ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

By Albert Makendenge

Climate change (high temperatures and unreliable rainfall) poses a real threat to farmers all around the world. Agriculture is highly dependent on good weather (including both high and low temperatures, good rainfall, wind intensity and many other variables. Estimates show that climate change might reduce global agriculture productivity by 17% by 2050. Climate change-driven changes in rainfall and temperature could severely reduce yields in agriculture and effects would be felt hard by countries that mostly dependent on agriculture. The good news, however, is that farmers can learn to adapt via a number of ways listed below.

  • Integrating crop-livestock-forestry systems

The more diverse an agricultural system is, the greater its ability to adapt to climate change. Instead of focusing on one kind of production (crops or livestock or forestry), integrated systems combine them into several combinations which can be able to combat or mitigate the effects of climate change.

  • Rehabilitating degraded pastures

Degraded lands are prone to erosion and so retain less water, have less nutritious grass for animals and contribute to low productivity in livestock production. Recovering these through planting native grass or planting trees will go a long way in restoring their productive capacity.

  • Pursuing sustainable forestry

Trees planted sustainably offer environmental benefits such as capturing greenhouse gases, protecting the soil and also come with potential for economic gain through the commercialization of timber and non-timber forest products. Thus reforestation and restoration can be important tools for farmers all around the world.

These are some of the more resilient and more sustainable practices that farmers need to implement in their farms in a world where the impacts of climate change are already arriving.

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