Report: Mitigating Negative Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture Forum, September 30-October 3, 2014, Indonesia

Photo courtesy of eria.org

Panel of experts

Climate change combined with growing global food demand, is a serious threat to food security everywhere. Rural people and farmers, especially those who live in fragile ecosystems, are the most vulnerable to its negative effects as their livelihood depends on agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and forestry. Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Climate change could affect agriculture through higher temperatures, greater demand for water for crops, more unstable rainfall patterns, and increases in climate extremes such as droughts, floods, storms, and heat waves; it could also increase the incidence of diseases and insect pest infestation. The consequent crops failures and livestock deaths could cause huge economic losses, contributing to volatility in agricultural markets, higher food prices, and undermining of food security in many developing countries.

Agriculture has both positive and negative effects on climate. For example, green plants serve as carbon sinks, but agriculture activities contribute about 14% directly and 17% indirectly of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, agriculture that will strengthen food security as well as adaptation to mitigation of climate change is needed.

Main issues related to climate change adaptation and mitigation include inappropriate land management practices, improper farming technologies/systems, lack of incentives for farming communities to take advantage of environmental services and adopt sustainable production systems, and inadequate support for soil and water conservation practices. Effective policy measures as well as capacity-building and awareness programs are needed to mitigate the negative effects of agricultural activities on climate change. This will require the concerted efforts of all key stakeholders such as farmers, the public and private sectors, civil society, and non-government organizations.

OBJECTIVES

The main objective of the project is to bring together decision-makers, scientists, consultants, NGO representatives and practitioners to share strategies, approaches, and good practices of mitigating the negative effects of climate change on agriculture. It explores the way forward for agriculture sector when the impacts of climate change are becoming obvious and adaptation and mitigation measures are increasingly required.

Specifically, the project aimed to:

a) Review the potential impact of climate change on agricultural productivity;
b) Share good practices on agricultural adaptation and mitigation to climate change; and
c) Formulate strategic recommendations for mitigating the negative effects of climate change on agriculture.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

The main objective of the participant in attending the APO project is to gain more in-depth understanding of the negative effects of climate change extreme events on agriculture, have knowledge of lessons and experiences from other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, including adaptation and mitigation strategies and approaches, and also share own country’s lessons and experiences.

Expectations include presentations of resource speakers that are ground-based and/or real cases and applicable to own country’s situation. Conduct of a workshop was also expected to give country representatives the opportunity to tailor priority climate change adaptation and mitigation programs and/or activities that are urgently needed at present period.

PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

There were a total of 43 participants coming from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Republic of China (ROC), India, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The two (2) Filipino participants came from the Visayas State University (VSU), Visca, Baybay City, Leyte and West Visayas State University (WVSU) in Iloilo. The VSU representative is a Professor of Forest Management and Agroforestry and the concurrent Director of the Regional Climate Change R&D Center of the university. He is serving as Resource Speaker in various climate change related trainings and seminars/conferences with clients mostly coming from Eastern Visayas (Region 8). The participant from WVSU is an Assistant Professor in Animal Science with deep interest on climate change adaptation and mitigation as they relate to livestock production.

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

Generally, the topics presented by the resource persons in powerpoint presentations were in the fields of climate change concepts and principles, adaptation and mitigation in agriculture, In particular, presentations include climate smart farming practices, organic farming, early warning systems and agriculture, biotechnology, policy options and institutionalization, financial tools, and disaster risk reduction and management.

A field visit with a local development community was also conducted to observe local interventions for agricultural adaptation to climate change. Open discussion was made with local community leaders and development workers focusing on local views about climate change and agriculture, and problems and constraints met by the locals in the implementation of their climate-related adaptation activities.

The Philippine country paper from the Visayas State University particularly focused on climate-resilient upland farming systems and practices.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

The Project was able to fully met objectives (1) and (2).

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

There were no clear general recommendations made by the country participant as there was no formal session made to be able to come up with such recommendations. The Philippine NPO (DAP) can perhaps organize region-wide or country-wide forum on the same focus and invite concern individuals who had been given the opportunity to participate in climate-related forums to serve as resource persons. Smaller group meetings can also be organized by NPO in needy areas with the recipients of the APO training support serving as resource persons.

SUBMITTED BY

DR. EDUARDO MANGAOANG
Professor and Director
Regional Climate Change R&D Center
Visayas State University

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