Could the key to Africa’s future have been there from day one? In sustainable agriculture, Busani Bufana thinks so…
Forget the view of climate change as impending catastrophe for a moment: if negotiators can recognise sustainable agriculture by African smallholders and forests as mitigating factors in climate change, carbon trading could become an important support for Africa’s food security. There’s no doubt that climate change is a threat: Africa contributes only 3.8 percent of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, but it will suffer worst impacts of climate change. This is because of limited mechanisms and resources to mitigate and adapt to this significant change from one climatic condition to another. Examples of adaptation activities include introducing different crops to compensate to local climate change and protection of coastal areas from sea-level rise.
Carbon trading places limits on emissions at agreed levels; polluters who exceed their assigned limit must buy credits to do so. This is where African farmers can help — if climate-friendly practices in agriculture or preservation of forests are recognised. Polluters in rich countries could then buy offset carbon credits from farmers in Africa.
The global market for carbon emissions is expanding. In 2007, it was estimated to be worth 30 billion dollars — two and a half times the value of average annual aid to Africa.