Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kenya farmers use science + traditional forecasting to survive climate change

Christian Aid: Kenyan farmers are combining information from climate scientists with traditional weather forecasting methods in an experiment which could help thousands of families adapt to climate change, a major conference will hear this week.

‘Combining traditional knowledge with science-based forecasts will help farmers make better decisions about which crops to plant where, as well as when to plant and harvest them,’ said Richard Ewbank, Climate Adviser at Christian Aid.

‘Those decisions change people’s lives - getting them right leads to good harvests and families having plenty to eat and sell. Getting them wrong can lead to hunger, poverty and suffering. This is the reality for millions of people across Africa.’

Climate change is expected to make it harder than ever for farmers to know what each growing season will bring, by making the weather more erratic and extreme. The idea behind the Sustainable Agricultural Livelihoods Innovation Project in eastern Kenya, funded by Christian Aid and the Humanitarian Futures Project of King’s College, London, is that combining science-based seasonal forecasts with more traditional methods will be more successful than either approach alone.

Participating farmers have been coping with weather patterns consistent with the expected effects of climate change such as higher temperatures, more intense rainfall, stronger winds and longer dry periods...

A farm rake in Kenya, shot by 2DU Kenya67, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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