A changing climate changes the game for agriculture and rural development

Climate change research expects to take a front seat at next week’s Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2)

The strangely erratic rainfall of the past few years has left Emily Marigu of Meru, Kenya wondering when she should plant her crops. When the rains do come, she says, they are so fast and heavy they wash away her soil.

Joel Yiri of Jirapa, Ghanais fending off ever-worsening droughts and has seen his yield of ground nuts drastically diminish, in part due to a growing season that is much shorter than he remembers.

In Punjab, India, Gurbachan Singh is worried about a repeat of the disastrous floods which destroyed his village’s rice harvest last year, while in Ninigui, Burkina Faso, Ganame Ousseni has watched bitterly as his farm’s forests and grasses are consumed by desertification.

Climate change, the perennial offender, is at the root of all these farmers’ problems. Changes in crop suitability, greater frequency of extreme weather events, and shifts in the distributions of pests and diseases add to the list of worries.

What’s more, the impact of these changes on agricultural systems and communities dependent on natural resources is still “largely a closed book,” according to a report recently released by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The report, “Impacts of climate change on the agricultural and aquatic systems and natural resources within the CGIAR’s mandate,” emphasizes the need for extensive research to bring some clarification to matters affecting the vulnerability of impoverished farmers.

What should already be clear, however, is that any attempt to define the direction of Agriculture for Rural Development (ARD) – such as the Global Conference on ARD (GCARD2) taking place in Uruguay next week – needs to keep climate change impacts at the forefront of consideration. (…)

Read the full post on the CCAFS blog.

Blogpost written by Caity Peterson, one of the GCARD social reporters.
Picture courtesy Neil Palmer/CIAT

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