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Mercoledì, 19 Agosto 2015 02:00

Climate change and farmers in Mali

Mali is an agricultural country in Western Africa. Its inhabitants increasingly experience the consequences of climate change. We encourage you to see a series of short videos in which farmers from Mali speak about their situation and various climate change adaptation strategies they adopt.

Tidiane Diarra, a young farmer from the Bouwèrè village, cultivates millet, sorghum, sesame and cowpeas. In the video he describes how the rainfall patterns in the region changed in the recent years and how this situation forced local farmers to turn to faster growing crop varieties. What helped farmers in the area to adapt to the changes was setting up a weather station in the village. As a result, they can better monitor and forecast rainfalls. Tidiane underlines also the importance of training for farmers which provides them with the appropriate knowledge and skills needed for the adaptation to the consequences of climate change. Farmers must learn, for example, about different seed varieties which are better suited to new conditions. Watch the video here.

Arouna Bayoko works for the non-governmental organization called AMEDD, which cooperates with local groups of farmers in Mali. In the video he describes how the organization helps local farmers adapt to climate change by testing and disseminating among them seed varieties more suitable for the new climate conditions. Together with farmers they also try to reduce deforestation through better regulated use of trees for firewood. Watch the video here.

Mahamane Diallo is a cattle farmer from the Bouwèrè village. In the video he describes how the increasing problems with rains reduce the grazing area and consequently local farmers are forced to change the feeding habits of their herds and to reduce their numbers. Nowadays, their cattle is allowed to feed also on the crop fields after the harvest and in the dry season they are fed mainly with stover. A big part of the herds is taken for grazing to neighbouring countries. In order to compensate at least partly for the losses of cattle, the villagers started to use water holes as fish ponds which gives them an additional source of food and income. Watch the video here.

Amadou Fane is both a farmer and a blacksmith in the Bouwéré village. In the video he explains how the changing environmental conditions forced him to adopt new farming methods. Among other things he started using manure and built a special seeder to utilize micro-dosing technique on his farm. This helped him optimize the use of fertilizers and increase yields. The seeder and other new agricultural techniques were needed because in the recent years there were big negative changes in soil fertility and farm output in the area. Watch the video here.

Bougouna Sogoba is the director of the local non-governmental organization AMEDD which promotes sustainable development in Mali. In the video he explains how his organization works to connect farmers with the outcomes of the research aimed at the improvement of food security. AMEDD tries to disseminate the use of suitable seed varieties as a means of the adaptation to climate change. Farmers in Mali are especially affected by the changes in the rainfall patterns, which have negative impact on yields and could lead to famine. One of the goals of AMEDD activities is facilitating local farmers' access to needed technologies and markets and enabling easier exchange of knowledge and information among them. Watch the video here.

The last video presents the work of the research station in the Cinzana village. Its staff selects different local varieties of cultivated crops, study them and afterwards gives them to farmers so that they could test their adaptability, productivity and resistance to various diseases and pests. The station also organizes trainings for farmers in micro-dosing of fertilizers. Watch the video here.

Source: CCAFS

Photo credit: Dominic Chavez / World Bank (Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Giovedì, 06 Agosto 2015 02:00

Drought-resistant agriculture

Food production is not possible without water. But in the increasing number of places one of the main consequences of climate change is less and more erratic rainfall. This is especially dangerous in the regions with very low food security where most food is produced on rain-dependent farms.

The impact of climate change will be felt the most by the poor inhabitants of rural areas. For this reason they will require cheap and accessible strategies allowing to adapt to increasingly unpredictable and volatile weather. This adaptation to changing climate will have to take into account not only the impeded access to water and more droughts, but also the increased risk of extreme weather events like floods.

One important way for small-scale farmers to adapt to the changing climate is by implementing on their farms more sustainable practices. Through this agriculture can become more drought-resistant and more resilient to other dangerous weather conditions, meaning that it can build the capacity to deal with the changes and recover from the crises caused by them. Central to these ecological approaches are most of all biodiversity and healthy soils. Practices that improve the ability of soils to hold moisture and reduce its erosion as well as increase biodiversity on farms help in making agricultural production and farmers' income more stable and resilient.

Building a healthy soil is crucial in aiding farms cope with the increased occurrence of droughts. There are numerous proven practices already available to farmers which can help them in improving the state of soils. Using cover plants and crop residues to protect soils from wind and water erosion; legume inter-crops as well as manure and compost use to increase organic matter; enhancing soil structure - these are all ways to increase water infiltration, water storage and accessibility of nutrients to plants.

In order to feed the world and guarantee agriculture's resilience it is essential to increase productivity of the rain-fed areas where poor farmers should implement the current know-how on soil protection and water conservation. Ecological farms that turn to biodiversity and knowledge rather than intensive use of agrochemicals might be the best solution in the context of drier and more unstable climate.

In addition to ecological farming methods mentioned earlier, what is needed are also crop varieties which can produce enough yield even in the increasingly dry conditions. Many new drought-resistant seed varieties are being developed using advanced methods in conventional plant breeding without the need of genetic engineering. There are examples of drought-resistant varieties of soybean, maize, wheat and rice that farmers could take advantage of already right now.

Furthermore, it turns out that genetic engineering is not a well suited technology to develop drought-resistant seeds. Plants' tolerance of dry conditions is a complex trait which often involves the interaction of many genes and thus is beyond the capability of the technology based on high expression of few well-characterized genes. For now there is no evidence that genetically modified crops could play a role in improving food security in the situation of changing climate.

You can learn more about the importance of ecological farming methods in the context of climate change in the report published by Greenpeace which is available here (click to download PDF file).

Source: Greenpeace

Photo credit: Danilo Pinzon / World Bank (Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

We continue the presentation of short videos about the attempts to adapt to the changing climate undertaken by small-scale farmers in the global South countries. This time we pay a visit to farmers in Burkina Faso in Western Africa.

The first video tells the story of Helene Nana, a female farmer from the Yatenga Province. She describes how the local climate has changed in the last 20 years and how it has impacted the crop yields. Local farmers are forced to adapt to the new conditions. Helen decided to complement her not enough rainy season's harvest with the additional cultivation of various vegetables. As a result she has now sufficient income to send her children to school and provide them with medical care. Since the vegetable cultivation requires adequate watering, Helene took a micro-loan in order to install a small pump which enables her to get water from the nearby dam. Currently, more than 100 women in the area started vegetable gardens and consequently the local communities have work as well as food and income source also during the dry season. Watch the video here.

Ganame Ousseni is a farmer from Ninguni village. He cultivates 9 ha of land and have 20 cows. In the video he explains how in the last decades the local environment has changed. He describes also how the climate change forces local farmers to transform their agricultural practices by undertaking at the same time land cultivation and cattle farming. Watch the video here.

Hermann Togo from Ouahigouya in the Yatenga province works for a local farmer association where he provides advisory services for family farms. In the video he explains how the association responds to the needs of local farmers and helps them adapt to the changing climate. One of the methods used by the association is running a radio station for farmers. It is called "La Voix du Paysan" ("The farmer's voice") and serves as a communication tool which allows farmers to quickly disseminate over a large area various information, for example related to weather, new farming techniques etc. The activities of the association aimed at diversification of production and boosting yields have helped to increase income and improve the quality of life of many local farmer families. Watch the video here.

Ganame Adama is a farmer living in Ninigui village. In the video he describes how he managed to successfully adapt to the changes in the rainfall patterns and is able to feed his family. He achieved that by using more sustainable farming techniques, protecting the trees on his land and optimizing the use of water by building, for example, small stone dams. He explains that along with the changing climate also farmers need to change. They can not just sit back and wait until someone else tells them what to do or does their work for them. Watch the video here.

Source: CCAFS

Photo credit: Dominic Chavez / World Bank (Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lunedì, 20 Luglio 2015 02:00

Adapting agriculture to climate change

Farmers around the world must deal with consequences of the changing climate for food production. Available data and models suggest that in the foreseeable future climate change can not be avoided. This means that farmers - especially in the global South countries - will be forced to implement various adaptation strategies as fast and as cheaply as possible. The aim is to adapt to the new environmental conditions in a way that will allow farmers to continue to produce food at the needed level.

The issue of feeding the world in the context of climate change is often perceived as solely a technological challenge. It is argued that crop yields can increase enough if farmers receive new and improved seeds resistant to unfavorable weather conditions or if they use more fertilizers. However, numerous scientists researching the connections between climate change, agriculture and food security point out that in reality farms can become more resilient to climate change by using various uncomplicated adaptation strategies and practices.

A good example is increasing the content of organic matter in soil which helps store more water in it. By adopting this simple method farmers can become more prepared for the prolonged dry periods.

The info-graphic below presents a number of strategies for climate change adaptation which are considered crucial especially from the point of view of farmers in the global South countries. More diverse production on farms, cultivation of crop varieties better suited to new climate conditions, easier access to weather information, agroforestry, improved water management and implementation of more sustainable agricultural techniques are just some of the methods which can help to make food production more resilient to the consequences of climate change.

Click the info-graphic to enlarge and learn more:


Source: CCAFS

Venerdì, 26 Giugno 2015 02:00

Alternative food systems: food cooperatives

During ClimATE Change project events organized by PGN, the participants from Polish cities often want to know how they can support the environment- and climate-friendly agriculture in their everyday life. One of the directions we usually point them to is building alternative food systems based on local and more sustainable food production and consumption. In one of the recent articles we wrote about community supported agriculture. Today we take a closer look at food cooperatives.

Why food cooperatives?

Imagine a city in which small food cooperatives operate in every district or even in each neighbourhood. They organize group food purchases but also animate local community life. Anyone can become their member. They serve as a platform for intergenerational and social cooperation, a school of direct democracy and resourcefulness. Food bought through them is fresh, organic and affordable. This is the vision which inspires the fledgling food cooperatives movement in Poland.

Food coops usually operate informally and not for profit. This differentiates them from other more typical agricultural cooperatives. Despite the fact that group food purchases constitute the main part of their activity, their goal is to initiate a type of a social change. This is why starting a food cooperative can be seen as having the socio-political meaning.

The operational logic of food coops is entirely different from typical business initiatives. It is not about generating profit but creating opportunities for people to satisfy their everyday food needs in a way that contributes to building more just and sustainable world. Cooperatives strive to shorten the distance between consumers and farmers by eliminating unnecessary intermediaries and base their activity on the mutual respect between all participating parties.

Working together

Theoretically, anyone can start a food cooperative and shape it according to the needs and organizational capacity of its members. But food coops are based on the idea that one never acts alone, thus they always entail building a community. Only the common effort of all members guarantees the initiative's success. Carrying out different tasks brings the group together and successes give more joy if they can be shared with others. Even though cooperatives usually start with practical challenges, they achieve a lot more by building relationships between their members. Being in a community is also a chance to create new projects. The experience shows that food coops often lead to other similar initiatives such as community supported agriculture.

How does it work?

Food cooperatives have various ways of operating. Usually, food purchases are made during one chosen day once a week or every two weeks. In the morning, designated people go to buy food products which were earlier ordered by the coop members. The orders are most often made using web-based ordering system. After the shopping is finished, the food is brought to the meeting place of the cooperative, where it is weighed and packed for each member. At the agreed time, the members arrive to pay and receive their orders. Sometimes the payment might include extra 10% for the coop's common fund. This money can be used, for example, to buy necessary equipment (such as scales) or to finance the purchases for cooperative members who might be temporarily in need.

During the shopping day, cooperatives often have also the organizational meeting for their participants. This is the time to evaluate the current round of purchases, plan the next one and decide together about possible improvements of the whole process. In cooperatives all members are equal, there are no bosses, and everyone can express their opinion. At the end of the day, designated members clean the room where the food was distributed.

Until the next shopping round the cooperative participants usually communicate with each other only through Internet. Some of the members work additionally in various task groups. In one of the cooperatives in Warsaw, for example, there is a group whose task is to find new suppliers and another one which deals with the issues connected to the web-based ordering system. Sometimes cooperatives organize also various cultural events.

Organic or cheap?

Access to certified organic food in Poland is not a big problem anymore. However, taking into account the price of products sold in organic shops, organic food is still not affordable on the regular basis for the majority of the Polish society. The solution to this problem is still to be found and constitutes also the biggest challenge for the food cooperatives movement in Poland. Creating a way to supply city inhabitants with affordable healthy food might be a key element to making food cooperatives a practical and functioning model.

At the moment, there are still too few organic farmers in Poland willing to engage in this type of pilot and, for now, not very profitable initiatives. Those producers who are ready usually offer relatively high prices. It is understandable as the price must reflect high production cost and include a fair remuneration for hard work on farms. Food coops do not want to pressure farmers to sell their produce at cost. Food prices should be fair but at the same time acceptable to less affluent consumers. This could be achieved by increasing the size of purchases, which means going in the direction of the wholesale buying. This requires, however, greater number of ordering parties, which means building bigger cooperatives or creating networks of coops operating in one district or city and making purchases together.

Organizational challenges

The very first food cooperative in Poland was started a few years ago in Warsaw. Soon it was followed by groups in other cities. Currently, there are food coops operating also in Krakow, Łódź, Gdańsk, Poznań, Lublin, Białystok and other places.

Food cooperatives face many organizational challenges. On one hand, they want to work in the democratic manner, but at the same time they need to make sure that the responsibility for carrying out various tasks does not become diluted. What is the best way to take decisions? Through voting or by trying to reach a consensus? If a coop chooses the latter, how can it make sure that everyone is able to voice their opinions? There is also the issue of members' commitment. How to make sure that the workload in a cooperative is divided more less equally? Even the biggest enthusiasm can quickly fade away when the whole work is carried out by just a few people.

The future

Food cooperatives are still a relatively new phenomenon in Poland and thus have not lost their novelty appeal. Moreover, people can engage in them without any specialist knowledge or skills. The interest in the food coops movement in Poland is undoubtedly growing so the are good prospects of its further development.

The above article was written on the basis of the excerpt from the action guide "Time for change. Choose locality! How to support environment- and people-friendly agriculture?" published in Polish by PGN.

Photo credit: Meagan Perosha / USDA (Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Patrick Whitefield is one of the leading permaculture teachers in the UK. He has written three books on permaculture: "Permaculture in a Nutshell", "How to Make a Forest Garden" and "The Earth Care Manual". His latest book is "The Living Landscape: How to Read and Understand It", a subject especially close to his heart. He also practices as a design consultant. The interview was conducted by Marcin Gerwin.

Marcin Gerwin: With temperatures rising and changing weather patterns, agriculture will most certainly feel the effects of climate change. Do you think permaculture has the potential to help farmers to deal with the changing climate?

Patrick Whitefield: One specific way in which permaculture can tackle climate change is through diversity, which we emphasize. In terms of trees, one of the big problems with planting trees is that we don't know what the climate will be when those trees mature. So if we plant a large variety of trees, lots of different kinds — some of which are suited to hotter or cooler climates — then hopefully we'll get the ones that will survive and be still thriving in 50 or 100 years. The ones which don't thrive can be taken out as thinning.

In terms of the short-lived plants, vegetables, cereals, and so forth, I think that planting mixtures is important, because one of the main effects of climate change is not so much steady increase in temperature but an increase in extremes — of drought, of flood, of hot or of cold. For example, in cereals it is probably worthwhile to sow a mixture of varieties in the field. So in a dry year one variety will do well, in a wet year another variety will do well.

Are the techniques that are used in permaculture for soil management useful in this regard as well?

With the management of the soil there is always a tension between long-term health of the soil and short-term management needs. When people plow the soil or dig the soil it is usually to gain some immediate benefit. But the long-term effect is usually detrimental in terms of soil fertility, particularly in terms of humus content. One of the main principles of permaculture is that we try to avoid digging or plowing — we try to leave the soil as undisturbed as possible. This allows for a long-term buildup of humus, of soil structure and beneficial soil organisms. This will give a much more resilient soil, a soil which is much more capable of withstanding the extremes of weather.

It works both ways — humus, which is stored in the soil, is actually carbon which is taken out of the atmosphere. Someone has even calculated that if everyone in the world were to stop plowing and digging immediately, the change would be big enough to control global warming, because that much more carbon would be taken out of the atmosphere. I don't know whether that is true or not. What I would say is that four times as much carbon is stored in the Earth's soil as all the living plants and animals. People talk about planting trees to mitigate global warming, but it is the wrong idea. The most important thing we can do is to stop disturbing the soil.

Is it possible to practice no-digging on a large scale farm? Or is it something that people can do only in their backyard gardens?

Yes, it is. In my book "The Earth Care Manual" I give some detail of a method called bi-cropping where we have a perennial sward of white clover at ground level and then we grow cereals or other crops through that permanent cover. There is special cultivation equipment to help with that. That is one particular method which I think is quite well suited to the British climate, but probably less so to drier climates, because you have rather a lot of competition for water between the clover and the cereals. That is an example of something that could be done at any scale. You can have a farm that has a thousand hectares where you are using that method.

I saw a very interesting video recently on the internet of a North American farmer who was managing three thousand acres. He was doing it conventionally, and although he wasn't an organic farmer, he was doing away with plowing. And the effect on his soil was amazing – you could really see the buildup in organic matter. I was really impressed by that. This was not from one of the usual people you would expect — someone who has been doing it organically for years or who was well known in the permaculture circuit. This was a mainstream farmer working on a very large scale. And he was doing more or less the same thing with the soil that we would do in permaculture.

One of the possible effects of climate change is increased occurrence of droughts and floods. Is there something that could be done to reduce their impact by using permaculture design?

The thing about flooding is that nothing can really be done on the scale of the individual farm or even individual small district. It has to be done on the scale of the whole river catchment – from the top to the sea. What we must do is to hold more water in the upper reaches of the river, up in the hills. There is also to some extent a tension between water and food production. Most farmers want to get excess water off their land quickly. But in those higher reaches, where we need to store water, the potential for food production is relatively low (most of it is animal production). So the most important output of these areas may be in terms of water storage rather than in terms of food production. When they go out of food production it won't make very big difference compared to the more fertile, low-lying flat areas further downstream — the ones that suffer from flooding. This is something that can only be done on the political level.

In permaculture we tend to emphasize those things which can be done on the level of individual, the family, or the community, but there will always remain some things which can only be done on the political level.

And what about droughts?

Windbreaks are one important thing because the wind dries out the land, it dries out the plant. It increases the amount of water that the plants need in order to produce. Also keeping the soil covered – using mulches. But mulches are only practical on fairly small scale.

What would you suggest for a large scale farms then? A vegetable farm for example?

It is more difficult. On a large scale the only way to keep the soil covered really is to have living plants covering it. And living plants use water. The most important thing to protect ourselves from droughts is again to have diversity in what we sow and what we plant. If you grow a mixture of plants — the ones that yield best under ideal conditions and the drought-tolerant ones — then you know that you will get a crop every year.

I think we need a certain change in mentality. The attitude of farmers is to go for maximum every time. So very often the aim of the farming system is to get the maximum yield. And in order to get maximum yield you need ideal conditions. We've been used to a climate which is remarkably stable, but this may not be a case in the future. So we need to move away from the idea of always going to the maximum, but to go for a stability of yield — in other words to know that every year we will harvest something, rather than hope that this year we will harvest the maximum.

Some people recommend the use of biochar — a charcoal as a soil amendment — to improve soil fertility and to help mitigate climate change because it means taking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it in the soil. What is your opinion about this? Would you recommend it as well?

We are at the very beginning of understanding how biochar works. Of the many trials which have been done with it as many have been unsuccessful as successful. One thing which is emerging is that it seems you need to mix it with compost before applying it for it to really work. If it can work reliably it will certainly be worthwhile, both for farmers and for climate change.

The interview was first published by Polish Green Network on its website

Photo credit: London Permaculture (Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Notes from the lecture delivered by Dione Caruana from the MCAST Agribusiness Institute during free course for farmers held in Malta on the 14th of April 2015, as part of the ClimATE Change project.

To download it, click on the link on your left.

Martedì, 02 Giugno 2015 02:00

Reducing water demand – Irrigation methods

One of the presentations used by Daniel Grech from the MCAST Agribusiness Institute during free course for farmers held in Malta on the 23rd of April 2015, as part of the ClimATE Change project.

To download it, click on the link on your left.

One of the ways to mitigate the negative impact of agriculture on climate, which PGN tries to promote through our campaign, is building alternative food systems based on sustainable local food production, distribution and consumption. This type of food systems, by using more ecological farming methods and shortening the distance between farmers and consumers, help, among other things, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve natural resource protection. Among various alternative models of food production and distribution increasingly popular is the so-called community supported agriculture (CSA).

Food from the farmer you know

The beginnings of the CSA model, which is based on the close cooperation between farmers and a group of people interested in eating healthy local food, go back to the 1960s. First initiatives of this kind were started in Germany, Switzerland and Japan as a response to the wave of urbanization and the deterioration of conditions of food production in the countryside. Creating a relationship between consumers and farmers characterised by partnership is a building block of this type of cooperation. Consumers who want to receive healthy and sustainably produced food pay up front the producers for the whole season of deliveries. In this way consumers secure the supply of food and farmers the sale of their products.

What is CSA really about?

CSA focuses on the production of high quality food for a local community. The production very often uses organic, biodynamic or permaculture farming methods. The key elements are close cooperation and trust between participating farmers and consumers. A group of consumers provides the farmers with money by paying in advance for the whole season of supplies of jointly agreed types of products (usually vegetables and fruits). As a result the participating farms do not need to search for new markets for their produce and can focus solely on growing food for their supporting community.

The consumers and producers jointly agree on the budget. Usually, it is farmers who carry out the necessary calculation of the production costs (seeds, machinery, transport, labour and so on). Naturally, the system might have numerous variations. The main differences concern the construction of the budget and the ways of delivering food. In order to reduce their ecological footprint, communities usually try to initiate cooperation with farms close to the cities in which they live. The distribution of food among the participating consumers can take various forms. Most often it is based on the system of packages or baskets - each participant receives regularly a package with the ordered products which is delivered directly to their household or picked up individually from the agreed place.

In many CSA initiatives the consumers engage in the work on farms. Depending on the agreement with the farmers, it could be either regular work, allowing to reduce the costs, or work of a more educational character - the consumers visit the farms where they can learn more about the ways of producing food.

Sharing risk

CSA creates a favourable environment for small-scale farms. The relationship between farmers and consumers, usually mediated by the market where the main goal is profit, changes into a personal and trust-based contact in which respect and cooperation replace the market logic. An essential element of this model is the sharing risk concept which is usually absent from traditional market transactions. In CSA consumers pay farmers in advance and thus accept the possibility of unexpected circumstances which may prevent the crops from achieving planned yields.

Global and local context

In the wider context, the goal of CSA is turning around the current tendency of replacing small-scale farms with industrial food production as well as preserving biological and cultural diversity in the countryside. In Poland, for example, this trend is quite visible - the number of farms has significantly diminished and their size has grown. CSA as well as other similar initiatives, such as food cooperatives, have a chance to become a real alternative to industrial food production, which is ineffective and harmful for the environment and climate.

Probably the first CSA initiative in Poland was started in spring 2012 in the Mazovia region between a group of consumers in Warsaw and the farmers in the village called Świerże Panki. Since then the interest in this model of agriculture has grown in the Polish society and new initiatives have been started in various parts of Poland.

Benefits for farmers and consumers

In conclusion, CSA brings many benefits for both farmers and consumers. Farmers, among other things: save time and energy needed to find recipients for their products; receive payment in the beginning of the season which secures their liquidity and allows for necessary investments; become independent from commercial loans; have an opportunity to meet people who buy their food; can get help from consumers in the work on farms. Consumers, on the other hand: buy fresh, healthy and seasonal products; learn how their food is produced and thus the consumed products stop being anonymous; know in advance time of the deliveries and can save time spent on traditional shopping; become a part of the community; have an opportunity to gain knowledge about growing food and working on farms. Both groups contribute to the protection of environment and to lessening the negative impact of agriculture and food production on climate.

The above article was written on the basis of the excerpt from the action guide "Time for change. Choose locality! How to support environment- and people-friendly agriculture?" published in Polish by PGN.

Photo credit: Suzie's Farm (Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Lunedì, 18 Maggio 2015 02:00

Farmers in Ghana adapt to climate change

In another series of short videos farmers from the Global South speak about their struggle with the consequences of climate change. This time you can learn more about the challenges faced by small-scale farmers in Ghana.

In the first video, Naakpi Kuunwena, a farmer from Koyukuo village in the north-western part of Ghana, talks about the impact of climate change on his crops. He is especially concerned about the changes in the rainfall pattern observed in the recent years as well as the increasing water scarcity and the lack of necessary irrigation infrastructure such as dam. The appropriate irrigation system is essential in the current situation of growing problems with rains. Even though an NGO has drilled a borehole in his fields, it is not enough as it allows to fill only a couple of buckets. Naakpi additionally pumps the water to his fields from the nearby river, but this water source is also unreliable because the river dries up too fast in the dry season. Watch the video here.

The second video presents Yusif Hadi, a hard-working cattleman and a farmer from Koyukuo village. He talks about the increasing lack of rainfall in the area and its negative consequences on crops and the availability of the animal feed. The cattlemen are forced to change the feeding habits of their herds by supplementing the fodder with maize husks and groundnut tops. Another strategy used by Yusif to adapt to the changing climate and shorter rain seasons is planting faster growing maize varieties. Watch the video here.

In the next video, Joel Yiri, a farmer from Jiripa village, explains his business approach to farming which has allowed him to significantly improve the situation of his farm. For some time he has been using pig manure as a fertilizer on his fields, which has helped him to increase his maize yields and consequently also his income. Joel points out that changes in the rainfall patterns mean that local farmers have to adapt to the new circumstances. This can be done in various ways, for example through crop diversification. Watch the video here.

The last video focuses on Jumuo Namaayi, who is a farmer from Koyukuo village. He describes how over the last few years the rainy season has become shorter and how this has impacted various crops and the production of fruits such as mango. The fruits increasingly do not ripen in time and are attacked by more pests and diseases. Local farmers have also problem with growing maize. Not enough yields force villagers to migrate south in search of work. One response to to this situation suggested by the authorities has been to include new crop varieties which grow faster. Watch the video here.

Source: CCAFS

Photo credit: Neil Palmer / CIAT (Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)