Why should the Agri-Horti sector adapt to climate change?
Climate change has severe effects on the Agri-Horti sector, especially on small and marginal farmers. Although all sectors are affected, but particularly resource- and water dependent sectors are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts – these are oftentimes the backbone of the economy in developing and transitioning countries. Adverse impacts of climate change can hamper and even interrupt entire production process, threatening the bottom line – and ultimately, livelihood sustainability and economic growth. In addition this sector plays an important role for making societies more resilient towards climate change impacts: for example, by ensuring supply of organic products by offering climate sensible products and by contributing to less water requirement type investments for climate change adaptation of precision irrigation etc.
How is the Agri-Horti sector impacted by climate change?
Agri-Horti sector are affected by impacts of climate phenomena like e.g. increasing temperatures, unpredictable and extreme weather events, longer droughts, heavier rainy seasons and others.
What are the benefits for the Agri-Horti sector to adapt to climate change?
Climate change has complex effects on the biophysical processes that underpin agricultural systems, with both negative and positive consequences. Rising atmospheric CO2 concentration, higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns and in frequency of extreme events both affect the natural environment as well as the quantity, quality and stability of food production. Climatic variations affect water resources, soils, pests and diseases, leading to significant changes in agriculture and livestock production. Agri-Horti sector adopting to challenges stemming from climate change will get the following benefits:
– More livelihood opportunities.
– Increase in crop yield.
– Food security.
– Increased GDP especially for agri-horti based economies.
– Efficient use of water resources.
– Better soil management.
What are the main challenges for farmers to adapt to climate change?
Climate change is causing uncertainty where and when its impacts will occur, whereas farmers need to seek predictability to develop their crop strategies and contingent planning. Therefore, it is oftentimes difficult for farmers, and specifically for marginal farmers with their limited resources, to invest in adaptation measures for an uncertain event or gradual change in future. Not only farmers are directly affected by climate change, high dependencies within supply chains increase farmers’ vulnerability even further. In addition, lack of awareness of climate, drought, flood and disaster risks for the agri-horti activities as well as suitable solutions are further barriers to undertake adaptation measures. Also, as many adaptation measures do not have a demonstrable return on hard work, but rather limit costs in the future, there is a lack of knowledge network and capacity of farmers.
How can farmers be supported in adapting to climate change?
Climate change adaptation requires a thorough understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and how a farmers agricultural-horticultural activities and overall strategy are likely to be affected. There are different approaches that can serve farmers to apply to reduce their climate risks (resulting from the potential impact and the likelihood of an event). Tools usually encompass an assessment of the exposure to climate phenomena, as well as an assessment of each phenomenon’s impact on the crops. To do this in a structured way, it is helpful to define impact areas that are then assessed for each catchment. Common impacts include the farmers crop loss, less productivity, value chain market demand etc. The assessment of crops, product and opportunities in these impact areas enables farmers to identify and prioritize possible adaptation measures. Cost-benefit tools or similar decision-making instruments can further support the farmer’s decision on the most beneficial adaptation measures. But