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October 16, 2012

Small holder farmers in East Africa innovate climate change-coping strategies

Sometimes the news coverage about climate change and agriculture gives the impression that farmers are sitting around waiting for 'experts' at various conferences to come and show them how to cope with rapid changes in climate. But the fact is that constant adaptation to all sorts of variables is an integral part of farming.

This is confirmed by a study analyzing changing farming practices in East Africa amongst a sample of the region's small holder farmers in response to climate change

700 households were surveyed in four countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda).

Amongst the study's findings:
* 55 per cent of the households had taken up at least one crop that had a shorter growing cycle.

* 56% grew at least one drought-tolerant variety that could survive periods of heat and water scarcity. Some households had also picked up agroforestry, intercropping and crop rotation practices.

* 34 per cent of households had reduced their livestock herd sizes and 48 per cent are specifically growing crops for animal feed, rather than feeding them on existing crops.

African Agriculture































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