Michael Makuza, Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is among the selected Southern African Development Community (Sadc) regional member states earmarked to benefit from the implementation of climate-smart irrigation systems meant to boost food security while enhancing resilience to droughts.
Southern Africa has not been spared by adverse climate change impacts, which are manifested through increased temperatures, floods, dry spells, frequent droughts, and erratic rainfall leading to reduced agricultural productivity.
As part of measures to counter climate change effects, Sadc has named Zimbabwe alongside Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, and Zambia as key member states primed to develop climate-smart irrigation systems under the support of the Intra-Africa Caribbean and Pacific Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+).
“As part of the response, the Intra Africa Caribbean and Pacific Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), funded by the European Union (EU), is currently facilitating the establishment of climate-smart irrigation systems in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as a pilot initiative to harness Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices for reducing the impacts of climate change in the region,” said Sadc in a latest statement.
GCCA+ is co-implemented by the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), Sadc Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) using the WEF Nexus approach, which integrates water, energy, and food security issues.
Sadc said agriculture remains one of the most significant contributors to climate change, accounting for between 19 and 29 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time, it is also one of the most vulnerable sectors affected by climate change.
“The sector is estimated to consume about 70 percent of global freshwater, providing subsistence for about 2,5 billion people globally who depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods,” said the bloc.
Zimbabwe is also set to benefit from the investment, which includes fencing of irrigation sites, construction of screen houses, installation of drip irrigation infrastructure with boreholes and pumping systems powered by solar panels as renewable energy, and installation of water reservoirs.
CCARDESA is already making an impact in the country as it operated a climate-smart technology project in Rushinga District in north-eastern Zimbabwe, which has surpassed expectations with beneficiaries having harvested and sold crops for their own income.
The project has 101 beneficiaries, who have produced a lot of cabbages and tomatoes and planted a lot of trees for commercial purposes. The members sell the produce and share the proceeds while reinvesting some of the money to expand the project.
The project was launched in December 2020 to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on food and nutrition security using climate-smart technologies and was implemented by Grow a Tree Foundation, with support from CCARDESA.
It is an extension of the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) program, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of Sadc member States to undertake regional and national adaptation and mitigation actions in response to the challenges caused by the effects of climate change.