Monday, July 26, 2010

Indonesian agriculture needs prompt adaptation

Teddy Lesmana in the Jakarta Post: Recently, we witnessed an outcry from households in our country due to prices on some agricultural commodities, especially peppers reaching up to Rp 50,000 (around US$5) per kilogram. The astronomical price increase was caused, among others, by reduced supply due to crop failure as looming climate change impacts are becoming more intense lately.

…Although the government has a National Action Plan for climate change impact adaptations published in 2007, concrete measures in the agricultural sector to adapt against climate change have not received serious attention. In reality, many farmers are confused in their field and perform adaptation efforts by trial and error due to the lack of clear information from relevant agencies.

In fact, adaptation efforts themselves are less pronounced than climate change mitigation efforts globally. Many parties still put more focus on mitigation efforts to anticipate climate change impacts in the form of reducing carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases than to adaptation endeavors.

The relationship between climate change and its impact on the agricultural sector has been much analyzed. For instance, a study conducted by FAO (2007) states that climate change could have positive impacts on the agricultural sector in developed countries. And it may also lead to harmful impacts on the agriculture sector productivity in developing countries in which the developing countries generally have low adaptive capacity due to technological constraints and the limited economic resources.

In fact, advanced technology and sufficient economic resources are two crucial aspects required in developing adaptive capacity against climate change.…These facts clearly show that we should pay serious attention to real measures in adaptation in order to avoid adverse impacts on the agricultural sector, which will eventually threaten food security in most developing countries. Accordingly, improving agriculture-related infrastructure, development of flood and drought tolerant crop varieties, and adaptive planting methods must be enhanced...

A farm on Bali in 1933, from the Tropenmuseum trove uploaded to Wikimedia Commons

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