The desire of any farmer is to succeed and in this context success is measured by how much one gets from the farm. However, as many of us struggle to attain this success, we are confronted with a myriad of challenges whose root cause is climate change. We can actually manage climate change related challenges and that’s why, I choose to share some of the ways we can adapt and mitigate them.
In this article, I share actions that we can take to cope with effects of climatic changes that cannot be avoided – actions aimed at reducing their negative effects. As farmers, we should prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change through adaptation actions and advocating for policies that are determined to tackle both present and future climate change threats. Adaptation measures include; prevention, tolerance or sharing of losses, change in land use activities, changes of location and restoration.
The agricultural sector is the most vulnerable sector but other sectors also susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change include; tourism, infrastructure, health and natural resources especially biodiversity. So how do we adopt and mitigate against these adverse effects?

Effects of climate change on crops

Effects of climate change on crops

Crop management
In Sub-Saharan region, rain-fed agriculture is the great contributors of Gross Domestic Product and yet the greatly threatened by the climate change effects such as prolonged droughts and unpredictable rain patterns. Given the reliance on weather, crop production will bear the brunt of climate variability and change. Interventions in this sector should include:

 

  1. Enhanced financial and technical support to the orphan crops programmes so that indigenous and more drought tolerant food crops such as cassava, millet, sorghum and sweet potatoes are re-introduced into the farming systems.
  2. Community based adaptation systems should be supported. For instance, building and enhancing systems for conveying climate information to rural population. The governments of these states and development partners need to provide support for the early warning system to facilitate the timely dissemination of weather information to farmers.
  3. Land degradation should be addressed by building soil and stone bunds, creating grass strips and contour leveling as well as incorporating trees or hedgerows. These will lead to an increase in rain-water infiltration, reduce run-off during floods, reduce soil erosion and help trap sediments including dead plant matter that improves soil fertility.
  4. Diversification of rural economies through value addition to agricultural products and financial support for aquaculture and apiculture with the aim of reducing reliance on climate-sensitive agricultural practices will play a big role in ensuring food security.

Livestock production
Nearly half of the livestock in sub-Saharan region is found in fragile ecosystems (ASALs) that are most vulnerable to climate change. This means that this sector I is neither exempted from the effects of climate change. This sector will most likely experience pressure from increased livestock pests and diseases as well as loss of pastures. For these reasons, interventions should include:

  1. Regular vaccination campaigns and cross border disease surveillance to reduce infections by migrating animals.
  2. Investing in programmes to harvest and store fodder to use during the dry seasons
  3. Breeding animals from various agro-ecological zones that adapt well to climatic changes through assistance of relevant institutions.
  4. Promoting economic diversification among livestock farmers by encouraging them to engage in cultivation of drought-tolerant crops such as millet

Water
Water, a scarce resource yet very essential is another sector that is threatened. Climate change will aggravate the situation of its availability as it affects precipitation. For these reason, interventions should include:A water hole.Thanks to USAID
Protecting flood plains through construction of dykes and river dredging

  1. De-silting rivers and dams to improve carrying capacity, water storage and water quality.
  2. Developing and maintaining an appropriate stock of water infrastructure such as dams, water pans and supply lines.

With the above interventions then the region will be well prepared to deal with the effects of climate change.

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