Anyone doubting the effect of climate change, and how farmers can adapt continuously to changing weather patterns, should talk to Emily Marigu Ireri.
We met Emily, near Meru, eastern Kenya, where she farms a five acres plot, 1,500 meters high on the steep slopes of Mount Kenya.
She describes how, in recent years, the rains are more erratic. At the beginning of the rainy season, often it would only rain for a few days, and then stop, sometimes for weeks. “Often seeds would start to sprout during those first rains, but then they would dry up”, Emily explains. She takes us to the bottom of the valley just below her fields. “By this time of the year, this small stream would normally be a river, but now, it hardly irrigates the fields around it. A few miles from here, the river is dead, water is just absorbed by the soil.”
“But it is not only the erratic rains that makes the life of farmers difficult“, Emily explains. “Here, so close to Mount Kenya, we also used to get misty drizzle in May and June. From the time of my father’s fathers, we used that moisture for a crop in the middle of the year. Now that drizzle does not come anymore. I don’t know why, but nowadays, we can only get one harvest a year, in the rainy season. Now is the time for the rain to come." Read more »
I remember someone once stating in a presentation that there is no single silver bullet to climate change adaptation – we have to throw everything at the problem. In CCAFS Theme 1 on Adapting to Progressive Change we see that adaptation in production systems requires a hard look at reducing the yield gap and effectively managing existing knowledge about suitable practices and technologies to adapt to the future, but we also need to raise the bar by supporting crop improvement to deliver farmers with varieties that can stand up to the many challenges of the future. In DAPA and CCAFS we hope to play an important role in the development of science-based guidance on appropriate crop improvement strategies for a dynamic climate. Read more »
Since its official launch in March 2011 the CCAFS-convened Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has been hard at work. On May 10th, the Commission held its second meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, where Commissioners were briefed on a review of evidence from major assessment reports. Individual Commissioners presented on topics related to three overarching questions:
Good climate data (long‐term temporally homogeneous time series with good spatial coverage) is critical for assessing climate‐related risks, understanding climate change in a long-term context, understanding the impact of climate on different socioeconomic activities, and producing useful climate atlases. CCAFS partners are working on downscaling data to shorter time periods and smaller geographical areas, in order to make climate data more useful for agricultural decision-makers. The conventional source of climate data has been measurements at weather stations. However, the number and quality of weather stations in Africa, Latin America and other regions has been declining. Read more »
Each week we bring you the climate change stories that sparked our attention during the week, many of which have significant implications for agriculture and food security.
Including: Agriculture on the climate agenda, corruption and climate change; and traditional approaches to adaptation.
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by Charlotte Lau
India is one of the great food security puzzles of our age. By all accounts, the country’s economy is growing rapidly, incomes are reaching historical highs, and between the 1980s and 2005 food prices declined relative to the prices of other goods—yet people are eating less.
Per capita calorie consumption and nutrient consumption in India have declined over the last couple decades, a pattern that began precisely when relative food prices were falling. Indeed, people spend less on food today than they did thirty years ago, but not because they're eating enough. Child nourishment is poor, anemia is rampant, and body-mass indices are among the lowest in the world, leading 20% of children to be so skinny they would be classified by the WHO as “wasting.”
What is going on? Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)