How does climate change affect farmers and agriculture? Today, Caritas Internationalis and the World Farmer Organization led an interesting panel on mitigation and adaptation to climate change in agriculture. My attention was particularly towards Mr. Charles Ogang, Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNAFFE) who talked on behalf of WFO. Mr. Ogang presented the adverse impacts of climate change in agriculture in his country, Uganda. He stated that climate change is inducing changes in weather patterns: heavy rains, droughts, landslides and floods are affecting crop cycles in agriculture, causing delays on the production chain with disastrous socio-economic consequences. Therefore, adaptation and mitigation plan should be introduced in national policies in order to build resilience.
UNAFFE conducted a survey among farmers in Uganda to better understand the challenges they are facing. Most of the farmers declared that they became unable to anticipate seasons because of unpredictable changes in weather. Moreover, when the droughts are prolonged for months, coffee crops dry before producing, causing enormous loss of money to smallholder farmers. Disaster preparedness needs to be strengthened.
Mr. Ogang highlighted the role of women in fighting the adverse consequences of climate change. Women need to be included in resilience plans and they can be a great asset to society by managing water, efficiently using it and protecting crops from floods and droughts.
Among recommendations, Mr. Ogang stated that crop insurance should be available for farmers and locals should receive training to adopt sustainable methods of farming.
Letizia Sozzi is a Columbia University Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution 2015 Candidate. She currently works as a consultant for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and is a COP20 Delegation Member.