by Lisen Stenberg and Vanessa Meadu
There is no one size fits all solution for climate change adaptation in agriculture. Because climate change will impact agriculture differently all over the world, and have different effects on different crops and farming systems, a wide range of adaptation options are necessary. These begin with relatively straightforward actions such as changing seed varieties and changing planting times, to adopting new methods or techniques, changing to a new crop altogether, and in extreme circumstances, ceasing to farm and moving to a new economic activity.
A new report from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) highlights opportunities and current initiatives for climate adaptation in agriculture, with a focus on Southeast Asia. The report, "Climate Change Adaptation for Smallholder Farmers in Southeast Asia" (PDF) notes that countries in tropical areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Moreover, Southeast Asia has a fast-growing population and is therefore increasingly dependent on agriculture and natural resources. The region has already been experiencing climate change induced phenomena, which enforces the need for adaptation measures.
African farmers, researchers and high-level politicians join to push climate-smart agriculture to the forefront at COP17 in Durban
“We must deliver the resources poor farmers need to sustain their lives,” said Honourable Professor Jumanne A. Maghembe, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture to a crowded room at the Africa Pavilion. He spoke to the opportunities and challenges of climate-smart agriculture for African farmers, one of the hottest, and sometimes contentious, issues at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Durban.
Prof. Maghembe was joined by Professor Tekalign Mamo, a State Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia, as well as the leaders of African farmers unions’ from Southern, Eastern and Western Africa; the common message was clear – negotiators at COP17 must put agriculture up front and centre. The UNFCCC has largely ignored agriculture, especially the adaptation benefits. Climate smart agriculture can help African farmers adapt to climate change and safeguard their food security and livelihoods, while enhancing their ecosystems and supporting mitigation.
In Africa, the biggest threat to poor farmers is the increase in unexpected extreme events that come with climate change. Prof. Maghembe described the vicious cycle of droughts and floods that are currently affecting areas of East Africa, killing livestock and destroying farms. “Where are the priorities for agriculture faced with these conditions?” he asked.
There are solutions Read more »
Blog post written jointly by Marta G. Rivera-Ferre, Marina di Masso, Mara Miele, and CCAFS.
Local traditional knowledge (LTK) is advocated by many international development and research institutes, as well as by local NGOs and grassroots civil society. When discussed within the climate change adaptation community, it is heralded as a crucial untapped knowledge source that may hold the key to sustainable adaptation to climate change. Yet organizations and scientific literature have been much more vague as to how to tap into these resources; whether they will remain relevant in the context of accelerating, unprecedented changes (in climate, economic structures, and demographics); and to what extent locally-produced and -tailored practices might be transferable/scalable to other areas.
To help answer these questions, CCAFS released an Open Call for research on the role of LTK in South Asian agriculture. A Spanish team, led by Dr. Marta Guadalupe Rivera-Ferre of the Center for Research on Agro-food Economics and Development (CREDA), was selected, and in conjunction with CCAFS, the researchers have begun exploring the nuances of LTK. In particular, the team has chosen to examine how LTK can manage risks of and adapt to projected climatic risks related to water (shortages and flooding). Read more »
One of the objectives of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is to bring together the research community to focus on addressing food security, and dealing with resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. To support this, CCAFS helped to set up the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, which is busy finalizing its recommendations for policy makers, which will be launched on 16 November.
Christine Negra, who coordinates the Commission, recently spoke to the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development about the need to transform the food system, highlighting achievements at the Global Science Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture in the Netherlands, and giving a sneak preview of the Commission's proposal.
Watch it here: Read more »
Selon le rapport de 2007 du Groupe intergouvernemental sur les changements climatiques (PDF), dans un monde plus chaud de 4C les rendements du blé pourraient diminuer de 60% ou augmenter de 40%. Comment la science peut elle gérer de tels niveaux d'incertitude de sorte à aider, plutôt qu’á paralyser, les prises de décisions politiques? Une partie de la réponse réside dans l'amélioration de l’estimation des incertitudes et des risques, comme sont en train de le faire actuellement des programmes scientifiques multidisciplinaires tels que EQUIP (à l'université de Leeds ). Une autre partie de la réponse se trouve dans une meilleure communication entre Science et Politique.
L’article de Nick Pidgeon et Baruch Fischhoff Le rôle des sciences sociales et de la décision dans la communication de l’incertitude liée aux risques climatiques, passe en revue la vaste série d’opinions sur la communication des risques climatiques pour se concentrer enfin sur celles qui à l’évidence fonctionnent. Les auteurs partagent largement les opinions exposées par le Rapport Stern sur l'économie du changement climatique, et les Académies Nationales, selon lesquelles nous devrions nous concentrer sur les risques, les coûts et les bénéfices de voies spécifiques d’action et non pas sur les persistantes incertitudes qui entourent les déterminants, les processus et les impacts climatiques. Plutôt que d’inviter à des délais infinis - le temps qu’on cherche à obtenir de plus grandes certitudes - cette orientation permettrait de favoriser la prise de décisions. Read more »
Wheat yields could drop by 60% or rise by 40% in a 4C warmer world, according to the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (PDF). How can science manage such huge levels of uncertainty, so as to assist rather than paralyze policy decisions? Part of the answer lies in improving how we estimate uncertainties and risks, as multi-disciplinary scientific programs like EQUIP (at the university of Leeds) are doing. Another part lies in better communication between science and policy.
The role of social and decision sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks, an article by Nick Pidgeon and Baruch Fischhoff, cuts through the swathe of opinions on communicating climate risks to the evidence on what works. The authors broadly condone the views of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and the National Academies, that we should focus on the risks, costs and benefits of specific pathways of action, rather than on the persistent uncertainties around climatic drivers, processes and impacts. This focus enables decisions, rather than inviting endless delays while we seek greater certainty. Read more »
There are many ways to describe Maurice Kwadha: farmer, entrepreneur, and climate-smart are some of them.
But some in Kombewa, in western Kenya’s Nyando Basin, used to call him a madman. Once, when he was collecting discarded milk packets at the local market, he was physically attacked by someone who thought he had lost his mind. But Maurice had a plan. And his small farm, with its burgeoning tree nursery, is the proof.
Standing in the afternoon sun at his farm in Kochiel village, he’s full of smiles. The day before he hosted a special event for World Food Day – which saw over 100 people, including the area’s provincial commissioner – take a tour of his farm. Even though Maurice has less than half-a-hectare of land, what he’s done with it is nothing short of inspiring, and is perhaps one of the best examples of climate-smart, sustainable, agricultural intensification in the region, if not the country. It’s little wonder it’s starting to get attention. Read more »
Guest Blog by Gabrielle Kissinger, Lexeme Consulting
Representatives from research institutions, NGOs, standards organizations, and food commodity roundtables met in San Diego, California in early September in the workshop The Role of Commodity Roundtables & Avoided Forest Conversion in Subnational REDD+ to discuss how we can increase global commodity production while at the same time sparing our carbon-rich forests and peatlands. The FAO predicts the need for a 70 percent increase in food production by 2050. Some researchers have pointed to the need to simply increase food production yields to meet that need, however others site examples of how increased yields make it more economically feasible for farmers to expand their operations further, to the detriment of forests and their carbon storage. Read more »
The future of food security and the need for farmers to adapt to a changing climate was recently discussed by CCAFS Theme Leader Gerald C. Nelson when he was interviewed by the National Public Radio (USA). Also participating in the radio program ‘Feeding a Hotter; More Crowded Planet’ was the President o the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) Lester Brown and the director of Oxfam America Gawain Kripke.
Gerald C. Nelson, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and leader of the CCAFS policy analysis research together with the other participants, discussed the challenges of keeping food supplies secure in the face of a changing climate and potential solutions. Since nearly one billion people worldwide don’t have reliable access to food, something climate change might increase, solutions are more than critical. Read more »
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 »
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)