Even rural farmers should know the dangers of climate change

If reports that 2015 has been the warmest year on record are not already bad, then what is? And where does it leave the world? That the environment in which we live and go about our day-to-day business is changing for worse.

It is becoming hotter. Put in basic terms, the Earth temperature is rising because of human-made activities.

Cutting down trees for use as cooking fuel, carbon dioxide emission and all are contributing to a warming World. Thus, this negative impact is being felt more by farmers living in the countryside, many of whom may not be sure of how to start reversing this effect.

So what shall the rural farmer be looking out for in the Paris climate summit? How will human activities be carried out in a manner that helps to alter global temperature?

To suppress the threat posed by this phenomenon-climate change, here are some interesting talking points.

A rural farmer probably finds talk of climate change as just another government programme. Their biggest bother is to have farm harvest available to feed the family.

Then a few measures of seeds can be preserved to be planted come the next wet season. So once the subsistence farmer has something to eat and plant, a few families carry a bag or two of surplus harvest to the roadside and sell to get money.

From that money they bring home a few litres of paraffin and cooking oil. That is the routine for many rural farmers, and it has worked comfortably. So why should a farmer pick interest in climate change debates?

He must be involved. To be able to anticipate climate change effects on his crop yield and respond accordingly. Heavy rains or very thirsty farm lands mean his crops are not favoured. And so there will be little or nothing available to harvest. Which means the livelihood of families is threatened. Talk to any rural farmer.

You will see the big knowledge gap that still remains between the outcomes of such climate change debates and the farmer, who keeps on the ground tending their farm fields every year.

They need to know what crops to plant in season variance. So the message from Paris summit should explore all the climate-clever ideas.

It is from such meetings that policy makers take data collection and analysis seriously. Data on temperature, rainfall, water discharge and the general hydrology of an area gathered over a long time will help a big deal. Such data informs farmers to adapt to season changes.
When such information is made available, farmers make informed choices. And decide whether or not, to plant rain or drought-tolerant crops. Farmers can then be able to alter planting patterns accordingly.

Therefore, as the race to adjust ourselves to beat the negative impact of climate change, farmers should quickly insert themselves in decision-making. So they can beat effects of dry spell or too much rain and harvest enough food.

The pressure on us to keep global warming below 20C has never been felt more than today. Countries must make rural farmers part of the solution to this climate change problem, so that they can produce food in plenty.

And also governments should be able to provide the markets to allow farmers sell their food at favourable prices. It is from such assistance that farmers can achieve improved livelihoods.

Otherwise, losing land fertility and therefore, productivity will result in food insecurity. Everyone should perform their role. That is why the message from the Paris air-conditioned conference rooms must reach trickle down to the subsistence farmer. Then there will be sustainability of food production and the zero-hunger target by 2030 will be well in sight.

Mr Mone is a civil engineer, smone@mail.com


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