Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adapting to climate change can be simple

Athar Parvaiz in IPS: Saraswoti Bhetwal’s terraced fields stand out in the sub-Himalayan Lamdihi village as a mosaic of shapes and colours formed by beans, bitter gourd, chilly, tomato, lady’s fingers and other crops. The reason for this abundance is simple. She took the training offered at a watershed management project run by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu seriously.

"After attending ICIMOD’s interaction programmes, where several experts offered help to famers like me, I realised the importance of integrated land management in boosting production," she told IPS. Saraswoti’s success at adaptation became apparent last year when a prolonged dry spell during the monsoon left her unscathed, but damaged her neighbours’ crops in Lamidihi, which falls in the Jikhu Khola watershed of Nepal’s Kavrepalanchok district, 45 km east of the national capital.

"I have been telling the others to adopt the same simple water management techniques that I learned at ICIMOD in order to avoid losses from erratic rains that is said to be caused by climate change," she said. Nepal’s farmers felt the impact of climate change worst during the 2008-2009 winter drought when most of the country received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall while average temperatures were one to two degrees Celsius above normal.

With wheat and barley production dropping by 15 percent and 17 percent respectively and maize severely affected, the World Food Programme (WFP) has had to step up aid. . WFP is expected to provide food to 1.2 million Nepalese this year at a cost of 98.5 million dollars, particularly in the mid-and far-western hills of Nepal, a country considered among the poorest in the world....

Planting a rice paddy in Ramechhap district in Nepal, shot by Krish Dulal, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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