premium on the initiative and reiterated that “the Triple A project is a branch of solutions with lots of investment projects” and by doing so they will engage on adaptation mechanisms.
The North African country has been able to control it land and water system in other to address food security issues especially when good management of dams and rivers in other to enhance agriculture is badly needed for the continent. And during the opening of COP22 on the 7th of September, debates on water and issues of forests and oceans will be high on the agenda.