News / Africa

Climate Change: Alleviating Poverty Helps Developing Countries Adapt

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Addressing poverty is the “single best way” to help developing countries adapt to climate change, according to a new report from IFPRI, the International Food policy Research Institute.

The study - Food Security, Farming and Climate Change to 2050 – was released Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

IFPRI senior research fellow Jerry Nelson, lead author of the study, says, “If you have higher income, you’re able to deal with whatever shocks come your way.  You’re able to finance shortfalls in your food production, for example.  Or you’re able to invest in some productivity improvements, like small-scale irrigation…new seed technology or management techniques.”

While there would be a bit of uncertainty in those investments, he says, “If you have the resources you can afford to do some experimentation.  So, that’s why for small farmers, and large farmers for that matter, having more income…is a way to deal with uncertainties that we expect coming out of the climate change future.”

Poverty first

Some studies say to alleviate poverty, climate change should be addressed first.  The IFPRI report takes a different approach.

“I would not want to say that we should not look at climate change.  In fact, I think looking at climate change is a critical activity for governments and for the private sector.”

However, he adds, “We have uncertainties about the specific nature of the climate change at any particular location.  So, a small farmer in Madagascar, for example, may experience in 20 years more precipitation in a particular time of the year or less precipitation.  And so, any particular investment that’s targeted just for climate change runs the risk of being the wrong investment.”

The report says by increasing farmer incomes, there’s greater flexibility to deal with whatever happens.

Finding ways to produce more food

The IFPRI report finds “improving crop productivity can counteract the negative effects of climate change on food production, prices and access.”

Nelson says there’s a variety of ways to do that, besides boosting crops per unit of land.

“We have to have products that can respond to a likely increase in variability of climate changes and temperature fluctuations and changes in precipitation,” he says.

IFPRI makes similar recommendations for livestock, breeding hardy animals better able to deal with climate change.

“But we can’t stop there,” Nelson says, “because a higher production by a farmer is no good unless he or she can get it to the marketplace.  So governments need to invest in the physical infrastructure.”

This includes roads and railroads.

“And they also need to invest in the institutional infrastructure,” he says, “That’s everything from marketing institutions that provide support to farmers and to the marketing system within a country to providing the human capital and the physical capital to take the research output from the international research centers and transform them to activities and products that are useful for small farmers.”

Nelson says action on IFPRI’s recommendation should begin now because there is a “time lag” between the when you start and “when you’re actually able to put something in the hands of farmers.”

Jerry nelson is also a team leader at the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program at CGIAR, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.  CGIAR is a global network linking development researchers and funders.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid