The World Bank on Tuesday urged Africa to increase its public expenditure on agriculture in order to increase food security.
World Bank Group Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist Ademola Braimoh told a business forum in Nairobi that low investments in agriculture have made Africa's agricultural sector vulnerable to climate change.
"These challenges can be overcome through more investment in instruments such as the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)," Braimoh said during the launch of the World Bank's report on Increasing Agricultural Production and Resilience through improved Agro- Meteorological Services.
World Bank Kenya Country Director Diarietou Gaye said over 220 million people are currently food insecure in Africa and this figure could rise to over 350 million by the end of 2015 unless appropriate interventions are put in place to cope with the intensity of climate change.
Gaye said climate change is a fundamental threat to development and should be confronted in order to combat poverty. She noted that a two degree Celsius rise in temperature in Africa will trigger a 40 to 80 percent decline in land area suitable for growing maize, millet and sorghum.
"Climate projections indicate that crop yields decline by 5 percent for every Celsius degree of global warming," she added.
In 2003, the African Union endorsed the Maputo Declaration on Food Security. which urged Africa states to devote at least 10 percent of their budgets on Agriculture. Braimoh said Kenya will spend about 500 million U.S. dollars in the current financial year in agriculture.
Braimoh noted that the annual costs related to droughts and flooding is equivalent to 2.4 percent of Kenya's GDP. In 2013, Kenya ranked 79 of 107 countries, on the Global Food Security Index, which measures the affordability, availability, and quality of food.
Gaye said that the World Bank is stepping up mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk management work and the financial institution will increasingly look at all projects business through a climate lens.
The World Bank is currently implementing the Agro-weather Tools for Climate-Smart Agriculture project that aims to increase the adaptive capacity of farmers through improved access to weather forecasting and climate-smart practices.
"It delivers relevant weather information and advisories to farmers individually through the mobile phone, community radio and agro-weather Bulletins," she said.