Consider the livelihoods of the tens of millions of vulnerable subsistence small-holder farmers around the world. In 20 to 25 years we will get to a point in some places that either it will be too hot, too dry, too wet, or too cold for the crops we are planting and you, which will be incredibly disruptive at best.
Over the last two decades, either early or late on set of rainy seasons, unexpected rainfall, declining rainfall, and extreme day and night temperature are common.
According to The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 75% of the world’s 1.2 billion poor (defined as consuming less than one purchasing-power adjusted dollar per day) live and work in rural areas. 50% of the developing-country rural population were smallholders (farming 3 ha or less of crop land), and ≈25% were landless. The proportion of smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa was higher at 73%.
Environmental degradation in such tropical dry land areas is widespread, irreversible or appropriately referred to as “desertification”. All this, and other stressors, are seen as contributing to an increased vulnerability to drought, which in turn feeds back in to environmental degradation and conflict. There will be eventual impacts on human development indicators such as health and education.
There is a bright side: increasingly unstable weather in recent years has left many farmers more willing to try new ideas. Many are now open to adapting of using practices like crop diversification, planting date adjustment, soil and water conservation and management, increasing the intensity of input use, integrating crop with livestock and rabbits, and tree planting.
- · Small-holder farmers can shift to irrigated farming in the face of climate variability.
- · Small-holder farmers can hold some wealth in bank accounts, and others use micro finance credit to expand.
- · Small-holder farmers can use for livestock, purchased or lopped from trees in their orchards.
- · Small-holder farmers can engage in as a rational form of insurance against drought.
FOOD AID: EARLY SOLUTIONS NOW
Why in a “world of plenty” are 20 million people face famine? Continue reading SUBSISTENCE FARMERS in AFRICA 2