Learning Event No 7, Session 1, ARDD 2011: How can we build the adaptive capacity of vulnerable African farmers by developing response farming practices?
How can we build the adaptive capacity of vulnerableAfrican farmers by developing response farmingpractices? Mary O’Neill IDRC-DFID Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
Evidence of impactParticipatory Action Research with smallholders led to testing ofvarious practices – including improved forecasting information, andagricultural innovations to improve soils and water retention/uptake. Key impacts and evidence:1. Increase in demand for climate information from farmers and district officials – In Kenyan test sites more than 80% of farmers said they’d be willing to pay. In Same,Tanzania– consensus forecasts added to district agricultural budgets.2. Increase in yields, eg. Maize in Ethiopia test sites increased more than 7 fold using new water harvesting/ seeding technology developed with farmer input. In Benin, 300 farmers in 60 field schools found mixing maize and leguminous ground cover improved yield by >40% (soil protection & enrichment to protect against drought)3. Uptake of research findings – In Ethiopia, new water harvesting planter/seeder is being commercialized for wider us; In Benin research findings being integrated in a NAPA follow up project
Going to scale1. National and district level decisions need to be taken with input from the community level. Need participatory processes institutionalized in decision making. Intermediaries such as NGOs and farmers unions play an important linking role.2. Information alone is insufficient. Improved climate info for farmers needs to be packaged with training, and responsive technology transfer (both hard and soft)3. Need smart progress indicators that gauge the effectiveness of adaptation supports – how are households faring? How carbon and input intensive are farming methods