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

Ferguson Grand Jury Expected to Reconvene

It remains unclear when jurors will reach a decision on whether to indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid