Haramaya University’s Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture & Biodiversity Conservation hosted an international conference on Transforming Food Systems in Africa through Climate Smart Agriculture from October 27-28, 2022 at the University’s Main Campus.

The conference was organized by ACE Climate SABC with substantial support from various organizations. Participants of the conference are scholars, sector practitioners, experts and academia coming from national, regional and international organizations who came for sharing local and global experiences on current and future challenges of the food systems in Africa and the ways of transforming it through Climate Smart Agriculture.

During the two days conference, several scientific papers and posters were presented and discussed.  Professor Mengistu Urge, Haramaya University’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, made opening remarks on behalf of the President of HU. In his remarks, Prof. Mengistu highlighted the significant negative impact climate change is having on agricultural production and productivity and the need to tackle the challenges through practical research and partnerships among various stakeholders.

On the two days conference, keynote speeches were made from persons having authority on the area of climate smart agriculture, namely, Dr Kindie Tesfaye, Dr Gemedo Dalle, Professor John Morton, Prof. Brook Lemma, Dr Tadesse Dhaba, and Dr Kibebew Kibret.  The inspiring keynote speeches were laden with new information and insights into the changing climate and the way through which to tackle the accompanying problems by implementing evidence-based adaptation and mitigations strategies, increasing agricultural productivity, and providing digitized climate information services for increased resilience and productivity.

The discussants articulated clearly the need to use various productions, information, marketing, and other technologies to tackle the problems. For this purpose, the need to work together ever than before has been emphasized. Therefore, it is high time that researchers, practitioners (farmers, pastoralists, Agro-pastoralists), policy makers, higher learning institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the wider public worked together in close partnerships.

While summarizing the papers presented, Professor Nigussie Dechassa has indicated that there were 54 papers and posters in eight themes related to food systems and climate smart agriculture. Professor Nigussie has also indicated that more than 80% of food production comes from smallholder farmers who are struggling to produce crops and livestock through rain-fed system under the unpredictable variability of the major climatic elements mainly rainfall and temperature causing droughts or dry spells during the main rainy season), untimely rain, floods, frost, shifts in start or end of the main rainy growing season, the papers presented have all encapsulated these issues in different ways.

The two-day conference came to an end through a certificate award and closing speech by Professor Jeylan Wolyie, Vice President for Administration and Student Affairs. Professor Jeylan emphasized the main goal of Climate Smart Agriculture in this regard is minimizing communities’ overall vulnerability to climate change induced poverty, drought, food insecurity and loss of livelihood.

In this regard, the conference created a platform for exchanging rich and diverse experiences, perspectives, viewpoints and evaluations on what should be done to increase the usefulness of Climate Smart Agriculture to increase the productivity & sustainability of agriculture to foster communities’ resilience and adaptation to climate change and catalyze integration of production system.

Finally, Professor Jeylan thanked and appreciated the conference initiators, organizers, keynote speakers, moderators, and other participants for their selfless & immense contributions to make the conference a site of meaningful intellectual exercise.

By: -Shemsedin Mohammed

Photographs: – Foad Ahmed & Tewodros Lishan