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A new multimillion dollar research program by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research aims to alleviate climate-related threats to the food security, livelihoods and environment of people living in the developing world. One of the key intellectual forces behind this initiative has been the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s Jim Hansen. He’ll be leading efforts within the program to look at how managing current climate risks will help farming communities adapt to longer term climate change.
The CGIAR– a network of agricultural research centers that supports thousands of scientists in more than 100 countries– considers climate change an “immediate and unprecedented threat” to the food security of hundreds of millions of people who depend on small-scale agriculture and natural resource management. To address this threat, it has created a ten-year Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) [pronounced SEE-cafs] to explore new ways of helping vulnerable communities adjust to global changes in climate as they relate to food security. The program’s annual budget is expected to ramp up to $25 million by its fifth year.
Hansen, an expert on climate risk management for agriculture, sees the new program as a way to foster collaboration between people concerned with climate change adaptation and those concerned with development.
“Climate-related risk is a major contributor to poverty and food insecurity, and an impediment to agricultural development efforts, particularly in rain-fed farming systems in the dryer tropics,” he says. “Well-designed, well-targeted research, in the context of an international development strategy, can have a huge impact.” And with CCAFS, he will have an opportunity to shape a program of high-impact research.
Read the rest of the story here.
Photo: Francesco FiondellaFiled under IRI related | Comment (0)
Pak-Ludo, my colleague from CARE, spent the better part of an afternoon driving me to some of the area villages outside of Kupang. It’s easy to see why people can have such difficulties making a living from farming here. The soil is rocky and shallow, and dust-dry.
[Photo: Kupang outskirts. Francesco Fiondella]Filed under photography, travels | Comment (0)
Nusa Tenggara Timur, or East Nusa Tenggara, is a remote province located 1,200 miles from Jakarta (map). It is home to more than four million people, spread across 550 islands. The province is among the poorest in Indonesia–at least a third of its population earns below the poverty line.
Not surprisingly, NTT faces real development challenges, including periods of serious food insecurity. Since irrigation systems are virtually nonexistent, farmers here are almost wholly dependent on monsoon rains to supply water to their crops. But even in years of normal rainfall, the province can expect to distribute between 20 and 25 thousand tons of food aid to families. During El Niño years, which typically result in significantly less rainfall, the aid figure can be twice that. Rates of malnutrition, especially in children, can reach 25% during these periods.
Scientists at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society want to reduce these impacts by using seasonal climate forecasts to alert government authorities about periods when below-average rainfall is expected. Indonesia has a good system in place to respond to food insecurity, but the challenge is generally one of timing. From the moment a problem is declared to the moment the first shipments of rice and other aid is unloaded, half a year may pass. The hope is to give agencies and humanitarian organizations such as CARE Indonesia months of lead time to stock up on food supplies, jump-start their monitoring activities and set aside funds and other resources in case the food problems materialize.
We’ve organized a workshop for tomorrow in NTT’s capital, Kupang, with CARE Indonesia, Bogor Agriculture University (IPB) and the provincial food-security agency in order to share the latest research findings and discuss their potential use in food-security planning. This latter goal is critical. We can issue the best forecasts in the world, but if there’s no institutional system in place to understand and act on them, they’re essentially useless.IRI related, journalism, travels | Comment (1)