The Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) and the Food Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) co-hosted a workshop to facilitate policy dialogue on climate smart agriculture on the 8th November 2016. The workshop attracted researchers and academics from institutions such as the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The workshop discussed Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and their outcomes in relation to Botswana’s agriculture. The workshop participants had an opportunity to discuss institutional and policy gaps that might hinder the achievement of INDCs. The workshop also deliberated on opportunities for and integrated approach in enhancing the uptake of research findings and innovative models for Climate Smart Agriculture in light of INDCs and the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) outcomes. INDCs are actions a national government intends to take under the Paris Agreement reached in December 2015 at the 21st session of COP21.
The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Keoagile Molapong, who underscored the importance of policy dialogues that address climate change issues. He noted that the negative effects of climate change are already being experienced in Botswana, particularly given the country’s semi-arid conditions. In the light of these developments, Dr Molapong pointed out that “it is therefore critical that strategies that promote conservation agriculture are considered in pursuing food security. The need to come up with climate resilient production systems as well as the necessary policy to guide adaptation to climate change cannot be overemphasized”.
When closing the workshop, BIDPA Executive Director Dr Tebogo Seleka highlighted that poor countries and poor farmers are at the mercy of climate change as they are unable to deal with the situation effectively due to lack of funds and resources. He indicated that Botswana needs to develop a mitigation and adaptation strategy, and have a roadmap that encompasses all stakeholders including researchers, policy makers and meteorological services. He further expressed the need for an institutional framework and advocacy for climate smart agriculture policies at high decision making levels.