Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unpredictable weather hurting farmers in Zambia

Judith Hara in via the Times of Zambia: "Farming has now become completely different and difficult," laments Dickson Siangoma. Mr Siangoma is a headman at Malundu Village in Lusitu area of Siavonga and is struck by the changing weather patterns and conditions that have made farming a little less predictable and a high risk venture.

…Climate change is an issue that has affected many farmers' livelihoods world over. It has been established that agriculture is particularly vulnerable to climate variability. Small-scale farmers have been hit the most because of their limited capacity to adapt.

But at the same time, unsustainable farming practises are said to contribute to climate change, posing a great challenge to environmental sustainability, particularly through deforestation as they continue to search for productive agriculture farmlands.

New evidence from a study from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) indicates that on-going extreme changes and variability in Zambia's climate could bring losses of more than US$4 billion in agricultural income in the next 10 years, driving hundreds of thousands into poverty and food insecurity.

….[A]n organisation called Participatory Ecological Land and Use Management (PELUM) is presently working with farming communities to help them make informed choices towards an improved quality of life. PELUM is a regional network comprising a consortium of more than 200 farmer organisations and is available in 10 countries in Eastern, Central and southern Africa with branches in Zambia....

Plowing with oxen in southern Zambia, shot by Amanita Phalloides, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

No comments: