As negotiations and consultations continue at the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 17 Conference, calls have been made for negotiators to recognize the important role that agriculture plays with a view to transform the agricultural sector in Africa.
Agriculture in Africa is largely traditional and reliant on rains, making it highly vulnerable to extreme weather events caused by climate change.
With the crucial agricultural sector facing gruesome challenges which need to be addressed instantly, the food security issue on the African continent cannot be ignored.
Although African countries are said to be speaking with one voice on the issue of coming up with a working programme that will support innovations as well as long-term investments, agriculture and food security pressure groups are saying that if negotiators from African countries fail to come up with a tangible solution to the agriculture crisis in Africa then there is no deal.
Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda said food security policies need to be put in place and agriculture should be taken seriously as a business.
She said the continent has the potential to feed itself but what is needed is for negotiators to come up with a workable programme that will avail technologies to subsistent farmers who are the backbone of agriculture in most African countries.
Majele-Sibanda said COP 17 is a platform for the African negotiators to make their voices heard and ensure that funds are availed for scientific researches, adaptation and investments in the sector.
She said African countries cannot continue importing researches from western countries who do not share the same climatic conditions.
Funding for the agriculture sector remains crucial in most African countries and in Zimbabwe where there is high potential for the growth of the food production sector, underfunding by the national treasury is an impediment that has stalled the growth of the vital sector.
Meanwhile, hopes of a concrete legally binding agreement from Durban are hanging in the balance as the United States of America has reiterated that it is not prepared to append its signature to any legally binding agreement.
The statement by the U.S head of delegation, Mr. Jonathan Pershing has dampened the spirits at COP 17 where negotiators were hoping for a positive outcome.
The climate change negotiations currently underway in Durban might become another talk show and fail to produce positive results as one of the worldâ€™s super powers and biggest emitters, the US, is adamant that it will not be bound by any legal agreements.
The US has for years become the biggest obstacle in climate change talks and is reluctant to take steps towards prioritising issues that are affecting the world.
Speaking during a news briefing, Mr. Pershing said his country will not be part of the Kyoto Protocol in anyway and does not believe that developed countries should be forced to release funds for climate change.
The climate change talks are currently a shadow of the U.Sâ€™s hegemony, this a painful reality for vulnerable countries like Zimbabwe where temperatures have soared to record highs and the shifting of seasons and erratic rainfall have left farmers in disarray.
The USâ€™s foot dragging on the issue of climate change has been widely denounced by attending delegates from developed and developing countries.
The major question is why the US, which is one of the biggest emitters not willing to accede with other nations.
The top 10 list of greenhouse gases emitters consist of China, the U.S, the EU block, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Canada, Iran, United Kingdom and South Korea.