Food security and gender

Photo credit: CGIAR

Gender differences can create barriers to climate change adaptation. In many places, women are less likely than men to adopt new technologies, use credit or other financial services or receive education or extension advice. Photo: C. Peterson (CIAT/CCAFS)
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Tackle gender gaps to improve food security, say researchers

Data shows differences in how men and women experience – and deal with- climate change.

by Vanessa Meadu (CCAFS)

Women and men perceive climate change differently, and gender differences influence their ability to adapt, according to an analysis published on the IFPRI blog. Researchers Elizabeth Bryan, Patti Kristjanson and Claudia Ringler looked at gender dissagregated data collected at CCAFS research sites in Senegal, Uganda, Kenya and Bangladesh. What they found can help researchers and policy makers develop better interventions.

For example, there are differences in how women and men in the different countries perceived climatic changes, weather and events like flooding.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

Necessity to build the capacity of Ivorian stakeholders

Photo credit: CCAFS

Many cocoa gardens in Côte d’Ivoire are old and suffer from declining productivity. Climate-smart agriculture addresses this problem, while helping farmers increase their income. Photo: C. Adjehi (ICRAF)

Towards climate-smart agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire

by Mathieu Ouédraogo, Cheick Mbow, Christophe Kouamé (CCAFS, ICRAF)

To prepare the implementation of climate-smart Agriculture, it is necessary to build the capacity of national Ivorian stakeholders.

Agriculture plays an important role in the economic and social development of West African countries. It employs 60% of the working population, and makes a significant contributionto GDP (35%) and export earnings. To continue performing its economic and social function efficiently, West African agriculture needs to address the challenge of climate change.

Climate change poses challenges to agriculture

Climate change poses three major challenges to agriculture, namely:

Feeding an ever-growing population: Estimated at 290 million in 2010, the West African population will more than double by 2050. This will increase food demand from 60% to 80% and require additional resources.

Adapting to climate change: Rising temperatures, less rainfall, more frequent droughts and floods, as well as the proliferation of pests as a result of climate change will lead to low and volatile returns, as well as a sharp increase in the prices of major food crops. Consequently, agriculture needs to adapt to climate change.

Producing while minimizing environmental impacts: Agriculture is the world’s primary source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, a major source of carbon emissions and the world’s leading factor of deforestation. Agriculture and deforestation account for about 30% of global emissions of greenhouse gases. Agriculture is therefore a major element of climate change.

Need for agricultural transformation

To meet these three challenges, it is urgent to adopt climate-smart agriculture (CSA).This is an integrated approach already implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in five pilot countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Senegal).

Read the full article: CCAFS


Good agricultural practices


APC-Colombia and CIAT, partners in fostering good agricultural practices


The Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC-Colombia) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen sharing of good practices for South-South Cooperation (SSC) in agriculture, climate change adaptation, and rural entrepreneurship.

In a first phase, the APC-Colombia and CIAT strategic partnership will undertake SSC activities involving technical assistance and knowledge sharing with the ministries of agriculture of Senegal and Kenya (Africa); Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean); and Vietnam (Southeast Asia).

The partnership aims to help position Colombia across the world through cooperation and provide beneficiary countries with better access to innovation and scientific research through knowledge sharing in the agricultural sector.

“One national technical experience identified by APC-Colombia that is well known globally involves research undertaken by CIAT on value chains, agriculture, rural development, and climate change adaptation. We believe this work, which has shown excellent results in our country, can have the same impact in similar surroundings outside Colombia,” said Alejandro Gamboa, APC-Colombia director general.

First experiences of South-South sharing

A previous South-South exchange carried out by CIAT took place in September 2013, in collaboration with Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) within the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Representatives of key institutions from the Colombian and Honduran agricultural sector visited Senegal to share knowledge and lessons learned on adaptation to climate variability, with the aim of better preparing to manage the risks involved through new ideas and collaboration.

Read the full article: CIAT Blog

Local communities and effective adaptation strategies

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Emergence of new diseases and pests for some crop varieties has affected farm productivity in Uganda. Photo: IITA

Drought and pest epidemics among top climate risks in rural Uganda

by Vivian Atakos and Maren Radeny (CCAFS East Africa)

The traditional coping strategies developed by local communities provide useful foundations for effective adaptation strategies.

nd e“We find it difficult to plan our farm activities; rainfall patterns are very variable and confusing. Dry spells are common during crop production seasons,” said farmers in rural Uganda, during a focus group discussion session convened by researchers to understand farmers’ perception of climatic trends and climate-related risks.

Smallholder farmers in Uganda face a wide range of agricultural production risks, with climate change and variability presenting new risks and vulnerabilities. Climate-related risks such as prolonged dry seasons have become more frequent and intense with negative impacts on agricultural livelihoods and food security.

A new working paper by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) assessed farmers’ perceptions of climate change and variability and analysed historical trends in temperature and rainfall in two rural districts of Uganda. The paper ‘Climatic trends, risk perceptions and coping strategies of smallholder farmers in rural Uganda’ (PDF) also identified the major climate-related risks affecting crop and livestock production and the existing innovative strategies for coping with and adapting to climate-related risks, with potential for upscaling in rural districts.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

Climate change impacts and adaptation

Photo credit: DAPA-CIAT

Adaptation measures for especially maize, common beans, Arabica coffee, banana and finger millet are urgently needed in Africa to curb future negative climate impacts. Negative impacts on livestock are projected, though more research on livestock impacts and adaptation needed to pin down region-specific responses.

African crops and livestock in a changing climate

by Julian Ramirez-Villegas

Cross-posted from the CCAFS blog.

After some intense 5-6 years of CCAFS research and impact, a set of newly released CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Working Papers highlight both climate change impacts and opportunities for African crop and livestock production systems. The papers summarise science on climate change impacts and adaptation, and present new information specifically targeted to the 42th meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), held in Bonn at the beginning of June 2015.

West African countries will in particular see suitability for maize decrease, with production losses of up to 40%. Photo: J. Soares -
West African countries will in particular see suitability for maize decrease, with production losses of up to 40%. Photo: J. Soares –×444.jpg

Climate change and African crop production

The SBSTA crops paper (available here), produced in collaboration between CIAT and ILRI scientists, shows that, under our current emissions trajectory (RCP8.5, where global warming by the end of the 21st century is between 6-8 ºC), common bean, maize, banana and finger millet are projected to reduce their suitable areas significantly (30-50%) across the continent, and will need some kind of adaptation plan, or be replaced with other crops.

Read the full article: CIAT-DAPA

Innovations that should be applied at the largest scale

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Photo-story: Fair promotes farmer innovations in West Africa

by Sékou Touré and Maïmouna Fané (CCAFS West Africa)

To help promote local innovations, Burkina Faso hosted the Innovation Fair Farmers in West Africa.

Group photo with Jury members, the winners and organizers. -
Group photo with Jury members, the winners and organizers. –

Burkina Faso hosted on 15 and 16 May the Innovation Fair Farmers in West Africa (FIPAO). This event aimed to draw attention to farmer innovation and the role of peasant producers in agricultural research, and to facilitate interaction, linkages and learning between all relevant actors. It also helped promote family farming through the development of innovative farmers.

In addition to presenting the innovations, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) sponsored a video contest to document farmer innovations in the face of climate change. Video-makers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal prepared videos that were screened at the fair. See the videos.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

Improving institutional capacity through locally led participatory action research

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Trainers participate in research as part of the Trees for Global Benefit project in Mbale, Uganda. Photo: EcoAgriculture Partners

Local organizations in Kenya and Uganda lead smallholder carbon projects

Participatory action research yields benefits for smallholder farmers, carbon sequestration, and much learning.

Among the many men and women toiling in rows of maize, sunflower, sugarcane, potatoes and beans in Bungoma County, Kenya, practically no one was interested in growing carbon. For one, no one has ever asked for a big bowl of carbon for dinner. Also, carbon does not make any money on the local market (nor on the global market for that matter).

Thus, it is a challenge to attract participation in agricultural carbon projects – and thereby to lower total net emissions from agriculture in the developing world.

So what if carbon storage was a happy by-product of more immediately rewarding investments by farmers? Are there climate-smart agriculture practices that make sense to farmers and include investing in storing carbon on their croplands? And could carbon funds feasibly finance investments in those practices? And how can the projects be implemented?

Carbon projects involving hundreds of farmers are very complex: they require training farmers, distributing inputs or supplies, measuring carbon stored and distributing carbon payments. The more farmers involved, the greater the necessity for more tasks. Project success depends, then, on the institional capacity of project implementers.

Over the last several years, EcoAgriculture Partners found that when local institutions drive the project management and problem-solving processes, they generate deep learning, empowerment and ownership over the results. Though sometimes overlooked when focusing on hard adoption targets, local participation in management is essential for sustained carbon sequestration.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

A recently introduced potato variety

Photo credit: CGIAR

Thanks to resistant potato varieties, Late Blight disease is no longer a serious threat to these farmers.

In pictures: tenfold potato yield in Lushoto, Tanzania

‘Asante’ means ‘thank you’ in Swahili. Yet, for farmers in Usambara, Northern Tanzania, it means more than that. ‘Asante’ now also describes a recently introduced potato variety, which is helping the region become climate-smart.

Potato farmers in Lushoto, Tanzania expect to harvest ten times the usual potato yield despite heat increases and unreliable rainfall patterns. This follows successful action research trials conducted by these farmers together with researchers from the International Potato Centre (CIP), Selian Agricultural Research Institute of Arusha (SARI-Arusha) and Agricultural Research Institute of Mbeya (ARI-Uyole). Their work was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) East Africa.

Read about the trials conducted in 2014: Improving potato yields for farmers in the Usambara Highlands

See the text: CCAFS-CGIAR 

Climate-smart practices in Kenya

Photo credit: CCAFS

Rachael Kisilu from KALRO explaining to farmers the importance of having drought resistant Sorghum varieties as they did evaluations on on-farm trials during the farmer field day. Photo: S.Kilungu (CCAFS)

How community-based organisations promote climate-smart practices in Kenyan drylands

by John Recha, Solomon Kilungu, Philip Kimeli (CCAFS East Africa)

Smart farming innovations and financial services are now more easily accessible to smallholders in eastern Kenya. Farmers in the area regularly meet in community-based organisations to share crucial information and knowledge.

Read the full article: CCAFS

Climate change is linked to social structures and gender

Photo credit: IWMI

Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT)

International Women’s Day

Ganges women to bear the brunt of Climate Change

Poor women and vulnerable groups will “bear the brunt” of climate change in parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to a new report published by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

The Ganges River Basin is already experiencing increases in unpredictable weather patterns, droughts, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters. However, scientists predict that average temperatures in the region will increase by around 0.4 °C over the next two decades, which could cause even greater environmental and social disruption.

This poses serious challenges to a region where the majority of its 655 million inhabitants rely directly on agriculture and access to natural resources for their livelihoods.

The report focuses on three key countries that depend on the Ganges River Basin: India, Nepal and Bangladesh. By reviewing extensive studies from the region, it argues that vulnerability to climate change is “intricately linked” to social structures such as gender, class, caste and ethnicity. It makes the case that those at the bottom of the social ladder have less power and fewer resources to adapt to the possible effects of climate change.

“This is the first time that such a broad range of studies has been brought together and analyzed as a whole,” said Fraser Sugden, Researcher – Social Science, IWMI, and lead author of the report. “The research results clearly show that women face considerable vulnerability to climate change and that this is also a complex process, with vulnerability being economic, social and psychological and shaped by intersecting divisions of class and caste. There is a need to rethink policies and methods of engagement with marginalized groups, so as to address the social structures which cause vulnerability in the first place.”

Read the full article: IWMI

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA)

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) relates to actions both on-farm and beyond the farm, and incorporates technologies, policies, institutions and investments. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Evidence of impact

Climate-Smart Agriculture takes root in Africa

by Vivian Atakos, Sékou Touré, Oluwabunmi Ajilore (CCAFS)

As we celebrate Africa Environment day, we highlight Climate-Smart Agriculture and its potential in addressing some of the pressing environmental and developmental challenges facing the continent.

“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments,” said Wangari Maathai, the internationally renowned activist acknowledged for her struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation.

Dr. Maathai frequently narrated her childhood experience: a world where food was present in the farms all year round and birds would chirp as frogs croaked in anticipation of the rains. Today, over 50 years later, Africa is a different place. Climate related shocks such as droughts and floods are more frequent and are altering how people gain access to food, changing the balance between work, trade and transfers.

As we mark the Africa Environment Day on March 3, we highlight climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and their potential in improving productivity and livelihoods. Climate-smart agriculture is the result of practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity, support farmers’ adaptation to climate change, and where possible reduce levels of greenhouse gases. CSA can also help governments to achieve national food security and poverty reduction goals.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

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