Blantyre — Government says it will continue to increase resilience and empower smallholder farmers to adapt to effects of climate change considering that only households with increased access to information through extension services were more likely to have better coping mechanisms.
Chief Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Kumwembe was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday during the opening of a three day 2018 International Community Based Adaptation (CBA12) conference that will run from June 11 - 14, 2018 with focus on getting local experience on climate change.
Kumwembe said the importance of enabling farmers' access to information and better technologies which enable them increase adaptive capacity and resilience is of much importance, saying the provision of climate change information is crucial for community based farmers to be resilient to the effects of climate change.
"Government is committed to promoting community sustainable developments to improve livelihoods and protect the environment. Farmers and governments need to adapt to this changing climate regime.
"But adaptation requires decisions to be made under high uncertainty, often with incomplete knowledge. This makes planning and investing in it difficult. Timely climate information access helps farmers manage the risks of climate change," said Kumwembe.
Kumwembe observed that the objective of the conference was to achieve inclusive, meaningful community engagement in decision making in ways which enable fostering of opportunities for gender - transformative outcomes.
He, therefore, thanked organizers for hosting the event in Malawi for the first time, saying it is in line with Malawi government's vision of supporting farmers' adaptation to climate change and resilience building through several projects and partnerships.
Clare Shakya - Director for Climate Change Research, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) who is the coordinating partner for the event said in Malawi just like in any other country, climate change has negatively impacted rural farmers by reducing their crop yield and increasing their vulnerability to climatic shocks.
"This conference has a particular focus on climate financing and making sure these funds reach the local level and address the needs and priorities of the women, children and men living on the frontline of climate change.
This is to ensure a fair transition to low emission, climate resilient development, which includes community-based adaptation," Shakya said.
"The main objective is to increase the resilience capacity of rural farm communities with respect to actual climate variation and future climate changes and this can be done by implementing a capacity building and training system to build the resilience capacity of farm communities vulnerable to climate variations and climate change," she added.
The 2018 Community-Based Adaptation (CBA12) conference has attracted 270 participants from 45 countries worldwide.
The 11th International Conference on CBA11 took place in Kampala, Uganda while the 10th International Conference on CBA10 to climate change took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh.