Research can arm farmers for the climate fight

The CGIAR Climate program trains farmers on the interpretation and application of seasonal rainfall forecasts. Photo: J. Hansen (CCAFS).

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.”

He states that "We need holistic ways to prevent famine - or at least the elements of famine that we have the power to stop. And for that, we need research into more sustainable and optimal use of land, water and grazing systems."

Le Page highlighted a number of solutions the CGIAR is currently developing, which will give farmers in poor parts of the world tools and information to better adapt to climate change. CGIAR efforts are helping to give farmers increased access to weather information; develop and deliver appropriate grazing and feeding strategies, as well as hardier animal breeds; improve soil management, water capture and storage technologies; and enhance agricultural extension and land use strategies.  Other solutions include  securing incomes through storage of yields, switching to more appropriate drought-resistant species of crops, and developing more tolerant varieties.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Theme 2 Adaptation through Managing Risks addresses the need for climate and weather information in order to successfully adapt to climate change. To read more about different types and formats of climate information that is currently being used in East and West Africa, please see our newly released working papers The State of Climate Information Services for Agriculture and Food Security in West African Countries and The State of Climate Information Services for Agriculture and Food Security in East African Countries. The studies assess current climate services, how much services are disseminated and applied by various regional and national actors. The papers also make recommendations on the kind of measures that could be taken in order to better satisfy climate information demands for agriculture and food security sector in the two regions.