Radio programme: Effects of climate change on smallholder farmers and how they can adapt and mitigate against

Radio programme: Effects of climate change on smallholder farmers and how they can adapt and mitigate against

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As part of the YenKasa Africa radio initiative, we are thrilled to share this week’s feature, which delves into the vital topic of “Effects of climate change on smallholder farmers and how they can adapt and mitigate against” Read our feature to discover valuable insights and expert advice, and then listen to the recorded programme on the YenKasa Africa website in Kenya’s local language, Swahili. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your knowledge and empower your agricultural practices. Happy reading and listening!

The programme, supported by the Farm Forest Smallholder Producer Association of Kenya (FFSPAK), aired on RFM-Radio 99.9 in Kenya, in the local language (Swahili), sparked crucial discussions on how smallholder farmers can adapt and mitigate against the effects of climate change.

Climate change has brought about significant environmental, social, and economic impacts, affecting smallholder farmers in Kenya and beyond. These effects include altered weather patterns, prolonged droughts, crop failure, increased pests and diseases, livestock deaths, and economic instability. To adapt and mitigate these challenges, small-scale farmers can engage in agroforestry practices, tree planting, drought-resistant crop cultivation, soil conservation, organic farming, and landscape restoration. Organizations like the Farm Forestry Smallholder Producers Association of Kenya (FFSPAK) offer support, training, and financial assistance to registered groups of farmers. Access to climate funding requires group participation and adherence to specific criteria, promoting community resilience to climate change. Through collective efforts, communities can effectively address the impacts of climate change and work towards a sustainable future.

The radio interview conversation

Presenter: Could you kindly elaborate on the topic of climate change?

Interviewee: Climate change is the result of prolonged alterations in weather patterns and temperatures. Though these changes may occur naturally, human activities have predominantly driven climate change, particularly through the combustion of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) and vehicular emissions, which generate heat-retaining gases, including carbon dioxide.

Presenter: What impacts has climate change had on the local environment?

Interviewee: Climate change has significantly impacted the environment, particularly in terms of seasonal weather patterns. This has resulted in changes to both short and long rains that farmers heavily relied upon and prolonged droughts during dry seasons. Severe weather patterns such as El-Nino and floods have also been observed. Crop failure due to these changes leads to food scarcity, which can result in starvation for many families. Additionally, pests and diseases are more prevalent in these conditions, leading to increased crop devastation. Wild animals have also suffered from habitat loss, with some species facing extinction. Soil erosion is another major consequence of climate change; with less ground cover available, the soil is carried away by rain and wind, resulting in decreased productivity levels over time. The excess soil is deposited into seas and lakes, causing siltation issues that negatively affect fish production levels, among other things – just some of the effects caused by this phenomenon.

As for its social impacts, there are several ways that climate change affects people’s daily lives, including economic instability due to reduced agricultural yields or losses incurred from natural disasters like floods or hurricanes, etc., which lead directly towards poverty &unemployment rates increasing rapidly throughout affected regions globally. Furthermore, water shortages may arise if sources become scarce or polluted, causing health risks such as dehydration, while extreme temperatures could cause heat stress, potentially leading towards deaths within vulnerable communities, especially children and elderly individuals who cannot tolerate high temperatures very well compared to younger, healthier persons amongst society at large.

Presenter: Could you explain how climate change has affected us socially?

Interviewee: Due to the impacts of climate change, there has been a decline in food production which results in societal poverty. Additionally, the reduced availability of potable water, sufficient irrigation for crop and animal agriculture, and escalating living costs have accelerated many families’ destitution. The agricultural industry faces soaring production expenses due to elevated input costs such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and water, while pests and diseases become increasingly resistant, resulting in higher populations. Ultimately, these factors render agriculture more costly.

Extended droughts result in livestock deaths particularly prevalent within pastoral communities, making cattle rearing more expensive and leading to heightened instances of rustling. Poor market access is also experienced due to inadequate quality and quantity of agricultural produce. These challenges brought about by climate change transcend both economic and social aspects of everyday life.

Presenter: How has climate change affected us economically?

Interviewee: Indeed, it is imperative to recognize that Climate change has a universal impact. Its effects are felt on a global scale, for instance, through catastrophic floods and hurricanes that ravage homes and farmlands alike. Such calamities disproportionately harm small-scale farms, which suffer from reduced purchasing power due to diminished sales. Consequently, this translates into lower spending on essentials such as food and school fees for children. Nationally speaking, the agricultural sector’s dismal harvests result in insufficient food supplies to sustain the nation as a whole – necessitating the importation of foodstuffs to fill any shortages or deficits.

Presenter: How can small-scale farmers adapt and mitigate climate change?

Interviewee: One of the ways they adapt and mitigate and prevent climate change Number one, we can build and plant tree nurseries where they’ll have access to good quality seedlings. Planting more trees ensures the improvement of the soil in terms of increased soil cover, ensuring water retention and increasing carbon sequestration of the harmful gases in the atmosphere. This is what is called mitigation. We can also adapt because climate change is real, and it is here. We can prevent floods and soil erosion by adapting. We can switch to using short-seasoned crops that will last three months just in case the rains fail to come and the farmer has already harvested his or her produce. Also, they use drought-resistant crops such as cassava and pumpkins they can be to sustain families. The use of mulching will also increase water retention, avoid the farming of riparian lands, avoid overstocking, mixed cropping, agroforestry improves soil fertility and offers shade cover, crop rotational to avoid exhaustion of soil nutrients, organic farming especially the use of manure, landscape restoration of degraded land, soil moisture farming, crop insurance being offered with our local banks ie Equity bank. With that said that can help in adapting and mitigating against climate change.

Presenter: What projects and programs have you set as an organization regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation?

Interviewee: Through FFF – Farm Forestry Facility that sensitizes small-scale landscape restoration especially. This is regarding the decrease in forest cover in the country and the decrease of wetlands due to the vast destruction of forests all over the country. This leads to the reduction of water resources. In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization – F.A.O, we have offered financial support to the various farmers so they can further their agroforestry goals and ambitions. We also offer capacity building through training where we educate them on climate literacy, terracing and soil conservations. We are spread over twenty counties, with ten counties heavily invested in agroforestry, with Kiambu County being one of them. We also have school greening programs and are currently in seven counties through nursery establishment and wood lot management.

Presenter: How can small-scale farmers access financial support, especially regarding climate change?

Interviewee: One, through the Financing Locally Led Climate Action Program(FLLOCA). In collaboration with the county governments through the aid of the national government, it is looking to enhance the delivery of locally-led climate resilience actions to increase communities’ resilience to climate change and other hazards. Two local banks are also offering loans to small-scale farmers which don’t have high interest. We have also aided in the formation of Village Savings Loans Associations – VSLA where farmers can join together with proper structures in place to access financial support through internal financing within themselves. Through saccos, cooperatives and capacity building, they can find ways to make money. Through market linkages where they sell their produce at the best price, carbon credits, private and public partnerships, and planting high-value crops such as avocadoes and macadamia, Adaptation Fund through the AFRI 100 – (the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative) is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. 

Presenter: What qualifications does a small-scale farmer have to access Climate Funding?

Interviewee: They must be a fully registered group. They must be active in agroforestry, planting and growing trees. They need to be active in terms of what they have been doing without access to this money. They must also have a structure, including a chairman, secretary, all the necessary officials, active members, and laws, rules, and regulations that guide the group. This money should come in as a boost. FFSPAK, we’ll offer training and capacity-building.

Presenter: How can an individual access this fund?

Interviewee: Unfortunately, an individual can’t access this fund he or she needs to be part of an active group.

Presenter: Question from Facebook – How can I manage to do agroforestry on my small piece of land?

Interviewee: Through proper agroforestry practices such as mixed crop farming where you can grow both trees, i.e. avocados, and crops, i.e. beans, that will benefit the farmer at large. Live fences, hedge rows and forest adaptation where, in partnership with The Kenya Forestry Services, you can adopt a piece of land that isn’t being used at the moment, so you will adopt plant and grow the trees in conjunction with the K.F.S

Presenter: Kindly expound concerning insurance.

Interviewee: This can be accessible to small-scale farmers. When you plant your crops, you can go to the local bank, where once they verify that the land is yours, you will pay something small monthly. Case, you usually get 10 sacks of the bag, and in this case, you get six, and they can pay for the low harvest.

Presenter: How often can a group access the fund?

Interviewee: We usually have advertisements and notices where the active interested groups write proposals. Once fully verified, they can finally access it, usually taking three to four months.

Presenter: Why can’t an individual access the fund alone?

Interviewee: This is because the fund is meant to help the community, as what we do isn’t for profit. Your group should be as diverse as possible, including young people, women, people with disabilities, etc.

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