SmartAgri Project Provides Platform for Long-term Response to Climate Change
3 October 2014
The Western Cape Government is set to partner with the University of Cape Town and the agricultural sector to develop a new climate change response plan. The SmartAgri project is being driven jointly by the Department of Agriculture (DoA) and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP).
Alan Winde, Minister of Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism, explained that the departments have tasked UCT’s African Climate and Development Initiative with developing a framework and implementation plan for the sector.
Through the project, stakeholder workshops will be hosted in strategic locations around the province to plot practical solutions which take the needs of the sector into account. The focus of the workshops will be on developing feasible risk
management approaches, new technologies, and effective implementation for specific climate risks.
“We know that farmers have been using innovation to deal with climate change risks for some time. Through a co-ordinated approach with the sector, the Department of Agriculture will lead the development of a long-term plan to
manage climate change. Through the SmartAgri project, we are inviting all interested role players in agriculture to contribute to the formulation of practical media release climate change responses. We need smart and innovative responses to the possible impacts of climate change. Increasing pressure on agribusinesses to reduce their carbon and water footprints is already being felt in the export market, and it is imperative that we take steps to address this”.
Anton Bredell, Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, welcomed the project, stating that it aligns with the revised DEA&DP Climate Change Response Strategy (2014) released earlier this year. The Strategy identifies food security as one of the 9 focus areas, with the promotion of climate smart agriculture being one of its priority programmes: “SmartAgri is the next step in ensuring the continued growth and development in the agriculture sector despite climatic uncertainties. The project builds on previous engagements with the sector around climate change concerns and potential mitigation and adaptation plans”.
Project manager, Stephanie Midgley, said this project was significant due to its collaborative approach: “Through this project, we are seeking to capture the experiences and needs of a wide range of agricultural stakeholders in the Western Cape”.
Dr Ilse Trautmann, project leader at the Department of Agriculture, said: “The project should provide real and practical information and support, and inspire farmers in a manner which optimises their decision making and ensures
The first two workshops will be held on 14 October 2014 in the Paarl/Riebeek-West area and on 16 October 2014 in Oudtshoorn. The project team would like to encourage role players from all spheres of agriculture across the Western Cape to get involved from the start.
Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde
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