New one stop source for Big Facts about climate change, agriculture and food security

by Simon Bager

Climate change has and will have an enormous impact on what we can grow and eat. Conversely, the global food system—from production, to transportation and refrigeration to disposal—is responsible for up to 29% of human-generated greenhouse gases. With so much information about climate change available, it’s difficult to know what the key facts are. To make up for this, we’ve scoured the literature for the latest research to identify the best and most current scientific knowledge at the intersection of agriculture, climate change and food security. Continue reading

Planting for a harsher climate

By Philippe Remy

Photo: Amadou Keita at IFAD

A new IFAD-supported program in the Sahel region of Central Mali is showing rural communities how to break ongoing poverty and hunger cycles by first breaking the cycle of environmental degradation which so often both accompanies and feeds into them. Continue reading

Bamboo: cool fuel for Africa

Photo: INBAR

By Dr. Yannick Kuehl and Caity Peterson

With 70-90% of Africans relying on wood or wood-based charcoal to power their houses, and millions further relying on wood or wood based-charcoal for income and employment, developing a sustainable charcoal industry in Africa is a key consideration for the future.

Unfortunately, harvesting wood for charcoal is one of the leading causes of deforestation across Africa, which not only means the release of previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, but also means that wood and wood-based charcoal are becoming increasingly scarce and unaffordable for many.

However, a new program by INBAR is successfully developing bamboo as an alternative source for both wood and charcoal in Ethiopia and Ghana. Continue reading

Biogas brings farmers multiple benefits, fights climate change too

by Sun Yinhong

Access to energy is key to eradicating poverty and ensuring food security. Rural communities need energy for a variety of purposes including cooking, lighting, heating, and powering farm and other production tools and equipment. For these communities, biogas from human and animal waste offers a low-cost energy solution and eases the burden on women who spend long and hard hard hours collecting firewood. And there are added benefits: biogas stoves produce fewer harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and by providing an alternative to timber, also reduces pressure on forests and reduces associated emissions from deforestation. Continue reading

Chad’s herdspeople map out their climate futures

by Giacomo Rambaldi

In Chad, the Fulani-Mbororo herdspeople have struggled to manage their herds under increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.

On the one hand, the Mbororo people have a deep understanding passed down through generations of their land and its climate conditions. They know how to read the signs offered by nature.

Scientists, on the other hand, hold the key to interpreting the impacts of the latest research. If these two groups could come together and pool their combined expertise, perhaps the M’bororo people could maintain their traditional way of life and the scientists would gain from a more profound understanding of the areas. Continue reading

Farmers dial in for climate information – but are they getting the message?

By Arame Tall and Caity Peterson

Smallholder farmers are an extraordinarily adaptive bunch. They are well aware of changes occurring in their environment and usually take quick steps to accommodate them, or even benefit from them if they can. However, the increasing unpredictability of climate patterns and the rapid pace of change are becoming overwhelming; traditional knowledge and coping mechanisms often can’t keep up. Continue reading

Dry lands under a changing climate – waiting for bad to get worse?

Compilation of stories by Clare Pedrick

Changing climate patterns will affect people farming in all ecosystems. But those living in dry areas will face more acute challenges. Many times these are countries already suffering from high poverty levels due to poor land and water availability, problems which will be made worse by climate change, with erratic rainfall, more frequent droughts, extreme temperatures, shifting climatic zones and the arrival of new crop pests and diseases. Of all the problems facing dry lands water is the common denominator – ever-present and affecting all aspects of food production on these lands. Continue reading

Navigating a Climate-Smart Landscape

by Rachel Friedman, Ecoagriculture Partners

As the year comes toward a close – after record high temperatures, drought, and storms – it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore agriculture’s importance both in mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts. And at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, this year may be the one for agricultural landscapes. Continue reading

Taking action for agriculture: Countdown to Doha

Getting agriculture onto the official climate change policy agenda has been a long and sometimes tedious struggle. Right now the talks have moved past questions of whether agriculture should be on the agenda, towards negotiating how it can help achieve mitigation and adaptation goals.  This is considered a success in many people’s eyes. But there is still more that needs to be done in order to ensure agriculture receives the attention and support it deserves. Continue reading