Importance of Natural Resources

Climate-Smart Agriculture in the Western Cape

In the Western Cape Province of South Africa,
where agriculture forms the backbone of the rural economy and employment, climate change
has the potential to destabilise agricultural and food security, undermining economic development. Climate change is caused by people adding
heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, causing changes to environments around the world. It presents a very new a significant threat
to agriculture in the Western Cape. Agriculture is especially sensitive to the
fluctuation in rainfall and temperature that climate change brings. The agricultural sector is affected by many
risks caused by climate change such as: Droughts and less winter rainfall
more heat waves and warmer winters and summers, more fires,
more floods, and biodiversity loss. Already, between 2003 and 2008, direct damage
costs associated with climate-related extreme events amounted to over R3 billion. Many local farmers are implementing responses
to existing and future climate risks. However, for long-term resilience to climate
change, a coordinated and cooperative response is required. To this end, SmartAgri was launched with the
aim to support the development of a sustainable, climate-smart response to the impacts climate
change on agriculture in the western cape. In different areas of the Western Cape SmartAgri
engages with agricultural communities and stakeholders, identifying what people are already doing
to deal with climate change and the additional actions that can be taken to strengthen resilience
in agriculture. Farmers and other agricultural bodies contribute
to this initiative through shared learning, new insights, and the joint identification
of practical responses to climate change. With these actions, existing and future climate
risks can be proactively dealt with, arising opportunities can be taken advantage of and
greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced. Together, through climate-smart agricultural
practices, we can safeguard food security and sustainability, while maintaining economic
growth, making sure that the Western Cape remains a strong agricultural region in the future.

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