The changing environmental conditions such as rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and increasing recurrence of extreme weather events can have a serious implication on food security due to the adverse effects of climate change on crops and livestock production as well as on forests and marine resources. The negative impacts of climate change can be addressed through mitigation and adaptation approaches. However, while both approaches are important and interdependent, adaptation approaches should be given greater focus because it involves all measures aimed at reducing the negative impacts of climate change as well as the identification of new opportunities and benefits associated with the new climatic conditions.
Agriculture being highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change necessitates the development of adaptation approaches to enhance crop resilience and strengthen the capacity of farmers to cope with the negative impacts of climate change. Moreover, actions should be taken to mainstream climate change adaptation strategies into agricultural policies and programs. Thus, the following objectives for this workshop:
a. To assess the current status of climate change (CC) adaptations in agriculture and share the best cases of CC adaptations;
b. To review strategies and approaches to mainstream CC adaptation measures, techniques, and activities into the national agricultural development programs; and
c. To formulate strategic action plans to promote mainstreaming of CC adaptation in agriculture.
The adverse impacts of climate change will continue to become the major problem in the agriculture sector as this affects production and threatens food security. As an employee in an institution that is committed to ensure food security through advancement of research that enhances crop performance and productivity, the unpredictability of the effects of climate change is a big challenge that has to be addressed. Climate adapted crops may be developed but without enabling policies to mainstream adaptation strategies, this may be inadequate or even useless. My participation in the workshop will help equip me with useful information on mainstreaming climate change adaptation strategies on other sectors such as the livestock, forestry, marine/aquatic, and complement this with my knowledge on adaptation strategies for crops.
There were 23 participants coming from Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Nepal, Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Participants come from various sector that include the academe, agriculture, environment, forestry, water and climate, etc. Participants are either director or head of their climate change center, faculty, researchers or extension workers in their home countries. Aside from me, there was one other participant from the Philippines. She is an Associate Project Officer under the Sustainable Human Development Program of the Development Academy of the Philippines.
SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY
The resource persons presented topics on the impacts of climate change on productivity and food security; short term challenges and long term opportunities for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into agricultural planning; agricultural finance policies and possible platforms for financial aid; strengthening agricultural food supply chains against the impact of climate change; OECD experiences in reaching synergies between agricultural production, adaptation and mitigation; and the role of governments in stimulating CC adaptation in agriculture focusing on the experiences of SEA and OECD countries.
The workshop participants also presented a broad range of subject matter covering topics on mainstreaming climate change adaptation on crops, forestry, livestock and pasture, and on land and water resource management; the use of models and early warning systems in predicting/forecasting potential climate related disasters; extensions models to promote climate change adaptation; hydrology models for forecasting/predicting efficient water management; Biodiversity and natural resource ecology management as a tool for successful rehabilitation of low rainfall areas; Integrated Cropping Calendar Information System.
Ms. Annalissa L. Aquino presented a paper on Monitoring the Responses and Productivity of Annual Field Crops and Development of Intervention Strategies to Enhance Crop Adaptation to Climate Change. Since this is a newly started research and data on crop responses are still not available she presented more general information on the current status of farmer strategies to adapt to climate change which include direct seeding of rice, planting high yielding short duration crop varieties, planting drought tolerant crops, relay cropping, and organic farming. The report also presented government and institutional initiatives in response to climate change. Some of the initiatives mentioned in the paper were the development of climate change adapted rice varieties, promotion of organic farming and climate change researchers that include studies on adjusting the cropping calendar and modification of crop management practices.
OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION
There was a great deal of learnings from all the presentations. My objectives in attending the course and my expectations as a participant were more than met. As a crops person, I learned so much from the presentations on climate change adaptation on livestock, forestry, and the use of extension models to promote CC adaptation as well as the use of hydrology models for efficient water management. Some of the approaches and tools can be modified under Philippine condition and incorporated in future climate change researches. The topics were all interesting and informative and the discussion and exchange of ideas among participants facilitated greater learning not just on the topics presented but on the experiences of the participants and the current situation of each country. The topics presented by the resource persons were equally interesting and informative, which stimulated so many questions from the participants. Moreover, all of the resource persons are very knowledgeable in their respective topics, thus discussion was very stimulating.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS
The following are the recommendations of the participants related to the project outcome:
a. Develop a national plan for climate change adaptation and integrate the plan with existing agricultural policies.
b. Establish a platform for a more effective dissemination of climate change adaptation strategies.
c. Develop an insurance and financing scheme to help minimize the impact of climate change.
d. Strengthen multisectoral coordination and partnership on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
e. Enhance farmer capacity to use up-to-date information and farm-level decision making on climate change adaptation.
f. Initiate and support researches related to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Being involved in a multidisciplinary project which focuses not only on crop response/performance to extreme climate events but also on the adaptive practices of farmers, I will share with our farmer partners some of the successful climate change adaptation practices that I learned during the workshop. I will encourage them to modify and try the best practices to find out which are suitable and appropriate to their condition. Helping farmers capitalize on their strengths and encouraging them to innovate on what is already proven effective can be a way to influence change and generate multiplier effect.
ANNALISSA L. AQUINO, PhD
University Researcher II
College of Agriculture
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Email: zen.aquino.314 @ gmail.com