UN to assist African farmers threatened by climate change

28 April 2008 – Some 10,000 farmers in five African countries, where crops are expected to be badly affected by climate change, are to receive help from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the form of low-cost rain gauge equipment and roving seminars provided by agricultural experts.

With the help of Spain, WMO will distribute the rain gauges to volunteer farmers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, and train them in using rainfall data to plan sowing, fertilizer application and harvesting. The goal of the roving seminars is to support farmers’ self-reliance by supplying them with information on weather and climate risk management.

In West Africa, the area suitable for agriculture, the length of the growing season, and crop yields, especially along the margins of arid and semi-arid areas, are all expected to decrease, according to projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In some African countries, yield from rain-fed farming could be reduced by up to 50 per cent by 2020.

The assistance plan was announced on Friday after a meeting in Niamey, Niger, which was organized by WMO and the State Meteorological Agency of Spain.


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