Category Archives: Issue: Climate Change

AFA calls for communication with, by and for family farmers at the XIII UN roundtable on ComDev


“The challenge to the international community and to decision makers at all levels of society is to work with family farmers, through their farmers organizations… Communication for Development is key to enable social inclusion and put forward our own development agenda.”

This was the message delivered by AFA Secretary General and FAO Special Ambassador for the IYFF in Asia Pacific Esther Penunia in a keynote address at the XIII United Nations Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development with the theme “Enabling social inclusion to support food and nutrition security, resilient rural livelihoods and family farming” last September 16 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. Continue reading AFA calls for communication with, by and for family farmers at the XIII UN roundtable on ComDev

AFA attends seminar on climate services for farmers

In order to adapt effectively and help mitigate climate change, farmers need climate information and services.

The WMO and WFO organized a seminar on climate services in Niigata Japan last April 14.

AFA attended the meeting through its KM Officer in order to learn more about climate services and its relevance to farmers.

During the seminar, AFA was able to share some of its initiatives on climate adaptation and the climate information and services that its members need.

Robert Carlson of WFO welcomed everyone to the seminar and highlighted the importance of climate services for farmers. He emphasized the farming is not public service but is a business that farmers engage in for their families and their livelihoods.

Robert Stefanski presented WMO’s agrometeorological services and the importance of climate forecasting for farmers.

WMO produced a draft publication called Climate Easy in order to disseminate information on climate change impact on agriculture and the different adaptation and mitigation efforts that can be undertaken by farmers.

During the workshop, an exercise on agricultural decision making using a computerized system of risk assessment and climate forecasting was done.

It helped participants appreciate the importance of good quality climate information, which always affects farm level decisions.

Peter Prins of LTO Netherlands presented their climate project in Cambodia and Uganda, which underscore the importance of making climate information accessible and useful to farmers.

Sok Sotha of CFAP and a representative from Uganda shared the results of their projects.

The feedback gathered from participants will be used to further improve WMO’s climate information and services for farmers.

API sets up relief center in Jakarta, seeks support for flood victims

The office of Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API) is in evacuation mode after the heavy flooding caused by unusually strong monsoon rains in Jakarta last week. API’s office is located at the banks of Ciliwung River, one of Jakarta’s thirteen rivers. They have moved their office equipment and documents to the second floor after flood waters rose last January 16. Around 18,000 people have been evacuated and 11 have died due to the floods. In API’s area, there are around 300 households that were affected.

In response to the flooding, API, together with other people’s organizations in Jakarta, has set up a relief center to help the people affected by the floods. API’s staff will be working in these relief centers in the next two weeks. They are accepting donations in cash or kind. Direly needed are basic aid supplies, such as, ready to eat food such as bread and instant noodles, drinking water, rice, milk and diapers for infants, sanitary napkins for women, soaps, blankets, clothes, etc.

The city is flooded every year during the monsoon season. In 2007, it experienced one of the worst flooding in recent years. Experts have since then warned that flooding would be a more frequent occurrence in Jakarta. This year’s flooding is expected to surpass that of 2007, and more rains are expected in the coming days.

Partners who wish to send their support to API and the affected communities in Jakarta may get in touch with Ms. Ika Krishnayanti through e-mail address and mobile numbers 62-08128387971, 62-085888351668

Click here for more photos

(With report and photos from Ika Krishnayanti)

CSOs call on governments to address real problems of climate change

“We believe that the key problem still remains with emissions from developed countries, which are already contributing to climate change and causing impacts on food production. Developed countries must urgently and immediately reduce their emissions and provide financing according to their obligations under the UNFCCC. For developing countries, adaptation has to be the main priority, adequately supported by developed country public finance. The agricultural challenges faced by the poorest and most vulnerable, in Africa but also in Asia, in small-island states, in Latin America, are adaptation challenges.”

This is part of the statement read by Lutfiyah Hanim of Aliansi Petani Indonesia in behalf of civil society organizations (CSOs), during the concluding session of the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change: Hunger for Action, held last September 3-7, in Hanoi, Vietnam, organized by the Governments of Vietnam and Netherlands, together with FAO and WB.

Besides Ms. Hanim, AFA was represented by Kanisorn Punyaprasiddhi of Sor Kor Por Thailand, Dr. Iqbal Kabir and Alaudin Sikder from Kendrio Krishok Moitree-Bangladesh and AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia. AFA participants worked with CSOs including SRD Vietnam, Third World Network, Oxfam International, SEARICE, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and IFOAM during the conference.

The AFA Sec Gen, reading from the CSO statement delivered during the ministerial roundtable, also called on the ministers to urgently direct resources “towards adaptation, particularly to help small-scale family farmers. Sustainable agroecological and organic approaches are the most important, reliable set of practices to protect yields and ensure resilience in the face of climate change. It is these approaches and producers that should be supported significantly with climate/public finance.”

At the start of the conference, the CSOs distributed a statement signed by 120 organizations, bearing the same messages.

Click here to download the CSO statement Sept 3
Click here to download the final CSO statement Sept 7

OXFAM, SEAFISH, AFA co-organize forum on food security and climate change adaptation

Esther Penunia, Secretary General, AFA

A forum-workshop entitled “Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation of Small Scale Farmers and Fishers in Southeast Asia” was held in Quezon City, Philippines, last Nov 24-25. The workshop was co-organized by Oxfam International’s East Asia office, Southeast Asia Fisheries for Justice (SEAFISH), a regional alliance of NGO and fisher groups, and Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional alliance of national farmers organizations.

AFA participants included Oun Sophal and Meas Somica from Farmer and Nature Net (Cambodia), Lutfiyah Hanim from Aliansi Petani Indonesia, Rene Cerilla from PAKISAMA (Philippines),Vicky Serrato and Esther Penunia from the secretariat.

Small scale farmers and fishers are trying to adapt to climate change as much as they can. In this workshop, participants shared various adaptation strategies. Here are some of what they shared:

Continue reading OXFAM, SEAFISH, AFA co-organize forum on food security and climate change adaptation

Available for Download: AFA Issue Paper on International Climate Change Negotiations

International Climate Change Negotiations: Ensuring Support for Adaptation and Mitigation Measures in Smallholder Agriculture, Vol. 2 No. 4, December 2009.

In December 2009, women in Sayphusi, a village in the province of Attapeu in Laos, were busy washing dried mud from their paddy grains. They had very little to eat, and the muddied paddy – the only remnant from their rice crops which were damaged by the storm that struck their village in October – was the only food available. The storm caught them unaware and swept away their homes, crops and livestock.

Laos is a landlocked country and is very rarely visited by typhoons. But lately, farmers have noticed a lot of changes in the season. Like many countries in Southeast Asia, they can no longer rely on the natural flow of the seasons to guide their planting. It rains when it is not supposed to rain, and many times, the dry period stays longer and is much warmer than expected.

Continue reading Available for Download: AFA Issue Paper on International Climate Change Negotiations

Available for Download: Participatory Research on Gender Dimensions of Food Security amidst Climate Change

(This paper is the output of the participatory research done by AFA through its commissioned researcher Ms. Riza Bernabe and includes secondary as well as primary data gathered from village, district and national consultations in Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia and Laos that were held in 2009 and 2010.)

Addressing the problem of hunger in a world where food production systems, particularly in developing countries, are being eroded and undermined by climate change is one of the most important challenges of our time. Studies by the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), Oxfam and the Asian Development Bank, among others, underscore the significance of climate change impacts on agriculture and food production (FAO 2007, Oxfam 2009, ADB 2009).

Continue reading Available for Download: Participatory Research on Gender Dimensions of Food Security amidst Climate Change

Recycling of used cooking oil in to biofuel becoming more popular

Malaysian environmental activist Aida Ismah contributed the following article on the growing popularity of used cooking oil as a source of biofuel, which can help reduce green house emissions in the atmosphere:

Biofuel is considered as the purest, easiest and most available fuel on the planet. Biofuel is looked upon as a way of energy security which stands as an alternative to fossil fuels that is currently limited in availability. Biofuel has made most vehicle engines to perform more efficiently and even last longer. This fuel is also very clean and environmentally friendly, whereby, the usage of biofuel, unlike fossil fuel like petroleum and diesel, is the best way to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. As a result, the rate of global warming can be reduced. Biofuel can be a lot more economical because it can be manufactured at home in the form of a gas, to be used for cooking purposes. This fuel also encourages the recycling process as it is manufactured from waste products. For example, used cooking oil.

Read the full article at Indonesia Organic

In the News: Adapting agriculture to climate change

Farming is dependent on the weather. Too little rain can ruin a crop and flooding can destroy fields. Some plants thrive in hot climates and cannot cope with frost, while others are the opposite. Climate is not the same as weather, which is notoriously unpredictable. However the overall weather trends that make climate are changing. Agriculture needs to adapt in order to cope with these changes, and quickly.

Global warming does not just mean everywhere getting gradually hotter, climate is much more complex. Climate change is leading to more rain is some places, less rain in others, storms where previously they were a rarity, hotter summers, and counter-intuitively colder winters.

Agriculture the world over is being affected. While individual countries are experiencing different changes there are some basic changes that need to be made to farming methods worldwide.

Read the full article at Helium

In the News: Analysis: Extreme weather plagues farming, talks flounder

Reuters) – Global wheat markets reeling from Russian droughts, thousands of cattle killed by heat in Kansas, and countless crop acres wiped out by floods in Pakistan are glimpses of what can be expected as the world struggles to battle climate change.

But as concerns mount over extreme weather hitting global food systems this year, governments are no closer to forging a pact to fight climate change.

Read the full story at Reuters

In the News: Feeling the heat: Climate change forcing Filipino farmers to adapt

In the Philippines, farmers are already feeling the heat. While climate change is already hitting millions of vulnerable people in the country, farmers, too, are being affected—where drought, flooding, hunger and disease are becoming more common than ever. Our correspondent Imelda V. Abaño embarked on a mission to look into the plight of the farmers in the country and witness firsthand what they are facing in times of the changing climate

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—From upland vegetable and rice farms in the Cordillera to coconut and tobacco plantations in Albay and Ilocos Sur, signs that all is not well with the weather are telling.

Benguet vegetable growers have to confront disrupted planting cycles that result in crop failures.

Farmers tending the Ifugao rice terraces have started witnessing the crumbling of earth paddies that have withstood inclement weather for centuries.

In Albay low yield from their coconut and abaca plantations has been forcing Agta farmers to leave their farms for odd jobs in cities and other urban areas.

Up north in Ilocos Sur, farmers have been hurting from the low quality of tobacco leaves that their farms produce due to the erratic weather.

Read the full story at Business Mirror

In the News: Organic farming best in fight vs climate change

Organic farming is an agricultural production system that is best suited in succeeding in the battle against climate change.

Prof. Oscar B. Zamora of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB), a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines, said promoting organic farming is a sound option for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

He said organic agriculture production systems are less prone to extreme weather condition, such as drought, flood and waterlogging.

Zamora, who is also dean of the UPLB Graduate School, explained that organic farming addresses the major effects of climate change, namely, increased occurrence of extreme weather events, increased water stress, and problems related to soil quality.

“It reduces the vulnerability of the farmers to climate change and variability,” he explained.

Read the full story at Manila Bulletin

In the News: Global warming threatens Asian rice production: study

WASHINGTON — Even modest rises in global temperatures will drive down rice production in Asia, the world’s biggest grower of the cereal grain that millions of poor people depend on as a staple food, a study published Monday warned.

Researchers from the United States, the Philippines and the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) looked at the impact of rising daily minimum and maximum temperatures on irrigated rice production between 1994-1999 in 227 fields in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

They found that the main culprit in cutting rice yields was higher daily minimum temperatures.

Read the full story from AFP

In the News (Philippines): NGO promotes ducks as solution to global warming, rice insufficiency

(Like the System of Rice Intensification or SRI, the Rice-Ducks Integrated Farming System or IRDFS being promoted by an NGO in the Philippines, is another organic farming technology that small scale farmers can adopt and benefit from. And with the unprecedented problems related to climate change and global food sufficiency, governments and development agencies should ensure that these environment and farmer-friendly technologies are fully supported. — Admin)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—While the world’s leaders are scratching their heads and expensive think tanks wrack their brains trying to find answers to global warming and food security, a nongovernment organization here is propagating a solution that hit these two problems at one go, but has not talked much about its successes.

Instead, the Philippine Agrarian Reform Foundation for National Development (Parfund) Inc. is letting its ducks do all the “quacking.”

Through its Rice-Ducks Integrated Farming System (IRDFS), Parfund is slowly spreading the gospel that rural Filipino rice farmers can feed the nation with its staple diet and help save the planet from the effects of global warming.

“The Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System is a proven organic-farming technology that is being propagated by Parfund to improve rice-production performance and ensure rice self-sufficiency in the country,” said Jose Noel “Butch” Olano, Parfund executive director.

Read the full story at Business Mirror

In the News: Thailand’s rice production to take a battering from drought as water crisis looms

BANGKOK — The world’s largest rice exporter, Thailand, is facing major losses to its next crop of rice and a worsening water crisis because of the worst drought in nearly two decades.

Chanchai Rakthananon, president of the Thai Rice Mills Association, said Tuesday that rice output for the next crop cycle, ending in August, could fall to as little as two million tons from a previously forecast five million tons.

“It didn’t rain when it needed to rain,” said Angsumal Sunalai, director general of the Thai Meteorological Department. He blamed global climate change for the problem.

Chalit Damroengsak, director general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said there would normally be three to four monsoon storms a year during the annual rainy season, “but farmers will be lucky if there is one this year.”

Thailand produces about 20 million tons of rice annually in two to four crop cycles, exporting about 9 million metric tons and consuming the same amount.

Read the full story

In the News (Indonesia): Ensuring Redd is not mere pulp fiction

RECENT developments in curbing high levels of forest loss around the world are promising. They are significant because deforestation, including the clearing of trees from peat swamps in South-east Asia, is the biggest source of global warming emissions from human activity, after fossil fuel burning.

Indonesia has the eighth largest forest area on the planet and half the global total of tropical peatland. It is the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from deforestation.

So Indonesia’s announcement last month that, starting next January, it will place a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear forests and peatlands is a potentially important advance in a programme to help developing countries protect forests. In fact, advocates of the United Nations-backed forest preservation scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd), argue that it is the fastest and cheapest way to cut greenhouse emissions.

Read the full story

Views: What Really Happened in Copenhagen?

When the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “negotiations” ended in Copenhagen, a colleague from ATTAC France remarked that we might have just witnessed the tipping point of the end of capitalism and the New World Order.

On one hand, there was the official conference representing a corporate- and market-driven system being propped up by governments responsible for this crisis. On the other, there were the thousands that gathered from across the globe to protest false solutions and promote real ones. The road to Copenhagen for many activists began on September 18, 2008 when over 100 people from 21 countries came together to discuss mobilizing for Copenhagen. Over the next year, meetings were held in Poznan, Poland (2008 UN Climate Conference), in Belém, Brazil during the 2009 World Social Forum, and in Copenhagen. Somewhere in the midst of those meetings, Climate Justice Action was formed and became the major network for organizing the demonstrations in Copenhagen. Other Danish organizations pulled together the alternative Peoples’ Summit Klimaforum09, which featured workshops, debates, art, and serious discussions that a new world was not only possible, but necessary. An estimated 10,000 people took part each day in Klimaforum09 activities.

Read the full article at Z Magazine

ActionAid and Food First Report: Smallholder Solutions to Hunger, Poverty and Climate Change

With the worsening of the global food crisis, general international agreement has emerged regarding the importance of smallholder agriculture in the battle against hunger and poverty. However, public debate has been highly restricted and increasingly dominated by conventional, market-led, and corporate approaches to aid and agricultural development. These positions call for a return to the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round, a new “Green Revolution” and the spread of biotechnology to the countries of the Global South. In global and national policy circles, these “business as usual” approaches are eclipsing many proven, highly effective, farmer-driven agroecological and redistributive approaches to agricultural development.

Sustainable, smallholder agriculture represents the best option for resolving the fourfold food-finance-fuel and climate crises. Although conventional wisdom assumes small family farms are backward and unproductive, agroecological research has shown that given a chance, small farms are much more productive than large farms. Small, ecological farms help cool the planet and provide many important ecosystem services; they are a reservoir for biodiversity, and are less vulnerable to pests, disease and environmental shock.

Just as small farms can be more productive and environmentally beneficial, there is also strong evidence that small farm communities can be far superior to large, mechanised operations for improving rural livelihoods. However, this potential is thwarted because smallholders are systematically disenfranchised of their basic human rights and dispossessed of their wealth and basic resources. If smallholders are to be the social and productive base for ending hunger in the Global South, then the rights of smallholders especially women—must be ensured. Ensuring smallholder rights and the equitable distribution of resource entitlements in the countryside not only implies increasing the levels of aid and investment flowing to smallholders, it implies the redistribution of public investment in agriculture, including land reform.

Download the full report at Food First