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Private sector told to lead climate resilience efforts

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Private practitioners in the agriculture sector should be at the forefront of championing climate adaptation, besides building the resilience of rural smallholder farmers, experts have said.

The experts at the ongoing Cop25 talks in Madrid, Spain, said following extreme weather events that have caused massive disruptions to smallholder farmers, farming communities need financial support and new technologies to adapt to the change.

The private sector was urged to provide financial and technological support as conventional lending institutions become too reluctant to support farmers due to increased risks.

Luc Gnacadja, a former minister for environment in Benin and the president of the governance and policies for sustainable development think-thank (GPS-Dev), explained that climate adaptation includes new solutions that make investments stand extreme weather events.

By pushing the public sector to invest in climate adaptation strategies such as proper road network and bridges, the private sector ensures that not only are their investments safe, but their farmers as well.

“The private sector is keen on introducing new technologies such as mobile apps for farmers, among other technologies, but they should first be asking themselves whether the investments will survive into the future,” said Gnacadja, adding that there is need to scale up private sector investment through adaptation and mitigation.

Anmol Vanamali, private sector partnerships lead at Winrock, explained that private sector financing is the new frontier of climate financing.

“In Ghana we are working on renovating smallholder cocoa farms,” he noted. “In Peru for example, they expect Sh4.5 billion worth of infrastructure spending in the next two years. Imagine tapping into that amount of investment without thinking about climate risk… that’s the last thing the country wants to do.”

Mr Vanamali noted that they are designing tools and business models to help reduce climate risks.

“We are designing financial products that can actually help mobilise finance for resilience,” he said, adding that they also work with ministries and companies.

The experts were speaking during an Africa Development Bank side-event at the ongoing 25th United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) conference of parties (COP25) in Spain.

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