March 12, 2018 | Events

For the first time, Africa hosted the 4th global science conference on climate-smart agriculture. The conference was held between 28 November 2017 to 30 November 2017. Incepted four years ago, this annual scientific conference was formed with a goal of adapting to the man-made effects of climate change using smart agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture ultimately aims at attaining food security. This is done by adapting to the outcomes of climate change and reducing the causative factors. The 4th conference on climate-smart agriculture focussed on the implementation of smart agriculture using local scientific innovations.

Climate change and its effects have become a reality to the world more so in Africa and thus Johannesburg is an appropriate destination for the 4th conference on smart agriculture. Smart agriculture is an agricultural approach aimed at mitigating the causatives factors of climate change and making the best of food security while under the effects of climate change. Climate-smart agriculture thus has the triple objectives of mitigating the emission of greenhouse gases, adapting to the changed environment and ultimately attaining food security. The 4th global science conference on climate-smart agriculture will thus advance the three pillars through a focus on local innovative solutions.

The three pillars of Smart Agriculture and the conference agenda

The 2017 smart agriculture conference in Johannesburg aimed at shining a light on local innovations. Productivity is one of the core pillars of smart agriculture. This pillar aims at increasing agricultural productivity using sustainable methods that do not negatively affect the environment. Climate change has, however, been primarily man-made hence the need to discuss scientific innovations during the 4th global science conference on smart agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture also has an adaptive focus aimed at protecting farmers from short-term effects of climate change while at the same time enhancing the capacity of farmers to deal with long-term effects. The 4th smart agriculture conference is also important in facilitation of interrogation of success factors in smart agriculture. 

This is because the conference will enable key stakeholders to evaluate adaptive capacities and critical success factors aligned to the adaptability agenda. Smart agriculture also focuses on how scientific innovations can be used to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. Agriculture can contribute greenhouse gas emissions through practices such as rampant deforestation. This year’s conference in Johannesburg is notably a good platform for networking among policymakers. The conference will, in addition, provide a good environment that will stimulate discussions on sustainable mitigation strategies. Based on the alignment of this year’s conference with the Community-supported agriculture (CSA) pillars, it can be deemed that the 4th smart agriculture conference was an appropriate platform for the agenda on climate change. It was particularly timely given that Africa has been plagued by effects of climate change such as food insecurity and water scarcity to which smart agriculture is a good remedy.