IFAD Newsroom - Seven ways for seven days

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IFAD Newsroom - Seven ways for seven days

Seven ways for seven days

With one week left before Copenhagen, IFAD reminds you of the ways smallholder farmers are coping with climate change

Rome, 30 November 2009 - The 500 million smallholder farms that feed one-third of humanity are facing the impact of climate change. Severe weather is already ravaging their crops, washing away their harvests and killing their livestock. Millions of people are at risk of hunger if these smallholder farmers do not get support in coping with climate change.
With support from IFAD smallholder farmers – the custodians of biodiversity – are already facing the challenges head on. Here are seven examples:

In Yemen's wind swept valleys, smallholder farmers are using age-old terracing techniques to produce more high value crops such as coffee, while using precious water more efficiently.

In China, they are using weather-index based insurance sto manage climate risks that could impact their agricultural activities.

On the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, they are diversifying into agriculture and microenterprises, so they are not solely dependent on fishing.

In Eritrea, they are using bee-keeping for honey as an income back-up in times of crop failure due to droughts.  

In eastern Morocco, where drought and overgrazing has degraded vast areas, herders are improving soil cover and regeneration of animal feed through better rangeland management.

In Peru on the harsh plateau of the Andes, water from rain and melting ice is being trapped in pits so it can be used for irrigation.

In Burkina Faso, they are adopting soil and water conservation techniques and agroforestry to better protect their natural resources.

While smallholder farmers are doing what they can to reduce the impact of climate change on their lives, it is not something they can tackle alone. IFAD believes there must be increased resources for smallholder farmers now and rural development must be central to any climate change discussions.

Watch "President's dilemma"

The Pacific islands of Kiribati were among the last places to be colonized by humans. But now, because of rising sea levels, they may be among the first to be abandoned. Should Kiribati President Anote Tong surrender to climate change and evacuate? Can anything be done to help him buy more time?

Press release No.: IFAD/61/09

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 350 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).