The climate Smart Approaches seminar of the 8th BRICS Meeting of the Agriculture Cooperation Working Group is under way at Skukuza in Mpumalanga.
Michael Mlengana, the director-general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff), on Tuesday said: “We are here to discuss, share and exchange ideas as BRICS members on how Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are dealing with climate change.”
Mlengana hoped the seminar, ending on Friday, would come up with practical solutions on how to deal with the scourge of climate change.
He said Daff has adopted Climate Smart Agriculture which was aimed at promoting and up scaling sustainable agricultural production, while also reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring food security.
“Food security is the primary objective of our government,” said Mlengana, adding that a particular focus would be placed on small scale farmers as they carried the heavy burden of climate change due to their limited resources.
Vusumzi Robert Shongwe, MEC for Mpumalanga Department Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, echoed Mlengana, saying the rural poor were most affected by global warming.
He said BRICS members had agreed to deepen cooperation on food security and nutrition, agricultural innovation, and agricultural trade and investment, among others, to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Shongwe noted that in the Kruger National Park, hippos have died by their hundreds by the end of the 2016 dry season.
He said Mpumalanga was committed to working with all stakeholders such as academia, private and public sectors and researchers to respond effectively to the climate change impact.
“We can improve the lives of our people through the BRICS initiative,” he said.
The seminar, ending on Friday, will host a gala dinner for the BRICS agriculture ministers on Thursday. – BUSINESS REPORT