Saturday, May 22, 2010

Agrobiodiversity key to adaptation

Isaiah Esipisu in IPS: Mechanisation, increased use of fertilisers, and the planting of hybrid seeds have underpinned huge increases in the world's agricultural output over the past 40 years. Biotechnology is the latest gambit, but agronomists warn that climate change could wipe out that progress unless farmers begin combining these with indigenous knowledge.

"The world is headed for an anticlimax. Climate change is already frustrating agricultural productivity all over," said Dr Frank Attere, the Special Assistant to the President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). "And if this continues, the world will be left without indigenous seed that can survive all weather conditions, and this would lead to serious food insecurity and loss of biodiversity in the coming generations."

AGRA is an NGO working to achieve food security in Africa by promoting productive and sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers. The Alliance aims to do this by ensuring the availability of good seeds, the protection of healthy soils and better access to information, markets and financing, storage and transport.

A paper released at one of the side events of the big biodiversity conference taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, reveals that as fears rise over the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity, traditional agricultural and pastoralist communities worldwide are amongst those with the most resilient mechanisms to cope.

…"The Use of Agrobiodiversity by Indigenous and Traditional Agricultural Communities in Adapting to Climate Change", put together by out by a consortium of researchers, farmers and policy-makers united as the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research, provides examples from all over the developing world….

Peruvian corn, shot by Jenny Mealing, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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