Session 5


Climate, Agriculture and Food Security

Agriculture and food security in the developing countries is mainly rain-fed and therefore highly vulnerable to the behavior of climate variability/variations. The main challenge confronting agriculture is how to respond, adapt and be more resilient to the vagaries associated with climate/weather variations. Climate variations are likely to exacerbate the struggle for food security unless new crop varieties are developed to help farmers adapt to these variations. There is need for timely, accurate and reliable weather and climate information, and prediction products, to enable communities and governments make timely and informed decisions as well as sound strategic plans.

One of the consequences of climate/weather variations is the increased frequency of extreme climate events such as droughts and floods. This is likely to present very negative pressure on crop production. Therefore, there is need for efforts to develop new varieties of crops for drought prone regions and those that can tolerate prolonged heavy rainfall and flooding.

Generally, pastoralists and marginal agriculturists are considered to be the most vulnerable to effects of climate because their livelihoods have restrictions imposed by limited use of weather and climate information and their economic base is very weak. For example, in late 1999, climate related extreme food insecurity jeopardized the health and livelihoods of up to 8 million Ethiopians in large parts of the southern and south-eastern pastoral areas, and in many agricultural areas of the northern and southern regions. Urgent relief measures were required to save lives.

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