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Farmers may be hit by climate change

india Updated: Feb 26, 2008 01:36 IST
Kumkum Chadha

Small holder farmers and indigenous people in the developing world are likely to be severely hit by climate change. Apart from climate change being real, it will become worse thus impacting the poorest and the vulnerable.

Trends indicate that agricultural productivity will decline upto 25 per cent. In some countries, decline in yield in rain-fed agriculture could be as much as 50 per cent. Crop failure, distress sale of livestock and livelihood insecurity are some of the factors in which climate change will affect small holder farmers.

It is against this backdrop that the international community as a whole and agencies need to coordinate to bring to the table their expertise and resources to support small holder farmers.

Given UN rural development agency, IFAD’s experience of working with poor rural people in developing countries, it is best equipped to respond to climate change challenges through building capacities by “designing climate proof investments” and resource mobilization.

Consequently it was called upon to examine ways of promoting insurance for small holders as a means of adaptation to climate change.

At its recently concluded annual Governing Council meeting, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), deliberated the future of the small holder agriculture against climate change challenges. Delegates from 164 countries converged here to deliberate new challenges of climate change, biofuel expansion and rising food prices. IFAD was called upon to influence the on going climate change negotiations to favour small scale farming. Under what was termed as the “biofuel revolution” IFAD was seen as an enabler for the rural: “All of its strategic priorities should be pro-poor, pro-nature, pro-livelihoods and pro women” the experts recommended. As for rising prices, it was recommended that IFAD should help enable poor rural producers to negotiate with governments and urban elite representatives. The two day meeting coincided with IFAD’s thirtieth anniversary.