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African Farmers Prepare for Future Made Uncertain by Climate Change

African Farmers Prepare for Future Made Uncertain by Climate Change

NAIROBI —
Lilian Vihenda prepares afternoon porridge for her young children. The flour she uses has just been delivered by the staff at Food Banking Kenya, a nonprofit organization that helps feed the needy in her Nairobi neighborhood.

In the current hard economic times in Kenya, Vihenda says, these care packages help keep her children in school. She says the money that she would have used to buy food will pay for her children's school fees, which is a great help.

But in addition to helping the poor by salvaging excess food from farms and markets, Food Banking Kenya is taking steps to blunt the harmful impact of climate change.

John Gathungu, who heads the nonprofit, says the recent acquisition of a cold storage facility allows the food bank to store more food while reducing greenhouse emissions from the farms.

“When food in the farms ends up in the landfills, you find that there is a lot of toxicity within the air, because what happens is that when they rot in the landfill, they produce methane, which is a worse product than carbon dioxide," Gathungu said. "And if we curb food wastage, we can be able to at least to reduce the amount of gas that is produced from at least 6 to 8 percent.”

Implementing climate-sensitive advances will be key to helping Africa adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, says adaptation strategies analyst Winnie Khaemba.

“Agricultural technologies that also ensure that you have reduced emissions, CO2 emissions, methane emissions, which are all greenhouse emissions, we really are in need of these technologies and also the capacity to be able to apply these technologies,” Khaemba said.

But technology requires funding, and that remains a challenge.

Experts say the continent will need more than $300 billion over the next decade as it develops strategies that will help cushion it from the effects of climate change.
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