Zimbabwe puts sustainable food on the table at COP28

Written by Adelaide Moyo

Published: December 5, 2023

Topic: COP28

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In a significant step towards addressing climate change and food security, Zimbabwe has joined over 130 countries in signing a declaration to accelerate action on transforming agriculture and food systems.

The declaration, which was made during the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, commits the signatory countries to scale up innovation and financing for soil health and other measures to combat climate change.

The declaration is a critical development for Zimbabwe, as agriculture is a vital sector of the country’s economy, employing over 70 percent of the population. However, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, with recurrent droughts and floods posing a major threat to food production.

By signing the declaration, Zimbabwe has demonstrated its commitment to building a more resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

The agreement, announced on the second day of COP28, included 134 nations encompassing some of the world’s largest food producers.

According to the COP28 UAE declaration on sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems and climate action heads and states and governments note that agriculture and food systems are fundamental to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people, including smallholders, family farmers, fisherfolk and other producers and food workers.

The heads of states also recognise that unprecedented adverse climate impacts are increasingly threatening the resilience of agriculture and food systems as well as the ability of many, especially the most vulnerable, to produce and access food in the face of mounting hunger, malnutrition, and economic stresses.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaking during the world climate action summit at COP28


The declaration comes as Zimbabwe has pledged to invest in soil health initiatives, such as cover cropping and conservation tillage, which can help to improve soil structure and water retention capacity.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the southern African nation is making strides towards sustainable agriculture through the adoption of climate-proof initiatives.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with the repercussions of the climate crisis, which have led to erratic rainfall patterns characterised by either severe floods or prolonged periods of drought.

The droughts have been persistent, with the country facing droughts in various years, including 1991 to 1994, 2002, 2004, 2012, 2016, and 2017.

Speaking during a leaders summit at COP28, President Mnangagwa highlighted that Zimbabwe has not been spared, from the adverse effects of climate change.

A cross-section of world leaders at COP28


He said erratic rainfall, prolonged droughts and extreme weather events have negatively affected economic stability, agricultural production and productivity as well as overall food security and food sovereignty.

“Ripple effects on lives and livelihoods have been felt by the most vulnerable, especially women and children,” Mnangagwa said.

“Zimbabwe adopted the concept of climate smart agriculture, Pfumvudza/Intwasa Model, as one of the pathways towards sustainable agriculture. As a result of this approach, we have witnessed increased agriculture production and productivity, as well as improved household food security, nutrition and incomes,” he added.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe has put in place policies to lessen the consequences of climate change in line with climate smart agriculture.

The policies include the National Climate Policy which promotes climate smart agriculture through reduced tillage, mulching, crop rotation, water harvesting, efficient irrigation and promotion of drought-tolerant crops, among other practices.

The National Climate Change Response Strategy aims at mainstreaming climate change across all sectors of the economy.

The President noted that concerning livestock production, the National Climate Change Response Strategy is promoting the adoption of indigenous and improved livestock breeds that are tolerant to climate related stresses.

Zimbabwe’s National Adaptation Plan is aimed at identifying climate change adaptation actions for vulnerable sectors while the revised Nationally Determined Contribution strengthens the resilience of agricultural value chains and markets.

The Climate Smart Agriculture Manual facilitates the integration of climate smart agriculture concepts into the curriculum of higher learning institutions.

The Food and Nutrition Security Policy identifies climate smart irrigation development as a key pillar to fostering long-term food and nutrition security in Zimbabwe.


This story was originally published by The Financial Gazette, with the support of Climate Tracker’s COP28 Climate Justice Reporting Fellowship.

About the author of this article
Adelaide Moyo

Adelaide is a business and financial news writer based in Zimbabwe. She is interested in the intersection between climate and the economy. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate, she has been a journalist for over seven years and has won multiple awards.