Farmers worldwide have always faced challenges related to weather variability, and have necessarily adapted their farming practises in order to survive. But as variability increases to to climate change, and rainfall patterns and average temperatures shift dramatically, farmers may need to change more rapidly and in unexpected ways.
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) led an extensive survey of farmers at sites across East Africa, to discover what kind of changes farmers have already made to deal with variability. The goal was to understand what kind of changes are possible in the future, and what compels farmers to make these changes, in order to deal with climate change.
The results of the survey, which were published in the journal Food Security, found that many smallholders have started to embrace climate-resilient farming approaches and technologies. These include strategies that improve crop production such as using improved seed varieties, agroforestry and intercropping, and better livestock management. But many farming approaches, the kind that would actually transform the way smallholders farm, have yet to be adopted. The infographic below illustrates what has, and has not, been commonly adopted. Read more »
A stimulating seminar on ‘Food Security in a Changing Climate’ was held on August 30 in Ottawa, Canada, jointly sponsored by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), International Development Research Council (IDRC), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. With around 50 participants from a wide range of institutions and backgrounds, the discussion was wide-ranging and lively!
This week, Gerald Nelson, who leads CCAFS research on frameworks for policy analysis, was honoured with the “Publication of Enduring Quality Award” by the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). Nelson, who is a senior scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and his co-author Daniel Hellerstein, were recognized for their 1997 paper Do Roads Cause Deforestation? Using Satellite Images in Econometric Analysis of Land Use. The paper outlines an innovative technique for turning satellite imagery into economic data, allowing researchers to simulate the effects of human activity on the environment. Read more »
The final report is now available for the CCAFS study "Mapping Hotspots of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in the Global Tropics". This study was coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to identify areas that are food insecure and vulnerable to the impacts of future climate change, across the priority regions for the CGIAR centres. The research was undertaken by a team of scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Read more »
Devastating reports coming from the Horn of Africa indicate that some places are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. And while it may seem logical to blame the dry conditions on climate change, CCAFS theme leader Philip Thornton warns against attributing a single event to climate change. In a recent interview, he told IRIN Africa that there are challenges in projecting climate change impacts in East Africa:
”Some people think that East Africa is drying, and has dried over recent years; currently there is no hard, general evidence of this, and it is very difficult as yet to see where the statistical trends of rainfall in the region are heading, but these will of course become apparent in time.”
Last month we launched a report showing global hotspots to climate induced food-insecurity, garnering significant media attention. Several weeks later, the authors noticed two errors in the calculations, and so we immediately took the report offline for corrections. We have issued an erratum that outlines the errors in the first version as well as in the press release. The errors are related to calcluation of population numbers, in one case the number of people at risk is underestimated, while in the other case the number of people most at risk is overestimated. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
Poor women and men in the Least Developed Countries (LDC) will most likely be differently vulnerable to climate change impacts, finds a study on gender and vulnerability to climate change in South Africa (PDF). This is because of existing inequalities between men and women, referring to their different positions and roles in society. It is also believed that access to financial and natural resources, could also potentially affect women and men's ability to respond to the effects of climate change. But despite the recognition that there are gender differences in how climate change affects and impacts lives, the UNDP has found that most climate funds for developing countries are not likely to reach or improve the lives of poor, rural women (80 percent of African farmers are women). Read more »
In order to adequately adapt agriculture to a changing climate, scientists need good estimates of how much food we can grow in a warming world. But many of the current crop-climate models are out of date and have significant information gaps. In a new commentary "Crop-climate models need an overhaul" in the July issue of Nature Climate Change, published online 19 June, 2011, researchers argue for an overhaul of crop-climate models. They point out that many current models do not incorporate the latest knowledge about how crops respond to a changing climate, nor do they represent modern crop varieties and management practices.The CGIAR Climate Program is changing this. Read more »
This entry was written by Philip Thornton, CCAFS Theme Leader.
The MarkSim GCM stochastic weather generator tool has just been updated. It now includes data from two additional climate models that were part of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Users can now choose from a total of six individual climate models, or they can select the average climatology of this ensemble of models, for generating daily data for future conditions. The climate models come from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway and Russia. Read more »
This article by Susan MacMillan was originally posted on the ILRI News blog
A new study out last week reveals future ‘hotspots’ of risk for hundreds of millions whose food problems are on a collision course with climate change. The scientists conducting the study warn that disaster looms for parts of Africa and all of India if chronic food insecurity converges with crop-wilting weather. They went on to say that Latin America is also vulnerable.
The red areas in the map above are food-insecure and intensively farmed regions that are highly exposed to a potential five per cent or greater reduction in the length of the growing season. Such a change over the next 40 years could significantly affect food yields and food access for 369 million people—many of them smallholder farmers—already living on the edge. This category includes almost all of India and significant parts of West Africa. While Latin America in general is viewed as having a ‘high capacity’ to cope with such shifts, there are millions of poor people living in this region who very dependent on local crop production to meet their nutritional needs (map credit: ILRI-CCAFS/Notenbaert). 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)