By Fatimata Kane and Arame Tall
“Before, our rainy seasons were longer. We were able to predict weather and seasonal changes by observing animal behavior in their natural habitats,” Paul Thiaw, a local Senegalese farmer, told researchers at a recent workshop on climate services. “With habitat loss and biodiversity decline, we have simply lost some valuable climate pattern indicators,” he stressed while adding, “this is where we can benefit from climate service expertise.”
Farmers are constantly facing new environmental challenges, which are threatening food production in some of the poorest regions of the world. One way to reduce vulnerability is through implementing and working with climate services that are relevant for smallholder farmers. Read more »
by Dr. Arame Tall
Farmers across the developing world are in dire need of relevant climate services. Not only do they need climate services to advise them on when to sow, harvest, and expect rains, but also to help them plan beyond the season. In other words, farmers need information to plan for a food secure future.
But how can we build an effective system that puts important forecast information about climate in the hands of vulnerable communities, especially marginalized farmers and women, often located in remote area? One initial step is to get all the stakeholders involved in the chain of production and communication of climate services in one room, and get them to talk for three days. Read more »
By Arame Tall
Progressive women farmers from the village of Amtrar, in Northern India, nested at the foothills of the Himalayas, wave us goodbye as we finish our day-long discussion with them to capture their assessment of the reach and practical usefulness of receiving agro-meteorological advisories for their livelihoods and farming decisions.
Since June 18, 2012, a field team from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has been on a mission across the five corners of India to interview farmers. This in an attempt to document their perspectives on the added-value of climate services for agricultural decision-making. Through India Meteorology Department (IMD)’s national Agro-meteorological Advisory Service (AAS) program, farmers across the country have been receiving, for a number of years, weather-based, crop-focused agro-meteorological advisories. These provide practical advice on when to planting, irrigation, what pesticide and fertilizer to use at the correct timing as well as other relevant agricultural support services. The data have been based on a five day short-range weather forecast, produced by the India Meteorology Department. Read more »
edited by Cecilia Schubert. This story features the work of Arame Tall, who is currently participating in the 6th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA6) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In an effort to understand how men and women adapt to climate variability and change to maintain food security, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) initiated a small gender grants program last year. The selected female grant recipients are now performing research in a vast variety of areas, on topics that relate to the linkages between gender and climate change. The idea was to bring forward gender-responsive research within CCAFS priority areas, while at the same time build research capacity among women scientists and increase their representation in agricultural research. All recipients therefore perform their research in one of the program benchmark sites - East Africa, West Africa or South Asia. Read more »
By Lisen Stenberg
Agricultural production depends heavily on the climate, particularly in developing countries where rainfed agriculture is predominant. Therefore, information about changing environmental conditions is essential for any decision-maker in agriculture. When information is lacking, farmers have limited capacity to prepare for extreme events such as floodings and drought. When faced with uncertainty, there is a risk that farmers favor precautionary actions that protect them from the effects of environmental extremes, rather than making important investments in technology that could raise their productivity and income in the longer-term. Read more »
Last year in villages across Mali, some farmers harvested bumper crops of millet, sorghum and maize, while their neighbours struggled to produce a high-enough yield to feed their families. Yet they all faced the same dry spells, high temperatures and unpredictable rains.
So what caused such dramatic difference between these two groups? The first group of farmers was not simply lucky. Rather they were reaping the benefits of having had access to weather information and weather-based farm management advisories, thanks to an innovative programme set up by the Mali government in an effort to stave off hunger. Read more »
With the UN Climate Conference in Durban just around the corner, the idea that agriculture plays an enormous role in climate change adaptation and mitigation is gaining momentum. Next week, the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change will publish its recommendations for policy makers on what changes and actions are needed to help the world achieve food security in the face of climate change. Commission coordinator Christine Negra recently spoke on camera about changing the game for the food system in the face of climate change”.
In the light of this, different media channels are also focusing their attention on agriculture. Alertnet recently asked “Is there enough food for a world of 7 billion?” reviewing food security in a world with increasing population and weather related disasters. In the article, CGIAR Climate Director Bruce Campbell discusses how to improve farmer’s yields while at the same time adapting to climate change. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
Newly released results of household baseline survey in Lower Nyando, Kenya shows that changes in climatic conditions in the last ten years have led to subsequent changes in farming practices. The survey, done for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) was conducted by a research team from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and local partners. The survey revealed that families in the area struggle to stay food secure throughout the year. For one to two months every year many households do not get enough food, with some families enduring food insecurity for up to four months. Read more »
Guest blog by Ousmane Ndiaye, Senegal National Meteorological Agency.
It was a hot June day in Kaffrine, Senegal. As usual at this time of the year all eyes were looking toward the sky, expecting a good rainy season in a country where more than 80% of the activities rely on rainfall. Farmers were still wondering when the first rain would occur, and whether the rainy season would be able to sustain their crops. As climate grows increasingly unpredictable, seasonal forecasts will be essential to help farmers plan and reduce the impacts of weather variability. As part of ongoing work on managing climate risk, researchers from the CGIAR Climate program (CCAFS), have joined with climatologists, NGO workers, and agricultural advisers to take on the challenge of empowering farmers to better understand and use probabilistic seasonal climate information. 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)