Agricultural practices are often disrupted by climate change due to increasing variations in seasonality such as changing rainfall patterns, prolonged floods and droughts and natural disasters. These continuous impacts make agriculture practices more challenging, posing a threat to the rural livelihoods of 2 billion people as these activities are their major source of income (World Resource Institute, 2019).
Global actions to tackle the effects of climate change have not been sufficient. The short-term costs of helping communities to become more resilient are most certainly lower than the costs of the consequences of climate change in the future. The problem is that developed countries do not suffer immediate consequences and thus miss the priorities with specific short-term projects that lack flexibility. But in the developing world, climate change is disguised as negative impacts and hardships on an economic, social and environmental level in the everyday lives of these communities .
How the climate changes Agriculture
Increasing variations in seasonality such as changing rainfall patterns, prolonged floods and droughts, increases in temperature and heatwaves, rising sea levels and more frequent natural disasters have a large negative impact not only on agricultural practices but also on the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people. According to the Global Food Security report (2015) increasing temperatures can cause potential problems resulting in pests and diseases.
Last July, our NEXUS Project located in Nepal was challenged by flooded fields. Our entire crop was damaged, 4 tons of vegetables lost. This had an economic effect on the project, increased the job and salary insecurity of the employees and it showed us how easily food security is endangered. The river along which our field lies has never flooded in the past and is an example of how unpredictable the effects can be.
Negative impacts on agricultural activities can largely disrupt the livelihoods of rural communities. The effects of climate change can have a direct impact on access to infrastructure, water availability and agricultural outputs such as the quality of food and its accessibility. This situation is directly linked to negative impacts on human health and increasing inequality, leaving the most vulnerable without any chance for improvement.
In the Southwest of Madagascar, only 10 to 25 % of the population have access to safe drinkable water and sanitation facilities. According to hospitals in the region, 86 out of 100 health problems result from the consumption of untreated water. Climate change makes water resources management more challenging as ground water levels drop. Also, the length of rain seasons has decreased, resulting in a drier environment with less water available directly threatening the health and primary activities of these communities.
Agriculture is the major source of income for rural communities, once these activities are disrupted, farmers lose their only source of revenue and employment, leaving the youth without perspectives for the future. Climate variability is amongst the many drivers of urban migration, which will lead to overcrowded cities, difficulty in employment search and growing pressure on our natural resources.
In Madagascar, WECONNEX is developing a new NEXUS Project focusing on improving agricultural practices and market access for rural farmers as climate change has boosted migration to the coast. This increases the pressure on the fragile fishing grounds and also leads to malnutrition and missing dietary variation. The project is expected to encourage farmers to stay inland and find a stable income resulting from sustainable farming practices and high-quality products.
Global Food Security 2015. Extreme weather and resilience of the global food system.
World Resource Institute 2019. CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FOOD FUTURE (July).
Source: nexus ch