IGAD, FAO Collaborate to Enhance Resilience among Subsistence Farmers & Pastoralists

The ministerial conference of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states, hosted by Kenya, concluded with the release of a comprehensive communique.

The conference aimed to foster coordination and collaboration in tackling critical issues such as risk transfer mechanisms and transboundary pest management in the region.

IGAD member states have encountered multifaceted challenges in advancing development within their borders, including desertification, transboundary pests, and the limited uptake of insurance among subsistence farmers and pastoralists.

Dr. Guilead Artan, Director of IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), emphasized the urgency of building resilience by integrating member states and recognizing the cross-cutting nature of these issues.

Dr. Artan stated that building resilience is essential for improving the livelihoods of subsistence and pastoralist communities.

“Key steps involve adopting risk transfer and micro-insurance mechanisms to mitigate vulnerabilities during emergencies.”

To address the challenges faced by IGAD, a consensus was reached on the need to enhance data sharing, solutions, and actions related to climate change, an escalating menace. The effectiveness of resilience-building efforts hinges on forging stronger connections with stakeholders like the East Africa Community (EAC), AU Emergency Fund, AfCTFA, ICIPE, and CABI, among others.

IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre Director, Dr Gueid Artan addresses delegates at the IGAD Ministerial Meeting on Risk Transfer and Transboundary Pest Management.

Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries commended the establishment of ICPAC as a crucial initiative to bolster responses to risk transfer and micro-insurance.

He urged member states, through the IGAD secretariat, to proactively share information and best practices, promoting coordination and capacity-building in combating the locust threat and predicting, monitoring, and controlling swarm proliferation.

In a statement conveyed by Josephat Muhunyu, Agriculture Principal Secretary at the State Department for Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Cabinet Secretary emphasized the necessity of cross-border collaboration to effectively address shared challenges stemming from climate-related disasters and disease outbreaks.

Given the escalating impacts of climate change in the region, including recent droughts and predicted floods, the Cabinet Secretary underscored the role of technology in enabling risk transfer and micro-insurance mechanisms.

He highlighted the imperative of building resilience against food insecurity to enhance citizen well-being and sustainable development.

Expressing commitment to collaboration, the Cabinet Secretary pledged to work closely with the Desert Locust Control Organisation of Eastern Africa (DLCO_EA) and Food and Agricultural Organisations (FAO) to combat desert locusts and other transboundary pests. Technical support will be provided to member states to bolster early warning systems.

in a speech read by Carla Mucavi, FAO representative in Kenya, David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Rep to the AU and EAC, remarked on his delight in being part of the ministerial conference as discussions are centered on potential solutions to the transboundary pests, drought emergencies and related risks to the Agrifood systems in the subregion.

According to Dr. Phiri based on the alarming statistic, it’s important to note that 56 million people in the IGAD region are faced with severe levels of food insecurity and this represents 25% of the world’s food insecure population.

“Combating transboundary pests and risk financing would help rural communities to withstand and, mitigate the impact of livelihood shocks should remain part of broader subregional efforts to build sustainable agrifood systems hence resilience of the communities,” he said

IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre Director Dr. Guleid Artan, Somalia Minister of Agriculture Asad Abdirasaq, and South Sudan Minister of Agriculture during the IGAD Ministerial Meeting on Risk Transfer and Transboundary Pest Management.

Dr. Workneh Gebeyeh, IGAD Executive Secretary, emphasized the escalating threat of climate change, as highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments. He noted that challenges such as extreme weather events, transboundary pest infestations, violent conflict, and microeconomic difficulties are exacerbating food insecurity and undermining future development efforts across Africa.

Dr. Gebeyeh stressed the integration of risk transfer and micro-insurance services into community-based approaches, promoting social cohesion and mutual support. Implementing integrated pest management (IPM) practices and improving access to education and healthcare will enhance the resilience of vulnerable populations in the region.

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