CSA Youth Network

Working towards a resilient environment through climate-smart agriculture


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The CSA Youth Network Present at the Global Alliance for CSA Inaugural Meeting

By: Aishu Narasimhadevara

Credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

On 24 September 2014, the inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, United States of America. The event was during the United Nations General Assembly when many events were going on to come up with global solutions to solve world problems. Representatives from various governments, non-governmental organisations and companies gathered together to join the effort to implement climate-smart agriculture.

It was interesting to meet people from various organisations. I had the opportunity to learn more about agriculture, which was fascinating. Learning about different methods used in agriculture to grow more crops was very interesting. I learned about resilient crops and the importance of landscapes. It was fascinating to hear from various experts about agriculture.

The first part and second part of the meeting had representatives from different countries and organisations who spoke about their countries and the efforts they have taken in order to implement CSA. The event included many distinguished speakers, including: Her Excellency Ms. Sharon Dijksma, the Dutch Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Frank Rijsberman, the CEO of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and His Excellency Mr. Akinwuni Adesina, the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture. The various measures countries have taken towards climate change are remarkable. For instance: Latin America has an initiative to restore twenty million hectares of land for agriculture. Another measure includes the African Landscape Action Plan which is for sustainable rural development and to have landscapes to be taken into consideration. Farmers in India have weather insurance, and in the state of Maharashtra, there are 1,000 climate-smart villages. Everybody at the event was very enthusiastic about promoting CSA; their passion, efforts and dedication was evident.

Credit: Aishu Narasimhadevara

The third part of the event had speakers from the private sector. One speaker mentioned that farmers, ranchers, and fishers voices are being heard. Some other methods in climate-smart agriculture, the speakers mentioned were about having trees and shrubs into an agricultural system and to incorporate double-story agriculture.

In order for this movement to be successful, it is important for governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together. The last part of the event was a panel discussion amongst all three sectors. All the panelists agreed that climate-smart agriculture is the future and in order to protect the Earth, we must take action now. One of the speakers mentioned a quote by Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict future is to create it.” Everybody who attended the event enjoyed and was eager to join the CSA movement.

Our world is a beautiful and diverse place with its flora and fauna. But, due to pollution, degradation, and other activities, the climate patterns of the Earth have been affected, impacting at the same time the ecology of the Earth and the livelihoods of its inhabitants. The population of the world is increasing and in order to provide food to everybody it is important to develop agriculture that will use less resources and that will be sustainable.  Climate-smart agriculture is one step towards making our world a better place.

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Case Study from the South-East region of Mauritius: Identification of CSA practices by students

By: Vagish Ramborun

During a site visit conducted in the coastal villages of Mauritius namely Petit-Sable and Grand- Sable in the Southeast region of Mauritius, some 25 young students from the University of Mauritius doing a degree Agriscience and Technology were exposed to several climate-smart practices that vegetable farmers have adopted as their farming strategies. Among them the students were able to recognize practices such as mulching, multi-cropping, algal compost, kitchen waste compost, fallowing and run off farming among many others. The young students also received part of the experience of a farmer who has over 30 years of experience in the fields.

(Credit: Vagish Ramborun)

(Credit: Vagish Ramborun)

One of the innovative methods adopted by local farmers was the use of old clothes as mulching. Use of clothes not only help to retain moisture in the soil but has also a very long life span and therefore can be used for a very long time. Being biodegradable they do not pose any danger to the environment.

Other local practices that were identified:

  • Fallowing
  • Green mulching
  • Multi-cropping
  • Intercropping
  • Use of leguminous crop

Vulnerability of the farmers to climate change

Though the farmers have adopted a lot of CSA practices, they are still very vulnerable to climate change. They heavily rely on underground water for irrigation purposes, but when the sea level rises during high tides, sea water gets in their wells that they have to dig plus the salinity of the water increases. Thus, the water becomes unsuitable for irrigation and hence the crops are heavily affected. However during heavy rainfall fresh water table rises and consequently the salinity of the underground water decreases and the farmers can use them again for irrigation. One observational practice that the farmers have adopted is the presence of tadpoles in the wells. According to them tadpoles disappear when the water becomes too saline and therefore when the tadpoles disappear they do not use the water for irrigation.

With the impact of climate change it is projected that the sea water level will rise and there will be fluctuations in the rainfall pattern. These occurrences can have a major impact on the livelihood of the farmers from that region. If sea water level rises saline water will penetrate more into the water table hence increasing the salinity of the water and coupled with reduction in rainfall, the farmers will no longer be able to sustain plant growth.

Credit: Vagish Ramborun

Credit: Vagish Ramborun