CSA Youth Network

Working towards a resilient environment through climate-smart agriculture


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Celebrating FARA: Commemorating the 15th anniversary of our partner

By: Alejandra Soto (CSAYN Global Unit)

On November 26th the celebrations of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) anniversary were inaugurated in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will continue till the 28th of this month. For this event many activities were prepared under the main theme “Delivering Africa’s Future Through Science-led Agricultural Transformation”, including the launching of the new Strategic Plan for the next five years. The founder of the CSA Youth Network and Liaison to YPARD, Ntiokam Divine is participating in these events, to present our work and the activities the youth is doing in regards to climate-smart agriculture.

CelebrateFARA_DP

This is a very special celebration because FARA is turning 15 years since its launch in 1999. Once the Special Program for African Agricultural Research, an initiative started by the World Bank according to the Forum’s website, FARA has served as a point of contact for many African organizations that work in Agriculture and Development. It is also very important to us, because the CSA Youth Network started with the support of FARA, and many of their members collaborate with us spreading the word among the young people on climate change and smart agriculture action.

During the first day a series of different panels were discussed, from climate change to agriculture and technology in Africa, including an event on youth and climate-smart agriculture where Ntiokam Divine presented our work along with Andrianjafy Rasoanindrainy. Also, among the speakers present today, were Dr. Yemi Akimbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, and Dr. Jimmy Smith, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute.

Congratulations to FARA for their work and achievements in the last 15 years and for their efforts in enhancing African agriculture. We hope that in the future we continue collaborating for the African youth and for a sustainable environment.

During this week we will keep informing you about FARA’s celebration, so keep in touch to get the latest news.

For more information on Celebrating FARA please visit the event’s website: http://www.cvent.com/events/fara-celebration/event-summary-d6f2aa6a8f30480f89337e9cd1550251.aspx


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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


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CSA and the Youth: Understanding climate resilient practices

In recent years much attention has been given to the changing climates and the impact it has on the environment, hence the creation of different measurements of mitigation and adaptation. While it is evident that all aspects of our lives are affected by environmental threats, there is one that bears major impacts and importance because our food security and world’s livelihood depend on it: agriculture.

Today, agriculture faces three challenges:

1) Ensuring food security through increased productivity and income

2) Adapting to climate change

3) Contributing to climate change mitigation.

A Climate-smart mentality for a sustainable and resilient agriculture

According to the FAO’s website, CSA is “agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goal” (1).

In 2010 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the concept, promoting it as an approach to develop technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve food security under climate change. While CSA has become an increasingly accepted approach, considerable knowledge, investment and stakeholder participation is required to effectively implement CSA. Since its creation, CSA rapidly spread among developing countries as an alternative method for facing climate variability and adapting to it.

Credit: Neil Palmer

Credit: Neil Palmer

What about the youth and people living with disabilities?

The role of the youth in contributing towards a sustainable world is very important. Today’s adolescents and youth are 1.8 billion strong and comprise one quarter of the world’s rising population. Youth play an important role in shaping social and economic development, challenging social norms and values and building the solid foundation of the world’s future.

Raising youth’s awareness towards CSA will not only make them conscious of the existing challenges related to agriculture, but it will also give them the necessary information needed to mitigate these challenges and contribute to the development and adoption of climate smart practices in agriculture. Building youth knowledge and skills in CSA will  empower and strengthen their ability to address existing challenges related to agricultural livelihoods, enabling them to make a positive contribution to their societies and countries.

On the another hand, people living with disabilities make up part of the society and for a long time they have been excluded because there was no advocacy on their plights, therefore we shall ensure inclusion is our goal to reaffirm the success of this project. As articulated by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, “Let us work together to make this world a better place where no one will be left behind” (2).

The aim of our work is to ensure that all relevant key stakeholders are actively engaged in seeking solutions for a better and more sustainable world. Hence our particular interest in youth and people living with disabilities, who we know can make a difference.

Sources:

FAO. (2011). Climate-Smart Agriculture. In FAO: http://www.fao.org/climatechange/climatesmartpub/en/

Ban Ki-moon. (2014). Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 15 June 2014 – Secretary-General’s remarks at Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 and China. In UN Secretary-General: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7786


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Welcome to the CSA Youth Network!

The CSA youth network is a group of volunteers who have strong interest in Climate-Smart Agriculture, and the environment. Our main goal is to educate the youth and people living with disabilities on CSA practices, increasing productivity, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Our project originated from the concern of young Africans on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, food security, the environment, and an interest to create awareness on young people. This way, thanks to the initiative of Divine Ntiokam and Vagish Ramborun, with the support from organizations such as FAO and FARA Africa, the network started to take form and spread to other corners of the planet, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America.

Credit: Plant for the PlanetOne of the main objectives of the network is to sensitize, and build productive capacity in young people and persons living with disabilities on CSA concepts for adaptation, reducing emissions (mitigation) and increasing food productivity in a sustainable manner. We believe that by raising awareness among young men and women and endorsing CSA practices, especially in rural communities, the opportunities of developing a resilient environment will grow.

We welcome volunteers who have a strong passion for climate change issues and CSA, regardless of their backgrounds and locations. If you would like to join our community of practice please fill the form located in the next link: https://dgroups.org/fao/csa_event/youth

For more information:

http://www.fao.org/climatechange/climatesmart/en/

http://www.fara-africa.org/