Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rural women in Peru key to adaptation of seeds to climate change

Mariela Jara in AlertNet via IPS:  For ages, rural women in the Peruvian highlands have been selecting and storing seeds, ensuring their preservation. But the authorities have failed to tap into this storehouse of knowledge and experience, despite the contributions it could make to the design of effective policies for adaptation to climate change, which poses a growing threat to the women�s livelihoods.Peru's campesinas or peasant women have played this role from time immemorial, handing down their knowledge by oral transmission. But today their traditional know-how is insufficient to help them endure unseasonal rainfall, extreme frosts, gale-force winds and other climate change-related phenomena.

The national meteorology and hydrology service projects a 0.2 to 0.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature in Peru by 2030-2050 due to global warming. As a result, the rainy season will continue to change, which will have a heavy impact on agricultural production.

Experts predict that the difficulties already faced by families who depend on agriculture will thus be aggravated, and that women will especially feel the effects, due to gender inequality. But they also say it is possible to start coming up with viable medium to long-term adaptation measures.

...But the sociologist told IPS that although women suffer the brunt of this situation, they can also develop skills that allow them to play an active role in adaptation, as shown by the Flora Tristán Centre in the southern Andean region of Cuzco and the northern coastal region of Piura, where it is carrying out a project on climate justice and rural women....

Women farming in the Peruvian highlands, around 1940

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