Sound farming advice for a ‘new normal’ climate

It’s natural to wonder whether our current climate—with its erratic rainfall patterns and increasingly frequent weather upheavals—will ever return to normalcy. According to a leading development expert, it won’t.

“The planet’s climate has changed irreversibly; continued change is the new normal,” Brent M. Simpson, Deputy Director of the USAID-funded Modernizing Extension and Advisory Service (MEAS) project, told a recent forum in Nairobi. Read more. . .

Grafted cocoa wows farmers and visitors at Petit Bondoukou

Around two years ago when the Vision for Change cocoa project opened up a centre in Petit Bondoukou village in Côte d’Ivoire, local farmers were invited to participate in field trials aimed at sustainably improving cocoa yields. Mr Koume Koume was among the first farmers to sign up. Today, his decision to offer up a portion of his cocoa farm for demonstration trials under the project is paying off.

Mr Kouame Koume is involved in cocoa trials at Petit Bondoukou village, as part of the Vision for Change project. Photo: Claude Adjehi/ICRAF
Mr Kouame Koume is involved in cocoa trials at Petit Bondoukou village, as part of the Vision for Change project. Photo: ICRAF/CDI

The quarter-hectare section of Koume’s farm in which old and under-producing cocoa trees were grafted with a high-yielding variety has become the talk of the village. Visitors and passers-by marvel at the large, heavy cocoa pods on trees grafted just 18 months ago.  And the 40 year-old father of six says he is glad he chose to join the cocoa trials back in October 2010. Read more. . .

Litchi: A new yet old fruit tree for Kenya

Litchi tree in fruit in Reunion - Photo by Parveen Anjarwalla/ICRAF
Litchi tree in fruit in Reunion – Photo by Parveen Anjarwalla/ICRAF

Mangoes, when in season, are available in copious amounts and varieties all over Kenya.

But litchi, another exotic tree fruit, is always scarce. Imported and found exclusively in the most upmarket greengrocers and specialty stores in Nairobi, litchi’s retail price of 10-18 dollars a kilo keeps it firmly out of the reach of the majority. But this year a seed has been sown that could see the local cultivation and vulgarization of litchi begin in Kenya. Read more. . .

From species extinction to family planning: Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the West African Sahel

By John C. Weber and Carmen Sotelo Montes

Participatory analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the Sahel
Participatory analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the Sahel

According to most climate forecasts, people in the West African Sahel— an arid to semi-arid belt stretching across northern Africa—can expect a hotter, drier and more variable climate this century. Already, environmental stresses are being felt and farming is increasingly more difficult in the region. But what do rural people in the Sahel perceive to be the reason for this changing climate? How vulnerable do they feel themselves to be? And, most importantly, what do they plan to do different in order to cope with the threats posed by the coming climate?

As part of an IFAD-funded project titled ‘Parkland trees and livelihoods: adapting to climate change in the West African Sahel’, we carried out a participatory analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change involving approximately 500 men, women and children from 36 villages in the West African Sahelian countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The analysis yielded some expected results, and some surprising insights. Read more. . .

UK Environment Minister Richard Benyon visits ICRAF Hq

Minister-Benyon visit to ICRAF 18-02-2013
ICRAF DG Tony Simons (L); scientist Dr Katja Kehlenbeck; UK Environment Minister Hon Richard Beynon; and scientific staff. 19 Feb 2013

During a visit to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi on 19 February 2013, UK Environment Minister Hon. Richard Benyon said agroforestry had many beneficial spillover effects.

“You are providing [agricultural] practitioners with the ability to increase production sustainably. This work has vast potential to unlock gains to smallholdings that go way beyond agriculture… gains such as stability, progress, and education,” said Hon. Benyon. Read more. . .