Community-based organisations are coming together to fight some of the harsh effects of climate change as many small holders lost up to 80 per cent of their most recent harvest
Farmers are subject to some of the most striking effects of climate change. With the nearest water source being up to 20 kms away, and even that is poor quality, or containing too much sodium, water shortages are affecting both citizens and those in the agricultural sector.
To fight these effects, community-based organisations are forming to bring together innovative ways to tackle issues such as water shortages. This puts everyone in a better position to cope with the agricultural plagues that blight farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mwingi farmers group is one of these groups that is helping famers earn a living off the land and feed their family members. Nzoka Kathanda is the chairman of the group.
“We have many challenges in this area. One of the reasons we started the CBO was because we want farming to be a business,” says Kathande. “For some time we have been growing crops that have not done well so we have come together to work out what will grow successfully in this climate.
“Another challenge we face is water for domestic use and livestock. The rains have become more unreliable in recent years and we have to travel long distances to get water. We waste a lot of time collecting it which could be used for other activities.”
Because these farmers have a lack of mechanised or technological means to improve their yield, they rely heavily on the support of their fellow farmers. International development charity Farm Africa is working with Nzoka and the Mwingi CBO farmers group and others in the area.
Kathande is one of 100 farmers being trained in farming techniques to conserve water and soil. They are also being given access to high-quality seeds which are more resistant to pests and diseases, and which grow drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum.
“We came together in a farmers group to unite so we can have bargaining power,” says Nzoka.