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Addressing Climate Change and Increasing the Incomes of Rural Dwellers

Norges Vel’s main strategy aims to enhance the sustainability and resilience of production systems by promoting climate-smart innovation in food production. The purpose of our efforts to promote farmer entrepreneurship is to contribute to the “triple win” of improving food security, addressing climate change and increasing the incomes of rural dwellers who today live in poverty. 

Since 1960, sub-Saharan Africa has gone from below 1 ton to slightly above 1 ton per hectare in average crop yield, hence the yield gap with the rest of the world is rapidly widening. Being one of the key determinants of high and sustained agricultural growth, it is crucial to food security in sub-Saharan Africa that agricultural productivity experiences a boost. However, as negative impacts of climatic change are leaving small scale farmers increasingly at risk, it is highly important that higher agricultural productivity is achieved through the use of appropriate environment-friendly techniques that effectively reduce the weather-imposed production insecurities faced by smallholders. 

The smallholders shall be specifically equipped with skills and techniques for soil management and climate adaptation.  Failing this, smallholders will be the most vulnerable victims of the rapid change in climatic conditions. Experiences have shown that Conservation Farming (CF) techniques, can greatly improve the production and productivity of small-holders and producers organizations, and to a high extent control the risks they face. Proper soil and water management, together with improved planting techniques, minimum tillage and the use of trees in combination with crops has not only led to increased and more predictable production, but has also significantly reduced labour input for both men and women farmers. 

Small-scale aquaculture producers will become more vulnerable to disasters due to climate change (FAO, 2012). Seasonal weather patterns are likely to change, with some areas experiencing greater periods of drought and others more floods. Storms and coastal and wetland flooding are likely to increase in frequency and affect aquaculture. Increased precipitation in some areas will lead to erosion of some lands and to greater sedimentation in coastal areas, affecting sea grass, reef production and seaweed production (FAO, 2012).

During this next phase, Norges Vel will give priority to integrating climate-smart aqua-/agricultural techniques into relevant formal collaboration models that capacitate smallholder farmers to transform their farming into productive, profitable and market oriented businesses that bring about a true integration of smallholders into the value chains.

Norges Vel will invest in climate sensitive food production knowledge and ways to transmit this knowledge to farmers using Information and Communication Technology, extension services, cooperatives and peer-to-peer learning tools. We will contribute to the inclusion of climate sensitive production in current value chains with stakeholders from conventional agriculture and we will continue to explore and scale up recycling technologies that transform current biomaterial flows (often considered waste) into resources for value creation.

To achieve this we will:

  • Contribute to strong farmer organizations developed and capacitated through tailor-made training and coaching processes
  • Adapt marine programs to changing climate conditions 
  • Incorporate conservation farming and other climate adaptive techniques in collaboration with partners at national and regional level
  • Integrate production techniques for synergies and improved productivity
  • Integrate group activities for improved waste management and soil quality while generating off-farm income
  • Foster local business opportunities related to small scale clean energy projects
  • Utilize farm waste products for the production of bio-energy and soil improvement in collaboration between farmer groups/cooperatives and local institutions
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Environment and Climate