Agricultural Adaptation Through Local Participation

by Caitlin Corner-Dolloff, Oxford ECI

Farmers, researchers, and government officials alike recognize that adaptation to climate change must take place now. But how can this be done most effectively? It was clear from the ARDD learning event on lessons from the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA) program, funded by the Canada’s IDRC and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), that one of the biggest challenges is the need for climate change adaptation solutions to be context specific. A one size fits all approach to policy will not work. This has led many researchers, practitioners and funders to focus on local participatory approaches to adaptation planning and building adaptive capacity.

Why is local participation so important? Continue reading

Climate-Smart Smallholder Products: A New Product Label ?

by Jeff Brez, IFAD.
At Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) at COP 17 in Durban, IFAD teamed up with Cafédirect and Fairtrade Africa to offer a learning event on “Getting Climate-Smart Smallholder Products to Market.” The case study was based on an IFAD public private partnership in São Tomé and Principe with the Government, communities, Cafédirect and other private sector companies. Read more about the project, the objectives of the event, the moderator and speakers.
The two main questions posed by moderator extraordinaire Matthew Wyatt of DFID, were simple. Can smallholders offer climate-smart products? Will consumers pay for them? He led a lively and focused discussion – thanks Matthew!

How to Build the Resilience of African Smallholder Farmers in a Changing Climate

Reposted from Farming First blog. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

African smallholder farmers are in the eye of the climate change storm. Increased flooding and droughts have seen crop yields diminish as many farmers struggle to support their own livelihoods. With over 70 percent of the continent’s populations dependent on agriculture, this is a problem which cannot be ignored. While Africa contributes less than 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it stands on the frontline of the economic and social consequences of climate change. Continue reading

Making Climate Smart Agriculture Happen

Originally posted on the FAO Climate blog. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

FAO led a learning event looking at what tools and policies are required to bring food security, adaptation and mitigation together at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day taking place in Durban, South Africa on the sidelines of UN climate change talks COP17 .

The impact of best practices were shared among some 60 participants attending the session looking at several examples: Continue reading

Adapt or Die, Say Small Farmers

by Caitlin Corner-Dolloff, Oxford ECI. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

Adapt or die is a resonating reality that is coming out of Agriculture and Rural Development Day and many of the COP17 side events. Farmers, especially subsistence farmers in Africa, have already started adapting. A coordinated effort on adaptation initiatives is needed. The challenge then is figuring out what information is needed to make adaptation decisions. This inevitably provokes the questions of whose knowledge in included and whose perspectives are predominant.

A number of organizations, including AFPAT, CTA, and IPACC, are voicing the imperative need to combine Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with atmospheric science, especially in the case of pastoralists facing climate change. Mosses Ndiyaine, a Maasai pastoralist from Tanzania, spoke about how his community utilizes knowledge about their local environment to predict when the rain will come. He pointed out the use of changes in visible star patterns, behavioral cues from goats, and monitoring the flowering patterns of specific local trees as indicators of coming rains. For pastoralists this means when they decided to move. Continue reading

Who knows what about climate change?

Bringing rural farmers and herders to bring them into the scientific fold. Photo: ILRI/ Dave Elsworth

by Jeremy Cherfas, Bioversity International

Climate science is of great value to pastoralists; they can use it to avoid and manage risks. And long before there were climate scientists, pastoralists were making use of what they knew to decide when to move and to where. What can scientists learn from traditional knowledge? And how might pastoralists benefit from climate science?

“Often our traditional knowledge is ignored,” Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim told the audience at a Learning Event on the integration of traditional knowledge with atmospheric science during Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011. Continue reading

What will the African Agriculture Revolution look like?

by Michael Victor, CPWF

Africa is going through its own agriculture revolution. According to studies from the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, Africa can produce 3-4 times more food through improved agriculture water management practices.

The learning event on “How can rainwater management help support smallholder farmers’ ability to adapt to climate variability and change?” explored how rainwater management strategies have the potential to boost agriculture production across the board in Africa and improve livelihoods. Continue reading

Evergreen agriculture can Build Resilience and Increase Food Security in the Face of Climate Change

Improving the adoptability of promising agroforestry. A project staff member at the Machakos research center compares a maize plant’s roots with that of Grevillea. They are held at a corresponding point to soil level when planted. Photo by Sahar Nimeh ©IFAD

by Paul Stapleton, World Agroforestry Centre

How do we raise awareness of the potential for evergreen agriculture (EA) as an approach to improve livelihoods, adaptation and mitigation in the tropics, and its successful expansion in Africa? This was the theme of a learning event organized by the World Agroforestry Centre, IFAD, UNEP and the African Development Bank, at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day held in Durban in association with COP17 of the UNFCCC. Continue reading