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Agriculture and climate

Farmers harvesting potatoes in the Bolivian Andes

Agriculture and climate change are connected in two ways. On the one hand, climate change is posing a great threat to agriculture. When water becomes more scarce, when heavy rainfall becomes more frequent or crops fail to flourish under changed climatic conditions, this leads to increased erosion and land degradation and to lower harvests and yields. In view of climate change, it will be a great challenge to ensure food security for the world's population, which will grow from about 7.5 billion to approximately ten billion people by the middle of this century.

But agriculture is not only affected by climate change, it is also a contributor to global warming. Cattle farming and certain production methods, such as paddy cultivation of rice, release the greenhouse gas methane. Excessive use of fertilisers, certain forms of tillage and the conversion of grassland into cropland are other practices that are detrimental to the climate. And agriculture is by far the biggest driver of deforestation, as forest is cleared for conversion to farmland and pasture.

But agriculture also has a great deal of potential for climate change mitigation: through sustainable farming and good agricultural practices such as the use of organic fertiliser, crop rotation, cultivation of fruit and other trees, and improved feed for livestock.

By combining measures in the areas of agriculture, forestry and bioenergy, the world could realise a significant proportion of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed in order to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C and to 1.5°C if possible. At the same time, people's food and other consumption patterns also have an indirect impact on the level of emissions from agriculture.

Sweet potatoes on a field in Kenya

Rising temperatures lead to lower productivity

The rise in global temperatures will have a serious impact on agricultural production, and it will have considerable negative effects on food security. For example, it is expected that productivity per unit of area in sub-Saharan Africa will decline by up to 27 per cent by 2080 as a result of climate change.

Thus there is a need for ambitious action for adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sector. The type of action will have to be defined in line with the specific context. This could mean planting at a different time or planting new varieties of plants, using crops that are more heat-resistant, and introducing better irrigation techniques. But it could also mean adjusting livestock density to feed production or rotating livestock between pastures in a different way. Farmers are able to adapt, but there are limits to what can be done. If global warming reaches three degrees or more, regions near the equator may no longer be able to adapt.

There are some actions that enhance resilience to climate change while simultaneously reducing emissions. For example, efforts to increase terrestrial carbon sequestration improve the capacity of the soil to take up humidity, and the land becomes less prone to erosion. If energy efficiency in the agricultural and food sector is enhanced, the same type of multiple benefits can be achieved.

The path-breaking decision on agriculture taken at COP23 in Bonn in 2017 for the development and implementation of adaptation and mitigation strategies (Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture) opens up a window for bold, transformative action to improve farmers' living conditions and make global food systems more resilient. Achieving these goals is a challenging task.

Infographic on the topic of "Agriculture and climate"
German activities

Fostering climate-resilient agriculture

In order to ensure food security in times of climate change, higher agricultural productivity will not be enough. There is also a need for efforts to enhance farmers' capacity to better adapt to the consequences of climate change. Using organic fertiliser and introducing crop rotation and agroforestry systems are just a few ways in which smallholder farms can become more resilient to climate change. What is also important is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, for instance by avoiding agriculture-related deforestation and the burning of crop residue.

All this goes far beyond new technologies and practices. In order to achieve higher productivity and food security while simultaneously enhancing farmers' resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is a need for a holistic view of landscapes, ecosystems and value chains.

Drip irrigation on a field in Ethiopia

Climate change affects all sectors

Agriculture and, thus, all development projects related to agriculture are affected by climate change and must find answers to these challenges.

The BMZ project "PrAda" in Madagascar, which addresses adaptation of agricultural value chains to climate change, is one example of how to go about that. Farmers in the Anosy, Androy and Atsimo-Atsinanana regions in the country's arid south are given better access to agrometeorological and agricultural extension services. This enables them to adapt their production to climate change. Climate risk insurance is being introduced to protect them from income loss resulting from weather-related and climate-related events.

One example of how to successfully include climate aspects in agricultural projects is the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), to which the BMZ is contributing 33 million euros. This programme, which is run by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is geared towards strengthening the resilience of eight million smallholder farmers in more than 40 countries. One key factor for the success of the programme is the close attention which IFAD is giving, throughout all its investment projects and country strategies, to both the risks and the opportunities involved in climate change.

Rice harvest in Bangladesh

Agricultural sector is key to partner countries' climate targets

The BMZ supports the climate policies of its partner countries, especially their efforts to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Nearly all NDCs include a focus on agriculture. Adaptation plays a particularly big role in that context, but countries have also adopted mitigation targets for the agricultural sector.

The BMZ supports, among other things, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) run by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which seeks to support African countries in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions in agriculture, and the BMZ supports the work on climate change and agriculture pursued in the NDC Partnership.

Working the field in Kenya

More research to close knowledge gaps

There are still major knowledge gaps on the exact effects of climate change on agriculture. What regions and crops are particularly affected? How much water is available? How is soil quality changing? What carbon sources and carbon sinks are there? All these are questions that need to be answered so that farmers in a given region can adapt to change. However, developing countries in particular require assistance when it comes to data collection, for instance with regard to carbon sources and sinks.

This is an aspect that the BMZ addresses through a variety of programmes, for example a programme for climate-smart livestock farming under which the Ministry assists its African partners in improving their procedures for measuring greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming. This will help them to show whether their mitigation activities are really effective. 

Moreover, developing countries report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the climate-related support they have received, and they identify remaining needs. BMZ-supported donor coordination mechanisms such as the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development play an important role in this regard.

Maize plant

Better protection against climate risks and harvest loss

Poor smallholders are particularly affected when entire crops are destroyed by droughts, storms or floods. The BMZ therefore supports the development of climate risk insurance schemes in the agricultural sector under the InsuResilience initiative, including through the insurance programmes of the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

Post-harvest losses along value chains can be reduced through improved storage and transport. This, too, is an area addressed by Germany's development cooperation. And access to markets can improve farmers' incomes and resilience. Innovations based on renewable energy such as solar-powered irrigation and cooling are not only good for the climate, they are also particularly suitable for remote regions with limited access to energy.

Worldwide, climate change is presenting great challenges for agriculture. The BMZ therefore fosters dialogue on these challenges. Exchanging experience, learning from one another and critically reviewing one's own approaches can be helpful in developing global solutions.

Fieldwork in Northern Kenya
  • A woman with a child on a maize field, on which soil coverings and other plants are grown for diversification and nitrogen fixation.
    Africa: cooperation in action

    Adapting agriculture to climate change

    In six countries, the "Soil protection and rehabilitation for food security" programme is working with small farmers to spread conservation agriculture methods.

  • A farmer feeding her goat
    Africa: cooperation in action

    New scientific insights into animal husbandry

    In sub-Saharan Africa, the keeping of livestock is an important means of livelihood for more than 80 per cent of poor households. However, rising temperatures and less rainfall are reducing the productivity of their livestock and the growth of fodder crops.

  • Maize plantation in Kenya
    African Union: cooperation in action

    Preparing for climate change

    In the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) stipulated in the Paris Agreement, the countries party to the agreement have all specified what measures they will take to mitigate climate change. Many African countries have placed the focus of their Nationally Determined Contributions on their agricultural sectors.

  • Pepper plant
    Madagascar: cooperation in action

    Adapted value chains

    Vanilla, cloves and pepper are only some of the products grown in Madagascar. The agricultural sector is important for the country, since about 80 per cent of the population depend on it for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, because Madagascar is an island, it is particularly severely affected by the effects of climate change.

  • A man on a field in Paraguay with manioc roots
    Paraguay: cooperation in action

    Insurance products help make small farmers more resilient

    According to the international EM-DAT disasters database, floods, storms and droughts are the most frequent extreme weather events in Paraguay – and their frequency is increasing, as is the damage they cause.

  • Niebe grows in the field of the Beninese farmer Tohomé Hadonou.
    Benin: cooperation in action

    "I am making the soil resilient again"

    Tohomé Hadonou is a farmer in Benin, who is proud to call 5.5 hectares of land her own. But she is no ordinary farmer. Five months ago, she and 46 other members of a women's group started attending training sessions to learn how to improve soil fertility.

  • Laarroussi Touil in his field, where thick beans grow
    Morocco: cooperation in action

    Farmer Touil protects wild bees, thereby raising his income

    Laarroussi Touil runs a small farm in Morocco near the Atlantic coast. In the winter of 2016/17, he took part in a project that helps farmers increase their yields of fava beans by attracting wild bees, flies and wasps, who help to pollinate the fields and eat pests.

  • Namibia: Lucia Kandambo presents the harvest in her shelter.
    Namibia: cooperation in action

    New methods of cultivation in times of climate change

    "Conservation agriculture is not easy to do – but I intend to continue with it", says Lucia Kandambo, a smallholder from northern Namibia. Like most farmers there, she is suffering the consequences of climate change.

  • Rice harvest in Bangladesh
    India: Cooperation in action

    Satellite technology protects rice farmers against crop failure

    In 2017, after a severe drought, more than 200,000 small farmers in Tamil Nadu, India, received compensation from the national crop insurance programme. The damage was measured quickly and precisely through satellite technology.

A woman with a child on a maize field, on which soil coverings and other plants are grown for diversification and nitrogen fixation.
Africa: cooperation in action

Adapting agriculture to climate change

In six countries, the "Soil protection and rehabilitation for food security" programme is working with small farmers to spread conservation agriculture methods. In western Kenya, for instance, farmers are taught to plant cover crops and maize in the same field. Cover crops improve moisture retention, facilitating higher yields. Plant residues remain in the field after harvest. Since these measures were introduced, maize and bean yields (the main staples in the country) have almost doubled.

In Benin and Burkina Faso, soil fertility has been improved through agroforestry planting programmes that use crops from the legume family since they help to boost nitrogen levels in soil – nitrogen being a valuable nutrient for plants. Organic fertilisers are used in all six countries involved in the project in order to prevent nutrient depletion in the soil and reduce the use of mineral fertilisers in instances where this is harmful for the climate.

Relevant activities are being pursued, for example, in Ethiopia, where the agricultural sector accounts for half of gross domestic product but many farmers still use inefficient methods of cultivation. In the Ethiopian highlands, smallholders who have received support under the "Soil protection and rehabilitation for food security" programme are achieving sensational yield increases of up to 365 per cent for wheat.

In Mali, small dams are being built to make better use of rainwater, as rainfall patterns have become less predictable. This has enabled smallholders to continue to produce several harvests a year and thus withstand climate change. The extensive experience of German development cooperation has now been incorporated in Mali into a national small-scale irrigation programme in which the government and various donors are collaborating.

A farmer feeding her goat
Africa: cooperation in action

New scientific insights into animal husbandry

In sub-Saharan Africa, the keeping of livestock is an important means of livelihood for more than 80 per cent of poor households. However, rising temperatures and less rainfall are reducing the productivity of their livestock and the growth of fodder crops. Moreover, livestock farming is not only affected by the impacts of climate change but also plays a part in causing climate change. Thus, in many countries of the region, it is the agricultural sector – in particular livestock farming – that is the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Germany has worked with the International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI, and the World Bank to develop a programme for climate-smart livestock farming methods. The programme helps livestock farmers to develop promising climate-smart methods and to test them in the field, so to speak. As a result, there have been improvements in the cultivation of certain fodder crops and in dung and pasture management.

On-site measurements and laboratory testing are providing proof that this new approach to livestock farming is making a contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The findings are disseminated in "training-the-trainer" measures and are incorporated in the curricula of relevant training and extension organisations.

In addition, German implementing organisations are working with political decision makers in order to develop and try out potential new practices in livestock farming. Their collaboration is helping to ensure that the likely impacts of climate change on the livestock sector are taken into account in their planning of policy frameworks, strategies and investment projects.

At the same time, our partner countries are receiving support to switch their monitoring and reporting systems to the more complex tier 2 methods of calculating greenhouse gas emissions in the livestock sector. The tier 2 methods are particularly useful for demonstrating the effectiveness of climate protection measures. They also help partner countries to improve the accuracy of their reporting on the Paris Agreement.

To ensure a broad-based approach, the findings are then used – by the World Bank, amongst others – when formulating and implementing new, large-scale investment projects. And national teams are given advice on how to include climate-smart approaches when designing new projects.

Farmer in cow stable
Maize plantation in Kenya
African Union: cooperation in action

Preparing for climate change

In the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) stipulated in the Paris Agreement, the countries party to the agreement have all specified what measures they will take to mitigate climate change; many have also specified what measures they will take to adapt to climate change. Many African countries have placed the focus of their Nationally Determined Contributions on their agricultural sectors.

In Africa, agriculture is still the predominant means of securing a livelihood. Of the working population, six out of ten people work in the agricultural sector, and more than half of all farmers are smallholders. Since people working the land depend heavily on local rainfall, they are particularly vulnerable to changes in climatic conditions. But, without outside support, farming techniques that would help them adapt to these changing conditions tend to spread only slowly.

Through its development cooperation, Germany is supporting the African Union (AU), as well as its planning and coordinating arm NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development), in their efforts to prepare African countries for climate change. The AU is helping its member states to develop finance plans and implementation strategies. Such plans and strategies are helping them to fulfil their NDCs in the agricultural sector. For instance, extensive training – especially in the fields of climate-smart cultivation methods, climate financing and measurement of climate contributions – is being provided for technical staff working in the ministries responsible for agriculture, the environment and finance.

In addition, Germany is supporting the South-South transfer of knowledge. For example at the annual forum hosted by the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance, representatives from civil society and research professionals come together to discuss the challenges facing the agricultural sector in times of climate change. The group of negotiators representing Africa at international climate conferences takes on board the insights coming out of the Forum in order to showcase what is happening in Africa and its agricultural sector. These insights serve as "scientific ammunition", so to speak, giving them a stronger negotiating position at these conferences.

Green house in Kenya
Pepper plant
Madagascar: cooperation in action

Adapted value chains

Vanilla, cloves and pepper are only some of the products grown in Madagascar. The agricultural sector is important for the country, since about 80 per cent of the population depend on it for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, because Madagascar is an island, it is particularly severely affected by the effects of climate change. Heavy rainfall, hurricanes, floods and droughts are becoming more frequent and severe. The country is also being impacted by climate change effects that are more slow to emerge – such the gradual loss of fertile soil. Such changes are further reducing the country's already poor agricultural productivity.

Through its development cooperation, Germany is helping Madagascar in its efforts to adapt its rural value chains in the south and southeast of the country to climate change. The EU is also providing support for this measure. The rural value chains being assessed are those for groundnuts, sorghum, honey, ginger, coastal fishery, castor beans, goats and sheep, onions, coffee, cloves, pepper and vanilla. At the same time, the attempt is being made to grow larger crops in order to raise profitability, while keeping the effects of climate change in mind.

Thus, an assessment of the economic potential of these crops is to be followed by an assessment of future climate risks. The findings are to be used to formulate an holistic development strategy for each commodity, including any adjustments or changes that are deemed necessary. This may mean a switch to different seeds or watering the fields in a different way. But it could also mean changing the way commodities are stored or transported.

In order to cover the residual risk that remains even after adaptation measures have been carried out, climate risk insurance schemes are being offered. Furthermore, efforts are underway to raise the capacity of Madagascar's meteorological service so that it is able to collect more accurate meteorological data, since access to reliable data is important for many adaptation measures. For instance, such data could result in the recommendation to farmers to shift their harvest times. Last but not least, there will also be campaigns to raise people's awareness of climate change along with all of its consequences and the changes that may result from it.

Cloves
A man on a field in Paraguay with manioc roots
Paraguay: cooperation in action

Insurance products help make small farmers more resilient

Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy for Paraguay's approximately seven million people. Agriculture accounts for about 26 per cent of gross domestic product and employs some 40 per cent of the people. Nearly one third of the country's poor people live in rural areas. They are increasingly confronted with the consequences of climate change. According to the international EM-DAT disasters database, floods, storms and droughts are the most frequent extreme weather events in Paraguay – and their frequency is increasing, as is the damage they cause.

In order to enhance rural people's resilience to disasters, Germany has been supporting the FortaleceRES project through its development cooperation since 2016. The project focuses on developing agricultural, climate and life insurance products in eastern Paraguay. It targets primarily small farms – often farms run by women or indigenous communities.

Under the project, the country's public agricultural bank (Crédito Agrícola de Habilitación, CAH) is developing index-based weather insurance for its loan clients. If an extreme weather event occurs, they receive payments which enable them to respond more quickly and effectively to a disaster. This prevents negative coping strategies such as the sale of livestock.

Another key partner for the project is the Social Affairs Ministry (Secretaría de Acción Social, SAS). It is planning to provide the 13,000 beneficiaries of a life and disability insurance programme with a disaster insurance that would also protect them against heavy rains and extreme drought. And the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería) and the national insurance supervisory authority (Superintendencia de Seguros) are receiving advice on various forms of agricultural insurance.

FortaleceRES is thus contributing towards expanding the InsuResilience Global Partnership, which was launched at COP23 in Bonn in 2017 and has the aim of insuring, by 2020, an additional 400 million poor and particularly vulnerable people in developing countries against climate risks.

Niebe grows in the field of the Beninese farmer Tohomé Hadonou.
Benin: cooperation in action

"I am making the soil resilient again"

Tohomé Hadonou is a farmer in Benin, who is proud to call 5.5 hectares of land her own. But she is no ordinary farmer. Five months ago, she and 46 other members of a women's group started attending training sessions to learn how to improve soil fertility. She now understands why the yields from her fields have decreased so sharply over the last few years. Every year, she planted nothing but wild watermelons on her 1.5 hectare field. After the harvest, it was customary to set all the fields alight to burn off the harvest residue. And this is what Tohomé Hadonou used to do too. Now, there is no longer any sign of charred soil or wild watermelon on her field.

A smile spreads across the 41-year-old farmer's face when she explains what has changed: "No, I no longer burn off the fields after harvesting my crops. Now I give my soil its strength back by using new methods." Not burning the fields helps to preserve micro-organisms in the soil and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Benin – 68 per cent of which are the result of burning biomass.

Instead of wild watermelons, Hadonou now grows black-eyed peas on her field. This West African bean, also known as "cowpea", is a grain legume. It helps to fix nitrogen in the soil and provides valuable nutrients for exhausted soils. The bean is also extremely rich in proteins and contains numerous vitamins and minerals.

However, in order to rehabilitate the soils over the long term, much more needs to be done. After the harvest, Hadonou leaves the crop residues on her fields so that they can gradually decompose – producing natural compost in the process.

And she has learned a few more useful tricks: "I now plant my crop rows horizontal to the natural gradient and have built a low wall of plant remains around the field. This helps to keep the water in the soil."

Rainfall is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with rains sometimes arriving so late that some of the planted seeds dry up. That is why Tohomé Hadonou now staggers her planting, so that she runs less of a risk of losing her entire harvest. By employing these methods, and by using varieties of maize that have been adapted to climate change and have a shorter growing period, she has recently been able to increase the maize yields of her field by as much as 30 per cent compared with those of other fields.

All in all, the programme for Soil protection and rehabilitation for food security has provided additional training for almost 20,000 small farmers in Benin since it began in 2015. The aim of the programme is to restore the fields of small farmers all around the world back to fertility, so that agriculture can be intensified in ways that are sustainable and adapted to climate change.

Laarroussi Touil in his field, where thick beans grow
Morocco: cooperation in action

A question of knowing how: Farmer Touil protects wild bees, thereby raising his income

Laarroussi Touil runs a small farm in Morocco near the Atlantic coast. He has 0.6 hectares of land, sheep, six cows, but no tractor. Touil, who is 30 years old, and his wife Hanan have one son of pre-school age. Laarroussi Touil, who inherited the farm from his father, works it by himself, with no farmhands to help him. He has one horse – an animal that looks like a rather thin riding horse – which he uses as a draught animal.

In the winter of 2016/17, Touil took part for the first time in a project called "Innovation Transfer into Agriculture – Adaptation to Climate Change" (ITAACC). The aim of the project is to help farmers increase their yields of fava beans by attracting often disregarded 'little helpers' – namely wild bees, flies and wasps, who help to pollinate the fields and eat pests.

The approach is called "Farming with Alternative Pollinators" (FAP) and was developed in Uzbekistan in 2012. The more versatile the pollinators, the better placed farmers are to react to climate change-induced changes in weather patterns. Strong winds, cold, extreme heat or strong rainfalls can keep many honey bees from flying – but other pollinating insects are more robust.

Laarroussi Touil looks across his field, which is full of broad beans in the centre, with a narrow border of courgette, coriander, rapeseed, marjoram and rosemary around the edge. He says that there is a much greater variety of insects in his fields now, and the number of pests has gone down compared with previous years. This year's harvest was better, too, with more broad beans in each pod than there used to be. And Hanan Touil uses the additional plants and vegetables growing around the main crop in her own cooking. All this made the farmer curious to see what other potential benefits the pollinators could bring.

In spring 2017, Touil started his own project, using the FAP approach in his tomato field. For several years, the tomato leaf miner had been making life difficult for him – and for other tomato farmers in Morocco. The larvae of the tomato leaf miner damages the plant, and the black faeces they leave behind in each fruit reduce the price per kilogramme from five to three dirham. Only spray pesticides help, but Laarroussi Touil wants to use as little of these as possible, saying: "Spraying the plants is hard work and expensive, and makes the harvest less healthy."

So, instead, he sowed coriander, courgettes and sunflowers in order to attract more pollinators and natural pest killers. His plan paid off. The FAP method helped to improve his tomato crop, to the extent that his tomato plants were heavy with fruit and showed little damage from the tomato leaf miner. They brought him five dirham per kilogramme. That is why, in the autumn of 2017, he immediately volunteered to take part when the ITAACC Team was looking for farmers to test FAP methods on courgette crops.

He now intends to continue applying these methods in the future – and his wife is also a fan of FAP. Commenting on the FAP methods, Touil says: "The harvest is better and I don't have to use as much spray pesticide." That is why Mr and Mrs Touil did not hesitate to offer to hold one of the training courses on their farm. And now there is even a greenhouse on Laarroussi Touil's farm – so that he can test FAP methods there too.

On his farm in Morocco, Laarroussi Touil shares his knowledge of wild pollinators such as wild bees, flies and wasps.
Namibia: Lucia Kandambo presents the harvest in her shelter.
Namibia: cooperation in action

New methods of cultivation in times of climate change

"Conservation agriculture is not easy to do – but I intend to continue with it", says Lucia Kandambo, a smallholder from northern Namibia. Like most farmers there, she is suffering the consequences of climate change. Rainfall has decreased and become less regular – while, at the same time, the region now experiences storms with heavy rains. Some forecasts predict that by 2050 farming in the way that is common today in Namibia will only be possible in a very small part of the country. That is why Lucia Kandambo is looking for new methods of farming which will provide her with reasonable harvests. She feels that conservation agriculture is the right way forward.

The BMZ is supporting smallholder farmers in three regions of Namibia in their efforts to adapt their cultivation methods to climate change. The focus of the programme is on promoting conservation agriculture, or CA for short. The main feature of CA is that fields are no longer ploughed or turned over, and post-harvest crop residues are left on the fields to act as mulch. This helps to prevent the elements from causing soil erosion, and helps the soil to retain water for longer. As a result, it is easier to get through dry periods. And the layer of mulch reduces weed-growth – an important benefit for Namibia's smallholders, since they tend not to use herbicides. Another feature of CA is crop rotation. This means that several different crops are planted in succession in order to avoid monocultures and preserve soil fertility.

Lucia Kandambo belongs to the group of "lead farmers", as they are known. It is they who test the methods on their fields first and then pass on their know-how to other farmers. Kandambo is confident that other farmers will also switch to CA, saying: "Conservation agriculture is new, and there is a lot to learn. But a large number of other farmers in our village are already interested."

CA is a relatively new method in Namibia, which is why not much empirical data on its use there is available. That is why the BMZ is supporting research on CA at local universities, so that they can adapt the method better to conditions in Namibia. These universities are also receiving support from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, which has already tested CA successfully in other Southern African countries.

Lucia Kandambo is optimistic, saying: "I have the impression that, even in the first year, yields have been considerably higher than with conventional farming methods." Initial findings are proving her right. Of the farmers taking part in the project, some are using conventional farming methods and others are practising "conservation agriculture". Those who have farmed their fields using CA are reporting that their yields are already 70 per cent higher than they were the previous year.

In " conservation tillage ", crop residues are left on the field as mulch.
Rice harvest in Bangladesh
India: Cooperation in action

Satellite technology protects rice farmers against crop failure

In 2017, after a severe drought, more than 200,000 small farmers in Tamil Nadu, India, received compensation from the national crop insurance programme. The damage was measured quickly and precisely through satellite technology, which made it possible to compensate farmers swiftly for their lost rice crop. The response was based on the RIICE project.

RIICE stands for Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies. The project was set up in 2012 and has been assisting South East Asian countries and India in swiftly responding to imminent crop failure and enhancing farmers' income security. The initiative involves monitoring rice cultivation areas and insuring them against extreme weather events. It evolved from a partnership between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Swiss Re, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), sarmap SA (a software company), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Some 90 per cent of the world's rice is produced in Asia. Many farmers' livelihoods there depend on rice. However, the entire region is faced with extreme weather conditions: floods, typhoons and droughts are very common, frequently wiping out entire harvests. RIICE enables small farmers to take out efficient crop insurance, making it possible to provide financial compensation quickly and providing governments with the necessary information for their emergency response.

In 2015, large sections of Tamil Nadu were flooded, destroying the newly planted fields of more than 400 rice farmers. Thanks to satellite data, it was possible to estimate the damage within a few days and provide farmers with new seedlings.

Two years later, Tamil Nadu was hit even harder. The worst drought in more than 140 years left the entire region parched. Thanks to information from RIICE, more than 200,000 rice farmers received an average of 195 euros each within three months to make up for their lost crops. Without the data, compensation would have taken up to a year. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, the highest-ranking government official for agricultural affairs in this South Indian state, said: "RIICE remote sensing technology (...) allows us to assess crop loss and damages in a more transparent and timely manner. This was particularly useful during the last cropping season to identify villages that had been hit by drought (...) in a record time."

Videos on the topic of "Agriculture and climate change"

Drought resilience

Immediate measures and long-term solutions

Droughts are extremely destructive natural disasters. Across the globe, they have caused millions of deaths and the destruction of livelihoods. They are often linked to local conflicts and force the poorest to migrate. As climate change progresses, the frequency, duration and severity of droughts will increase.

This film not only highlights the problems, but also presents solutions for greater drought resilience in the affected regions.

The film was produced under the auspices of the German Development Institute (DIE) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and funded by German Development Cooperation.

Kenya

Green innovation centre

In Kenya, farmers are given the opportunity to increase their yields. Agricultural training centres, an agricultural school and an agricultural development centre are working closely together to support farmers in the affected areas.

Bolivia

Innovative farming methods

Farmers in Bolivia grow apples and other fruit, including strawberries. Because of increasing aridity, this is only possible thanks to innovative, modern farming methods that use water sparingly. (Video in German)

Bolivia

Climate change and the apple harvest

As a result of climate change, apples in Bolivia's highlands ripen too quickly and farmers cannot ship them at the right time. Then again, a cold spell may hit all of a sudden and destroy the entire crop. (Video in German)

Agriculture and climate

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