By Geoffrey Kamadi
A project to help smallscale farmers adapt to likely climatic changes long before they take place has just begun in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Known as the Climate Analogue Location in Eastern and Southern Africa (CALESA) project, it will help farmers evaluate agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change, through the use of ‘analogue locations’ – sites with similar rainfall totals and patterns, but that differ by 2-3°C.
“As climate change begins to have noticeable impacts, farmers will have to progressively adapt their farming practices,” explains Dr Dave Harris, a principal scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). “They will need to use the most appropriate technologies and farm management practices to alleviate the effects of the predicted temperature rise.”
Four sites in each country have been chosen – two at the wet end of the spectrum and two at the dry end – where maize, sorghum, beans, pigeonpea, groundnut and cowpea will be tested. “Varieties farmers are growing now are likely to become less suitable for those temperature regimes,” Harris cautions. “These trials will provide detailed data which will be used to refine crop computer models to predict how each crop will perform when there is a difference of 2-3°C.” This will then be used to identify and breed crop varieties best suited to the projected climatic changes and to identify the most cost-effective crop management practices, relevant to warmer conditions.” Click to continue reading
Source: New Agriculturist