By Steffen Fritz and Linda See
One of the main challenges of this coming century is to ensure food security from land that is increasingly under pressure from a rapidly increasing population, biofuel expansion and changing diets, among many things. In a climate characterized by major increases in food prices and continued market volatility, we need better information on the global status and dynamics of agricultural land use in order to make good policy, investment and logistical decisions.
This information is relevant not only to food security but also to the future of energy and environmental change in modelling scenarios of the future. The main source of cropland extent at a global scale is land cover products but research has shown that these products have large spatial disagreements in the cropland domain when compared with one another. The uncertainty is as high as 20 per cent of the total area. Although remote sensing technologies are improving all the time, we need a solution to this problem - now. Read more »
By Jack Durrell
Shifting climate patterns are having their most acute effect on people living in the world’s dry areas. These rural communities are largely dependent on agriculture, so improving agricultural research and practices are the primary protection from climate related problems, according to a new report released today.
An international partnership – CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the CGIAR Research Programs on Dryland Systems and the Qatar National Food Security Program – is pressing for agricultural research to become a strategic priority of the UN’s efforts on climate change.
The case will also be made at Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day 5, a forum for the natural resource and agriculture community to share solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Read more »
by Simon Bager
Climate change has and will have an enormous impact on what we can grow and eat. Conversely, the global food system—from production, to transportation and refrigeration to disposal—is responsible for up to 29% of human-generated greenhouse gases. With so much information about climate change available, it’s difficult to know what the key facts are. To make up for this, we’ve scoured the literature for the latest research to identify the best and most current scientific knowledge at the intersection of agriculture, climate change and food security.
The result is “Big Facts”, a set of need-to-know facts that represents the latest and most authoritative research on topics ranging from undernourishment and dietary changes to agricultural mitigation practices and climate finance. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
What would smallholder farmers’ from around the world say if they got the opportunity to join the current climate negotiations in Doha? What type of results would they like to see come out of the conference? James Kinyangi, Regional Program Leader for the East Africa program of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), discusses in this video interview what we can do to make sure that the smallholder farmers' voices are heard around the negotiating table, and what they need and want from the conference. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
“Why is action on agriculture needed now?” This was the opening question by Alexander Mueller of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, at a side event at the Doha climate talks. The answer can very easily turn into a long elaborative list of “becauses”, but in short, and without doubt, climate change is already affecting smallholder farmers and multiplying the challenges they already face. Even if the time to act was yesterday, there is still little time to create a food secure, sustainable future. This makes COP18 in Doha an important opportunity to agree on action - now.
Achieving food security under impending climatic change and growing populations is a difficult task. One way of dealing with it is through climate-smart agriculture approaches (CSA). But despite progress, in research and commitments, few farmers are benefitting by CSA to date. This was one of the main discussion topics at the FAO-led side event “How can climate smart approaches help build resilience to food security and agriculture” on 27 November. Read more »
By Vanessa Meadu
Agriculture has taken a long and winding path through the global climate talks in the last decade. This despite two basic facts: climate change will affect the food we eat, and the food we eat contributes to climate change.
As the 18th round of UN Climate Change talks kicks off in Doha this week, the discussion will center on how to develop approaches that safeguard livelihoods (particularly of poor farmers) in a changing climate, while reducing agriculture’s climate footprint.
We’ll hear about success stories, innovative new ideas, and other solutions in the coming days, including an official side event on 29 November on Lessons learnt from scaling-up actions on food security, adaptation and mitigation and Agriculture Landscapes and Livelihoods Day on 3 December.
Meanwhile we have joined with other research groups, civil society and the private sector to call for action at COP18 – scroll down to read more and click the image to enlarge.
Vanessa Meadu manages communications for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Follow the latest developments from the UN climate talks in Doha on our blog, on twitter @cgiarclimate and #ALLForest.
By Helena Wright
Farmers in Bangladesh have to adapt their livelihoods both to a changing environment and to changing markets. Our recent working paper "Understanding Adaptive Capacity: Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Security in Coastal Bangladesh" analysed the results of survey data from 980 households in coastal Bangladesh. It was found that there were high levels of food insecurity, with 15 per cent of households reporting they faced food shortages for over half the year.
Market and economic reasons were more often given as reasons for changing agricultural practices than climate-related factors. 54 per cent of households gave yield and price as reasons for changing crops. Climate-related factors were also frequently mentioned. 25 per cent of households mentioned higher soil salinity and around 20 per cent pointed to increasing cyclones and floods.
Insights from the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach Read more »
By Nancy Moss
"Fewer but better fed animals can make livestock production more efficient." This was said by Mario Herrero at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi. Herrero was speaking on 13 November 2012 in the fourth of a series of science seminars organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The presentation was live-streamed to an online audience of 220 people in front of a live audience of 40.
Herrero, an agricultural systems analyst at ILRI, gave an up-to-date overview of ways the livestock sector in developing countries can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions."We face the challenge of feeding an increasing human population, estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, and doing so in ways that are socially just, economically profitable and environmental friendly," he said. Read more »
By Leigh Winowiecki
Land degradation is seen as one of the causes of low agricultural yields as well as loss of biodiversity. Increasingly, researchers are also linking land degradation to poverty. Looking at ecosystem and soil health, we see that there are many different drivers of land degradation, which vary across ecoregions and climatic zones. Identifying these drivers and developing improved management strategies are further compounded by the changes in climate. This complexity calls for an interdisciplinary approach that links the socio-economic factors affecting everyday life of rural farmers in East Africa with systematic assessessments of soil and ecosystem health. This is especially relevant in order to develop appropriate climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Therefore the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), together with the Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia (CIAT-Soils Program based in Nairobi, Kenya), are together supporting a new project: “Playing out transformative adaptation in CCAFS benchmark sites in East Africa: When, where, how and with whom?”. Read more »
By Clare Pedrick
Farmers in the dry areas face a wide range of problems, many of which were examined by experts in Doha at the The International Conference on Food Security in Dry Lands (FSDL) this week. Of all the problems, water is the common denominator – ever-present and affecting all aspects of food production on these lands.
Arid and semi-arid areas face the biggest challenge, as climate change, population growth, pollution and increased salinity place growing pressure on smallholder farmers in their quest for stable food production. The problem is becoming even more acute due to competing demands from rapidly increasing urban areas. 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)