Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mali shows the way

AllAfrica.com via the African Development Bank: Climate change affects agriculture in Africa more than in the rest of the world and that can cause hunger in various countries there. ...An example is the West African country of Mali, which ranks as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate-related hunger, even though the country's carbon emissions are minimal.

In the developed world, climate change is an abstraction, but in Mali it is a reality. However, instead of waiting for disaster to strike, the government there is taking steps to adapt. The government of Mali shared the lessons they learnt in agriculture and climate at a session at COP 17. ...Souleymane Cissé, from the Malian environment ministry, commented: "The paradox is although Mali isn't producing carbon emissions, we are the first victim of climate change. We could not stand by and do nothing."

Dr Alamin Sinna Toure, from the Environment and Sanitation Agency in Mali, gave an overview of the challenges facing Mali and the steps taken to meet them. The bulk of Mali's economy is based on agriculture and fishing, with 80 percent of the population working in agriculture.

...Lack of rainfall is one problem. Mali's rainfall fell by 20 percent between 1971 and 2000, and things could get worse. The forecasts are alarming, with a further 11 percent reduction expected by 2025. As the rains dry up, the temperature rises. There could be an increase of between four and 4.5°C. "The result", said Toure, "is 68 percent of the population will be exposed to food insecurity.

Reviving old agricultural methods may help, according to Adama Kouyaté, from Mali's ministry of agriculture. "We are trying not to rely on rain, by reviving old agricultural techniques. We are reviving old seeds which were used long ago, replanting them and reviving those crops", he explained...

Men carrying straw in Mali, shot by Ferdinand Reus, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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