By Bruce Campbell
Farmers have been at the forefront of changes and “shocks” since time immemorial, so are well placed to counter climate change. However, “coping” is insufficient if food security is to be achieved. Farmers need to know what kind of season is coming, and thus what and when to plant. They need to know about the outbreak of new pests and diseases. On the longer term, they need to know whether a shift in crop species or different farming strategies are needed. A cornerstone of active adaptation is information availability: varieties to grow, diversification options, seasonal climate forecasts, flood and cyclone warnings, pest and disease outbreaks, market options.
By An Notenbaert and Stanley Karanja Ng'ang'a
At a household level, a number of factors influence the nature and degree of people’s vulnerability to the climate change. A new study by CCAFS amongst agro-pastoralist households in Mozambique has analyzed a variety of indicators normally used in vulnerability assessments to measure the influence of these vulnerability variables on coping capacity within a changing climate. The study gives us more certainty about the influence that some of these variables have on coping capacity. For instance, income diversification, increasing access to infrastructure and saving, seemed to promote adaptation and are also widely applicable.
By Catherine Mungai, Maren Radeny and Caity Peterson
Fifty-five year old Rosalia Shemdoe feels empowered. She lives and works in Yamba village in the Lushoto district of northern Tanzania, but she just got back from what could be the longest journey she’s ever taken – one that ended in Mbinga, a district over 1,000 km away.
Rosalia, a single mother to six and grandmother to five, has been having a difficult time providing food and income for her family, a problem she attributes to unpredictable weather patterns and reduced productivity of her land. Her problem is urgent – how to provide food for her family in the days to come? – but she knows that thinking long-term is important too if her farm is to continue to support her and her family in the coming decades. Imagining such a future is no easy task, however. Talks and presentations, scientific data, and complicated maps and figures are all just about as much use as a crystal ball to a practical farmer with concrete questions. Rosalia needs to see what the scientists are talking about. Maybe then she can devise a way to prepare for the changes in store.
Variations in rainfall, temperature and extreme events brought about by climate change will not affect women and men in the same way. In most cases, the reasons for the different experiences are not due to physical differences, but due to gender differences. Gender refers to the roles that societies ascribe to men and women, determining what activities and responsibilities are appropriate for each sex. The majority of societies in the world are patriarchal, meaning that men are at the forefront of decision-making and hold the bulk of power. Read more »
This is a repost of Nathan Russell's post on the Agriculture for Rural Development Day blog. The blog post summarizes a substantive reply from Dr. Bruce Campbell, director of CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) directed to the post 'Climate-Smart Agriculture - Yes, we can! by Jeffrey Brez of IFAD.
The point that climate-smart agriculture builds on what we “already know how to do” is well taken. But it could come across as a potentially dangerous endorsement of the status quo. On the contrary, climate-smart agriculture must add to current knowledge and resources in various ways.
So why is “climate-smart agriculture” additional to business as usual? 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 »
“Now we are washer women, sanitary workers, wage labourers and house keepers.”
– Female farmers
The FAO recently published its report on the gender differences in adaptive capacity to climate change, according to on-the-ground surveys in India. As the introduction explains, "Gender is one of numerous important socio-cultural dimensions typically included in climate change vulnerability assessments but it is rarely incorporated in adaptation research and planning.
This research tests the hypothesis that due to gender roles (the behaviours, tasks, and responsibilities a society defines as “male” or “female”) and due also to differential gendered access to resources, men and women experience climate variability differently and cope in diverse ways with climate variability and changing climate patterns." Read more »
Beginning in October, CCAFS partner Bioversity International will give farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) access to different seeds and allow them to freely experiment. The researchers will then track the results and facilitate inter-farmer exchanges of information and experiences, creating a new network of agricultural knowledge.
The Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) region, formed by the fluvial action of the Indus and Ganges River systems, is one of the world’s most important food grain producing regions. Its 13.5 million hectares of farmland account for over 30% of the rice and 42% of the wheat grown in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal; 15% of global wheat production; and, most impressively, 21% of the food stock worldwide. The region also supports some of the most densely populated areas on earth, with more than 300 million people dependent on the predominant rice-wheat cropping system.
Hence, IGP is a socially significant and economically strategic domain of India; however it is also environmentally sensitive, and its landscape, hydrology and fertility are increasingly being threatened by climate warming and anthropogenic pressure. Future climate scenarios suggest that, by 2050, as much as 51% of the IGP region might be reclassified as a heat-stressed, irrigated, short-season production mega-environment. 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)