Notes to broadcasters on climate and agriculture

    | September 12, 2011

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    When we hear about climate change affecting farmers, it’s often about challenges caused by higher temperatures. But lower than normal temperatures also pose problems. Generally, farmers are finding weather patterns less predictable. This makes planning more difficult. Farmers know that each crop needs certain minimum temperatures and amounts of rainfall to perform well. Cold weather or frost can delay or halt crop development. In some regions, farmers are already experimenting with crops which may be better suited to drought or cooler conditions.

    For more information on agriculture and climate change, you could browse:

    “One degree over” http://www.economist.com/node/18386161

    “Climate change threatens region’s staple food crop” http://allafrica.com/stories/201103211308.html

    Climate change and agriculture on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_and_agriculture

    Farm Radio International has produced a number of scripts on climate change. You can view the list here: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/climate.asp

    The following FRW news stories look at different aspects of climate change, and what farmers are doing to cope:

    Rwanda: Climate change worries farmers on World Food Day (FRW 131, October 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/10/11/rwanda-climate-change-worries-farmers-on-world-food-day-by-jean-paul-ntezimana-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-rwanda/

    Kenya: Re-discovering cassava during drought (FRW 160, June 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/06/20/kenya-re-discovering-cassava-during-drought-ips-daily-nation/

    Uganda: Drama and song raise awareness of climate change (FRW 118, July 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/07/05/1-uganda-drama-and-song-raise-awareness-of-climate-change-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-uganda/

    Kenya: Farmers use drought-resistant crops and improved access to water to adapt to climate change (FRW 114, June 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/06/07/2-kenya-farmers-use-drought-resistant-crops-and-improved-access-to-water-to-adapt-to-climate-change-farm-radio-weekly-scientific-american/

    Southern Africa: Farmers balance healthy soils and healthy animals in a changing climate (FRW 128, September 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/09/20/southern-africa-farmers-balance-healthy-soils-and-healthy-animals-in-a-changing-climate-ips-terraviva-africa/

    You might also consider producing a call-in and text-in show, or a locally researched news story, on changes in local weather patterns:

    -What differences in seasonal temperature and rainfall patterns have people observed?
    -Have floods and/or droughts been more frequent in the last 20-30 years, or perhaps even the last decade, than in previous decades?
    -What differences in soil properties have been seen in recent decades?
    -What differences in vegetation have been seen, including crops, pasture, and wild plants?