by Cecilia Schubert
In a recently published Guardian article, readers got to see how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are assisting farmers in developing countries to access agricultural information and change their farming practices.
However, a new Working Paper, Delivery models for climate information in East and West Africa, from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) finds that, even if the use of agriculture information among smallholders is increasing, there is still a significant gap between receipt of information and the actual use of it.
And many farmers still find it difficult to access relevant information for their on-farm decisions. In other words, the mass-production of knowledge and its subsequent dissemination does not alone meet the needs of farmers.
So what is needed to get more farmers accessing and using available information? Read more »
by Catherine Mungai and Vivian Atakos
CCAFS East Africa in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) are leading initiatives aimed at including agriculture into climate change policy discussions at national, regional and international levels.
The initiatives include a series of consultative workshops bringing together climate change and agriculture experts, negotiators from government institutions, universities, research institutions, NGOs, civil society, farmer organizations and the private sector to develop a comprehensive strategy on including agriculture into climate change discussions and to articulate the African needs and aspirations on agriculture.
A workshop held from 13 to 15 February 2013, in Tanzania, brought together 19 delegates to review the outcome of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP 18) held in December 2012 and to prepare for the Bonn climate talks planned for June this year. Read more »
Herders in Northern Kenya who have lost their cattle due to the intensive drought are getting their first payments as part of an innovative insurance program known as Index Based Livestock Insurance or IBLI. This was reported by the International Livestock Research Institute who developed this insurance programme together with Cornell University and the Index Insurance Innovation Initiative program at the University of California at Davis. Read more »
For cassava, a root crop of South American origin that is grown across the tropics, substantial increases in rainfall—predicted for nearly half of the world's cassava growing area—are a primary cause for alarm. Zoom into a map of current climate constraints (water-logging stress) of cassava in South America.
This research comes from new studies on "climate proofing" key crops across the tropics by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which highlight how climate change will impact crops that are critical to food security in the developing world, and what adaptation strategies can help reduce these impacts. Read more »
For most crops, "plant breeding will probably be the cornerstone" of climate change adaptation, says Stephen Beebe, a scientist from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) who co-authored new studies on "climate proofing" key crops across the tropics. The studies by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) highlight how climate change will impact crops that are critical to food security in the developing world, and what adaptation strategies can help reduce these impacts. Read more »
For bananas and plantains, climate change may significantly alter both yields as well as vulnerability to diseases, which would affect the food security and incomes of millions of Africans and Latin Americans. The East African Highland Banana, for example, is a starchy staple for 80 million people in Africa alone. Zoom in to see area harvested (2009) for the East Africa highland banana.
The research comes from new studies on "climate proofing" key crops across the tropics. The studies by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) highlight how climate change will impact crops that are critical to food security in the developing world, and what adaptation strategies can help reduce these impacts.
Scientists report that the potato, a dietary staple for millions of people around the world, is especially vulnerable to heat stress which reduces growth and starch formation. See a map of current climate constraints for potatoes worldwide. Rising temperatures in southern Africa and tropical highlands worldwide could be particularly hazardous.
One concern is that climate change could drive the spread of the destructive potato tuber moth northward and to higher elevations. However, some positive effects are also expected in some regions where drier and warmer summers will likely decrease the incidence of potato's worst disease—late blight, which caused Ireland's potato famine in the 19th century. View a map of current climate constraints of Potatoes in India, Asia and the Himalayas. Read more »
In a recent opinion piece, Lloyd Le Page, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium, draws attention to the drought in East Africa, and how agricultural research can help prevent a similar crisis in the future:
“Focusing our efforts on long-term solutions via research and innovation would not only enhance our understanding of extreme weather events like drought, but also provide vital knowledge and technologies that farmers, herders, aid workers and policymakers can use to inform decisions on how to cope with them.”
Guest blog by Lini Wollenberg, Theme Leader for theme 'Pro-poor Climate Change Mitigation' and Chase Sova, visiting researcher on 'Adaptive Capacity under Progressive Climate Change', CCAFS.
Representatives from government agencies, research institutes, development organizations and civil society came together in June and July to discuss the current status of climate change policy in agriculture and identify research priorities in each of four countries: Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Ethiopia. CCAFS organized the national workshops respectively with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Mali, the Tegemeo Institute in Kenya and the Climate Change Forum in Ethiopia. Read more »
In this newly released video interview, made by Francesco Fiondella at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), CCAFS theme leader James Hansen discusses the causes of the current drought plaguing the Horn of Africa. He points out that even if the lack of rain is a root cause of the crisis, it is still only one of many factors that has lead to the ongoing drought. Other factors are on a more long term basis, such as poverty, which leads to vulnerability to climatic shocks and population growth, where many depend on rainfed agriculture for their livelihoods. The environmental issues plaguing the area namely water and soil degradation also exacerbate the situation further. 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)