CTA partner the Southern African Confederation of African Unions (SACAU), which represents 17 farmers' organisations (FOs) in 12 countries, has been vocal in calling for CoP negotiators to recognize that agriculture should feature in the debate about climate change. Here, SACAU policy analyst Manyewu Mutamba explains why agriculture should receive more attention.
After decades of deforestation in Niger, leading to serious soil erosion and dramatically declining yields for crop and livestock, a rural regeneration project in the Maradi region is encouraging farmers to allow the stumps of felled indigenous trees to regrow. Producers are also planting new trees to replace some of those destroyed over the years. As a result, they are being rewarded with less soil erosion, rising water tables, higher crop yields, better availability of firewood and fewer pests and diseases. A recent study by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) showed that this practice, known as farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR), has more than tripled yields of millet, from 150 kg/hectares(ha) to 500 kg/ha. Overall, the changes brought about by FMNR have been calculated as having an annual value of US$56 per ha.
For millions of farmers in the developing world – and the people who rely on them to produce the food they eat – climate change is an issue of fundamental importance. Drought, excessive rainfall, hurricanes and other extreme weather events can decimate crops and cause devastating damage to livestock. And as producers in many ACP countries know to their cost, such events are becoming more frequent.
Tools used for knowledge platforms are likely to vary widely according to the target audience and will often involve a mix. For closed groups, such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), email discussion groups can be highly effective. Social media is especially useful in bringing a disparate group of people together, who may have different agendas. For farmers' organisations, Facebook has proved a useful channel, with Twitter being used around their major meetings and events. MSG also used Facebook to advertise the fact that it has developed a Green Growth Framework.