USC has a key role to play in enhancing the resilience of food production systems, thereby reducing vulnerability and helping communities cope with climate change impacts.
For millennia, farming communities have faced the vagaries of climate – dry spells, variable rainfall patterns, floods, extreme temperatures, hurricanes. Men and women farmers have developed many strategies to adapt their farming practices to such climate-related stresses – varying cropping patterns, using soil management techniques, diversifying activities (wild food plants, livestock production, off-farm wage labour) as insurance in case of crop failure.
In short, farm communities have developed intricate knowledge around predicting and interpreting climatic patterns.
Today, global climate change is a harsh reality and is expected to have wide-ranging effects – particularly on food production, and especially in tropical areas dependent on rain-fed agriculture and pastoral production. Rising temperatures will shift crop growing seasons and affect food security.
It’s already happening. USC-supported farmers are already witnessing climate extremes and are facing the prospect of even more fundamental changes to their agro-ecosystems.
USC Canada’s Seeds of Survival (SoS) program is playing a key role – improving food crop and biomass productivity on-farm in the face of climate variations and extremes – by strengthening adaptation and enhancing the resilience of food production systems.
- Strengthening soil and water conservation (terracing, water harvesting, soil bands, etc.) to enhance soil moisture budget and soil fertility and make soils less vulnerable to erosion and land degradation processes.
- Training in crop diversification, crop rotation, mixture cropping, multiple cropping and composting practices.
- Promoting agro-forestry and afforestation.
- Identifying community vulnerabilities and capacities to address climate change mitigation and adaptation through participatory action research.
- Facilitating the exchange of climate-resilient varieties among and between farming communities, along with the associated knowledge and practices.