Increased Drought in Caribbean

 

Photo credit: Food Tank

The agriculture sector in the Caribbean region is vulnerable because extreme weather events are becoming stronger and more frequent due to climate change.
iStock

FAO Highlights Increased Drought in Caribbean

Recently, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report on the impact of climate change on agriculture in the Caribbean region. The report found that the region is expected to see an increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts due to climate change.

The Caribbean region includes seven of the world’s 36 water-stressed countries in the world. Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are classified by the FAO as water-scarce because they have less than 1,000 m3 freshwater resources per capita.

According to the report, one of the main challenges is the low water availability, which affects the agriculture sector and the water resources. The region also experiences a large number of bush fires due to the drought-like conditions.

“Drought ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries, so this is a key issue for Caribbean food security,” says Deep Ford, FAO Regional Coordinator in the Caribbean.

The FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva explains that extreme weather events can damage the agriculture sector in the island nations because they are becoming stronger and more frequent due to climate change. “In few places is the impact of climate change so evident as in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). For SIDS, climate change is not just an urgent issue. It is a question of survival,” saysGraziano da Silva.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the region is vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change, even though it contributes less greenhouse gas emissions compared to other areas.

The Inter-American Development Bank says that climate change caused aroundUS$136 billion in damages in the region between 1990 and 2008.

Read the full article: Food Tank

IN MY DESERTIFICATION LIBRARY: BOOK NR. 30

 

The State of Food and Agriculture

The State of Food and Agriculture – (FAO 2002)

Posted by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University – Belgium

Having participated in all the meetings of the INCD (1992-1994) and all the meetings of the UNCCD-COP, the CST and the CRIC in 1994-2006, I had an opportunity to collect a lot of interesting books and publications on drought and desertification published in that period.

Book Nr. 30

Please click: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KJO-TIPHJghD-i8WFELJiH9tlS7hMRyFdPE6C5PLTYI/edit?usp=sharing

or see The State of Food and Agriculture 2002

IN MY DESERTIFICATION LIBRARY: BOOK NR. 11

 

Sustainable dryland cropping in relation to soil productivity

Posted by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University – Belgium

 

Having participated in all the meetings of the INCD (1992-1994) and all the meetings of the UNCCD-COP, the CST and the CRIC in 1994-2006, I had an opportunity to collect a lot of interesting books and publications on drought and desertification published in that period.

Sustainable dryland cropping in relation to soil productivity

Book Nr. 11

Please click: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z3d6mbn4q-TkkT6juw9mHxBZ6XLu9WU20zu4OAnZFfA/edit?usp=sharing

or see Sustainable dryland cropping in relation to soil productivity

Making land fertile again

 

Photo credit: FAO

FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme is expanding a successful land restoration model across the Sahel

Land restoration in northern Niger is making degraded areas productive again, providing economic opportunities in a region where migration has become a tradition. Now, under FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme, these efforts are being expanded to six African countries.

When Moumouni Nuhu returned to his village after thirty years, everything was gone, the trees, the animals, everything. In his youth they would chase hares, antelopes, guinea fowl – a bit too much, maybe.

“The harmattan blows with a terrible force now. It takes all nutritious elements out of the soil,” says this 65-year old retired civil servant in Bajirga, his community on the outskirts of Tera, a dusty town in north-western Niger, known for its cattle market that attracts traders from as far as Nigeria.

Who can be surprised that youth are leaving, Moumouni asks, dressed in a white robe and sitting in the shade of a tree. Pointing out the barren field around him where women are digging under a scourging sun, he says: “We have to make degraded land fertile again.”

Travel and see

If you have a reason to stay home, you don’t leave, says Hassan Gado (51), who has just returned after a long life of work abroad. He first left in 1984, sold cigarettes in Lagos, worked in the port of Cotonou and then in a shoe-shop in Lomé.

In 2010, someone offered him a boat trip to Spain, but Hassan was told that the captain of the ship did not know about it. He got scared he would be thrown overboard when discovered and decided not to go.

Being a migrant worker is hard, Hassan says. You don’t have any family. Sometimes you don’t even have a place to sleep. But there are good times too. “I went out to see the world,” says Hassan. “Bob Marley said: ‘Travel and see’. If you always stay where you are, you don’t learn anything.”

Not trees only

A truck has arrived today from the national forest seed center in Niger’s capital Niamey, loaded with seeds for communities around Tera that have been involved in land restoration activities since 2013.

Maman Adda, Director of the center, explains that communities are at the heart of restoration efforts. Seeds were selected based on extensive village consultations. Capacity development of village technician is continuous. Seed collection took place with help of the seed center and, next, seeds are planted in village nurseries. Since 2013, five nurseries were established around Tera, now producing 100 000 seedlings per year.

Today’s shipment from Niamey contains seeds of shrubs and grasses. “Restoration is not only about planting trees”, Maman Adda says. As fast-growing species, shrubs and grasses produce within one year, while the output is fodder grass, not only essential to feed the animals of a population that is predominantly pastoralist or mixes farming with cattle grazing. It sells well on Tera’s market too.

On WDCD, FAO calls for urgent action for a land degradation-neutral world

 

Photo credit: FAO

Local communities in the Sahel start planting

As FAO celebrates World Day to Combat Desertification calling for urgent action to achieve a land degradation-neutral world, the onset of the rainy season in the Sahel allows local communities to start planting trees, shrubs and grasses as part of large-scale land restoration efforts organised under FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme.

This year, FAO plans to restore 10 000 hectares of degraded land in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal using an approach that puts people at the heart of restoration by focusing on their needs for useful species that can support their livelihoods.

Based on a successfully tested and scientifically recognised model, these efforts show that land degradation around the Sahara is not yet irreversible. At the same time, they are the perfect illustration of collaborative efforts by FAO and partners to halt desertification by addressing its root causes and engaging people.

Read the full story: FAO

Humanitarian needs triple during record El Niño

Photo credit: FAO

08 February 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. FAO’s irrigation and income diversification projects have become instrumental in tackling the negative impacts of El Niño- induced drought for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Afar Region.

 

Ethiopian farmers need urgent assistance to feed country caught in major drought

Timely agricultural assistance for the upcoming rainy season is essential to help the drought-affected people of Ethiopia, as one of the strongest El Niño events on record continues to have devastating effects on the lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders.

Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have tripled since the beginning of 2015 as the drought has led to successive crop failures and widespread livestock deaths.

As a result, food insecurity and malnutrition rates are alarming in the Horn of Africa country, with some 10.2 million people now food insecure. One-quarter of all districts in Ethiopia are officially classified as facing a food security and nutrition crisis.

With planting for the country’s first rainy season, the belg,already delayed and the meher season – Ethiopia’s main agricultural campaign – fast approaching, farmers need immediate support to help them produce food between now and September for millions facing hunger.

“FAO urgently needs $13 million by the end of March to support more than 600,000 of the worst affected people,” said FAO country representative Amadou Allahoury Diallo.

“We’re expecting that needs will be particularly high during the next few weeks,” he added, “so it’s critical that we’re able to respond quickly and robustly to reboot agriculture now before the drought further decimates the food security and livelihoods of millions.”

The meher produces up to 85 percent of the nation’s food supplies.

Read the full article: FAO

Community-based forestry

Photo credit: Agroforestry World Blog

Women in Mozambique are carrying fuelwood that will be sold by the roadside to create additional income for the rural forest community. Photo: FAO.

FAO reports on 40 years of community-based forestry

Community-based forestry may be showing great promise in driving sustainable development but it is still not reaching its full potential, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Released during the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week being held in Clark, The Philippines from 22-26 February 2016, the report shows how community-based forestry is helping to promote sustainable forest management, reduce poverty and generate jobs and income for rural communities.

Through community-based forestry, “local communities partner with governments to play a lead role in making land-use decisions and managing the forestry resources they depend on for their livelihoods,” says a media release from the FAO.

While almost one-third of the world’s forest are is now estimated to be under some form of community-based management, the approach is still not reaching its full potential. To achieve this, requires greater support by governments through policy reforms and other measures.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World Blog

World Day to Combat Desertification

Photo credit: Google – Imgres.jpg

 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 

Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are
destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.(See PRESS RELEASE below).

COMMENTS

Willem Van Cotthem: We keep hoping that success stories and best practices will be applied at the global level. Priority should be given to methods and techniques providing daily fresh food to the hungry and malnourished. It cannot be denied that hunger and malnutrition are constantly undermining the performances of people. Application of existing success stories in local food production (kitchen gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, …) would positively influence the efforts to combat desertification (limiting erosion, stimulating reforestation, etc.). We keep hoping.

ReplyUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Hi Willem Van Cotthem, would you like to share some success stories you have? We always welcome all to share!”

       ReplyWillem Van Cotthem : Hello Friends at the UNCCD Secretariat: It will be my pleasure to select a series of success stories in the literature. However, I am convinced that the UNCCD secretariat has the necessary documentation to compile even a book on this subject (to the best of my knowledge the documents, e.g. presentations at COPs and meetings of CST and CRIC, have been there during my active period in the CST and in Bonn). Please consider a consultancy to achieve top class work that would serve all member countries, the CST and the CRIC. To be presented at the next World Day June 17th 2016.

PRESS RELEASE
UNCCD’s Monique Barbut Calls for Long‐Term Solutions Not Just Quick Fixes To Drought Bonn, Germany, 22/02/2016 –
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This is the slogan for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June. I am calling for solidarity from the international community with the people who are battling the ravages of drought and flood. Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which is expected to affect up 60 million people by July. In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labor to recover, especially when the land is degraded.
What’s more, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilize communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long‐term security threats.
“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007‐2010. It is tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” Barbut said.
Ms Barbut made the remarks when announcing the plans for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, which will take place on 17 June.
“I hope that World Day to Combat Desertification this year marks a turning point for every country. We need to show, through practical action and cooperation, how every country is tacking or supporting these challenges at the front‐end to preempt or minimize the potential impacts of the disasters, not just at the back‐end after the disasters happen,” she stated.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 17 June as the observance Day to raise public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
Ms Barbut thanked the Government and People of China, for offering to host the global observance event, which will take place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China has vast experience in nursing degraded lands and man‐made deserts back to health. This knowledge can and should benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the re‐ greening in southern Africa and the 20 X 20 Initiative in Latin America. We can create a better, more equal and climate change‐resilient world,” she noted.
“I also call on countries, the private sector, foundations and people of goodwill to support Africa  when the countries meet later in the year to develop concrete plans and policies to pre‐ empt, monitor and manage droughts,” Ms Barbut stated.
The 2016 World Day campaign is also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year. The Goals include a target to achieve a land degradation‐neutral world by 2030. That is, a world where the land restored back to health equals to, or is more than, the amount degraded every year.
For more information on the Day and previous events, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
For background information and materials for the 2016 Observance, visit: For information about the Global Observance event, visit: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event‐and‐ campaigns/WDCD/wdcd2016/Pages/default.aspx
Contact for World Day to Combat Desertification: Yhori@unccd.int
For Media information: wwischnewski@unccd.int

Poverty, agriculture and social protection

Photo credit: FAO

Can linking social protection and agriculture end extreme poverty?

by PETER SHELTON

Social protection programs−broadly defined as initiatives offering cash or in-kind assistance to the poor−have expanded rapidly in recent decades, now covering an estimated two billion people living in developing countries. Such broad coverage, which accounts for roughly one-third of the total population living in these countries, has contributed to a dramatic decline in extreme poverty, with the proportion of extremely poor (those living on less than US$1.25 a day) dropping from 43 percent in 1990 to around 17 percent today. Yet research shows that simply scaling up existing social protection programs will not be enough to pull those who remain behind out of the vicious poverty trap.

Why is this? According to Rob Vos from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), social protection only offers a sustainable pathway out of poverty if there is inclusive growth in the economy. Presenting key findings from The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2015 report, Vos underscored the fact that extreme poverty remains highly concentrated in rural areas where smallholder subsistence farming is the main economic driver. The highest concentrations are found in South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara, where an estimated 80 percent of the rural population still has no access to any form of social protection. Thus, linking social protection to agricultural and rural development efforts has many practical advantages for pulling the greatest number of people out of extreme poverty.

Read the full story: IFPRI

FAO actions aim to minimize impact of El Niño on agriculture

Photo credit: FAO

A farmer takes a break in Swaziland.

 

El Niño lowers early production outlook in Southern Africa

Crop and livestock production prospects in Southern Africa have been weakened by the El Niño weather phenomenon that has lowered rains and increased temperatures.

A reduced agricultural output would follow on last year’s disappointing season, which has already contributed to higher food prices and “could acutely impact the food security situation in 2016,” according to a special alert released on Tuesday by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

The season for planting maize in Southern Africa has already experienced delays, while crops sown stand to be negatively affected due to inadequate rains and higher temperatures. “It’s the sixth week of the cropping season now and there’s not enough moisture in the soil,” said Shukri Ahmed, FAO Deputy Strategic Programme Leader – Resilience.

The region’s small-scale farmers are almost entirely dependent on rain, rendering their output highly susceptible to its variations. While El Niño’s impact depends highly on location and season – the impact of El Niño on agricultural production appears more muted in northern areas – past strong episodes have been associated with reduced production in several countries, including South Africa, which is the largest cereal producer in the sub-region and typically exports maize to neighbouring countries.

FAO had already warned in March that the current El Niño would be strong — and it now appears to be the strongest episode in 18 years. It will peak at the start of 2016, before the usual harvest time for farmers in Southern Africa.

“Weather forecasts indicate a higher probability of a continuation of below-normal rains between December and March across most countries,” according to the GIEWS alert.

South Africa has already declared drought status for five provinces, its main cereal producing regions, while Lesotho has issued a drought mitigation plan and Swaziland has implemented water restrictions as reservoir levels have become low.

Increasing prices intensify risks

The likelihood of another poor season is troublesome as it comes on the heels of a poor one that has already depleted inventories, tightened supplies and pushed up local prices. The Subregional maize production fell by 27 percent in 2015, triggering a sharp increase in the number of people already vulnerable to food insecurity in the region.

Read the full article: FAO

 

Four new sites designated Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems for innovation, sustainability and adaptability

Photo credit: FAO

The GIAHS are recognized for their contribution to food and nutrition security as well as delivering important benefits to the ecosystem. View of Nagara River.

 

Sustainable farming systems in Bangladesh and Japan receive global recognition

Four traditional farming systems in Bangladesh and Japan have been designated today by FAO as “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.”

They include Bangladesh’s floating gardens, a unique hydroponics production system constructed with natural grasses and plants, which have been developed in flood areas; and a trio of sites in Japan: the sustainable river fisheries utilizing Sato-kawa system in Gifu, the Minabe-Tanabe Ume approach to growing apricots on nutrient-poor slopes in Wakayama; and the Takachihogo-Shiibayama mountainous agriculture and forestry system in Miyazaki which allows agricultural and forestry production in a steep mountainous area.

The sites were officially recognized during a joint meeting of the GIAHS Steering and Scientific Committee at FAO headquarters in Rome.

These new designations bring the number of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) systems to a total of 36 sites located in 15 countries in Africa, Latin America, Near East and Asia.

Read the full article: FAO

FAO leader hails role of agriculture in national pledges, applauds the promise to scale up funding

Photo credit: FAO

School children in Tanzania plant and care for trees as part of an FAO Climate-Smart Agriculture project.

Breakthrough climate agreement recognizes food security as a priority

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has welcomed the approval of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, saying that “for the first time ever, food security features in a global climate change accord.”

The Agreement recognizes “the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the impacts of climate change”.

It underlines the need to “increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience (…) in a manner that does not threaten food production.”

“This is a game changer for the 800 million people still suffering from chronic hunger and the 80 percent of the world’s poor who live in rural areas and earn their income − and feed their families − via the agriculture sectors. By including food security, the international community fully acknowledges that urgent attention is needed to preserve the well-being and future of those who are on the front line of climate change threats,” Graziano da Silva said.

“FAO commends this milestone decision to move forward on climate change action, which comes on the heels of the new Sustainable Development Agenda and its pledge to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. Central to our goal of achieving Zero Hunger, FAO strongly advocates for commitments to protect and enhance food security in a changing climate,” he added. “Our message is simple: we will not reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 on ending hunger − and by extension the entire 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda − without ambitious action on climate change.”

Fighting hunger and climate must go “hand-in-hand,” he said. “FAO is highly encouraged by the fact that agriculture, forestry, fisheries and land use factor prominently in most of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) − the actions countries intend to take under the new Paris Agreement − and notes that this underscores the need for targeted investment in sustainable agriculture.

Read the full article: FAO

%d bloggers like this: