Farmers need to adapt to climate change by changing what they grow

Photo credit: CIAT

Residents of Ma village face multiple climate challenges.

Farmers debate their options in a changing climate


From cold snaps to intense rainfall, changing weather in the last two decades has not gone unnoticed by residents of Ma climate-smart village in Vietnam’s Yen Bai province. But weighing up options to adapt to changes and build resilience on village farms is not straight-forward.

“This water used to be a stream flowing from the mountains,” said one farmer, pointing to a small patch of water among the green rice fields. “Now because of soil erosion and water scarcity, it’s just a pond.”

He rattles off a list of other changes over the years: declining soil fertility, deforestation and extreme heat followed by cold snaps affecting crop yields of rice, cassava and other crops.

Farmers need to adapt by changing what they grow or the way they cultivate the land. But being “locked in” to local markets – for cassava, fish or timber for example – requires changes within a wider, dynamic context.

Read the full article: CIAT Blog

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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