Nelly Bassily | June 7, 2010
Sakai, in Kenya’s Eastern Province, is a fairly dry area that relies on the short rainy season for food production. While dry spells are not new in a nation dominated by an arid or semi-arid climate, rising global temperatures are ending the predictability that farmers could count on in the past.
Farm Radio Weekly recently spoke to Dr. Maggie Opondo (quoted in the story) at a Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development workshop in Ottawa. The UN-funded pilot project Dr. Opondo was involved in is called “Integrating Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change into Sustainable Development Policy Planning and Implementation in Southern and Eastern Africa” (ACCESA). You can read a summary of the project on the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Website at: http://www.iisd.org/climate/vulnerability/adaptation_kenya.asp.
Dr. Opondo explained that the drought resilience project established in Sakai in 2006 had two broad goals: “…one was to increase the resilience of communities to drought that is climate change-induced. The second overall goal was to try and show how a pilot project could be used to inform national policy; that is, to bring in climate adaptation issues into sustainable development policies in Kenya.”
A video created about the Sakai pilot project shows farmers being interviewed and showcases the work they did on the project, and the challenges they faced: http://www.iisd.org/climate/vulnerability/video_adaption.asp
As the story points out, sand dams can be particularly useful for farmers in drought-prone areas. Agfax (www.agfax.net) has a podcast that describes sand dams as simple technologies which can store large amounts of clean water throughout the dry season. Sand dams also help reduce the distances travelled by women and children to fetch water for agricultural and domestic consumption: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=214 (Note: you will need to complete a simple online registration for free access to the podcast.)
Perhaps farmers’ groups or other organizations in your community are involved in interesting drought resilience work. If your radio station broadcasts to an area that is currently facing drought-related food shortages, seek out stories of communities or local organizations (such as farmers’ groups) that are working together to adapt to drought. Find out what they have done to improve their food security, including adopting alternative livelihoods, and share these stories to inspire others.
Farm Radio International has produced some very informative scripts about farmers adapting to the climate in drought-prone areas:
“Changing farming production in Africa to adapt to climate change” (Package 84, Script 14, August 2008)
“Farmers have important knowledge about weather and environmental change – Part I: Learning about local signs of drought” (Package 75, Script 5, June 2005)
“Farmers have important knowledge about weather and environmental change – Part II: Preparing for drought” (Package 75, Script 6,
“These Crops will Help you Through the Drought” (Package 54, Script 9,
“Choosing Crops for Drought-Prone Areas” (Package 73, Script 3,
“Sekedo, a drought resistant sorghum for Karamoja” (Package 84, Script 1,