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Agroecology to help farmers cope with climate change

By Ahumuza Muhumuza

Added 6th November 2019 04:35 PM

African Union, commissions, NGOs, CSOs, small scale farmers, food producers, UN bodies and academia convened to deliberate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Leading experts and practitioners from the African Union, commissions, NGOs, CSOs, small scale farmers, food producers, UN bodies and academia convened to deliberate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo by Ahumuza Muhumuza

African Union, commissions, NGOs, CSOs, small scale farmers, food producers, UN bodies and academia convened to deliberate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

AGRI-BUSINESS    FARMING  

ETHIOPIA - Climate change is causing unpredictable weather patterns, such as floods and droughts, threatening the livelihoods of farmers.

In Uganda and Kenya, farmers are counting losses after continued rains devastated harvests while neighbouring Zambia and Zimbabwe are suffering prolonged drought. 

It is these issues that leading experts and practitioners from the African Union, commissions, NGOs, CSOs, small scale farmers, food producers, UN bodies and academia convened to deliberate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Ethiopia's agriculture minister Dr. Kaba Urgessa, who opened the conference, said because 80 percent of Africa's farmers are small scale, relying almost entirely on rain, the threats posed by climate change threaten not just the majority of livelihoods, but could lead to a loss of up to 10 percent of GDP. 

To mitigate this, Urgessa said Ethiopia has planted four billion trees this year alone.

Peter Byaruhanga, a farmer from Kabale who describes himself as an environmental refugee, prescribes agroecology as a key way to mitigate the effects of climate change. "Conventional agriculture was failing me as Kabale is degraded," Byaruhanga told the conference. 

Byaruhanga adopted an integrated approach, including planting multipurpose trees to harvest carbon and put it back in the soil where it is needed, using charcoal and biochar to organically control pests and diseases. 

Agroecology combines indigenous knowledge with cutting edge research and technology as a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture. Through this system, water and nutrients are recycled.

At the conference, experts and officials are developing a roadmap and policies to help farmers like Byaruhanga cope with the effects of climate change.

 

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