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Tuesday
Oct162012

Drought and Flooding: Dual Challenges on the Island of Granada

Gillian Primus (Grenada), Hanna Bartel (Canada), and Meredith Waters (US) have been working for the past year on a project on the island of Grenada; Granada that has been hit by a series of tropical hurricanes and tropical storms exhibiting increased ferocity over the past seven years. This has led to reduced crop harvests, a reduction in food security, increased malnutrition, and increased poverty.

The team originally developed this project outline to increase crop production, and are now looking for highly specific sub activities to target highly specific in-field challenges.

Their simple project outline:
Farmer Soil Conservation and Water Conservation and Management Program
[Solution to underlying causes: Climate variability, extreme weather, and unpredictable rainy season have reduced crop harvests]:
[Activity 1]. Farmer workshop on soil restoration and conservation techniques
[Activity 2]. Farmer workshop on water conservation and management techniques
[Activity 3]. Participatory mapping and identification of local soil and water challenges in preparation for future implementation phase

Farmer Extension Program [Solution to underlying causes: Unpredictable/late start to rainy season; mid-season drought/early end to rainy season have reduced crop harvests.]:
[Activity 1]. Farmer workshop and follow-up on early maturing and/or drought resistant crops/varieties for adapting to climate variability
[Activity 2]. Farmer workshop and follow-up on buffering against the late arrival of rain and/or an early end to the rainy season
[Activity 3]. Participatory mapping and identification of local crop and buffering challenges in preparation for future implementation phase

They conducted a participatory workshop to identify very specifically what the challenges are so they can begin developing sub activities for their project.

Identification of specific project sub activities:

Says Gillian: "Unfortunately for us it rained throughout the entire duration of the workshop and we were able to witness firsthand -- and then document through photographs -- the vulnerability of these farmers." See the photos of the flooded fields.

They developed a concise definition of their local climate change context and programming:

100 subsistence farm families in the parish of St. Patrick’s (which is considered the food basket of the nation) of Grenada, are suffering from losses of and reduced crop harvests due to extreme weather, an unpredictable rainy season, and extended periods of drought. This is leading to a reduction of food security, increased malnutrition, and increased poverty.

The farmers’ fields are situated on flat and sloping lands. Given the soil composition; mainly clay based and the unseasonal rainfall and periods of prolonged dry spells, they are prone to drought like conditions, severe flooding (river overflowing its banks, heavy runoff from the slopes) and erosion and depletion of the soil.

Dual challenge-- drought and flooding: This team working on a project in Grenada is currently developing sub activities for their project that on the one hand will help farmers during drought conditions -- and on the other hand can protect the fields from flooding.

You can download the participatory mapping for their project here:
OL 333 assignment one how-to card.

You can download their full project outline here:
OL 343 assignment five

You can download their vulnerability assessment here:
OL 333 assignment one vulnerability assessment.

Here are some of the techniques that they're investigating:

Drought and rain related to erosion:
get more organic material into the soil by incorporating crop residues back into the soil prior to planting
use crop residues to mulch on the surface of the soil so that it is not so exposed and also for increasing the organic material content of the soil
collecting organic material and making compost piles (this was mentioned in Tim’s example and seems to be a valuable addition to the process)
building barriers in the field to retard the movement of water off of the field
contour ridges
soil bunds digging a retention pond
making raised planting beds

Agricultural techniques for high rainfall and flooded areas
Wet Watershed Management Guide: Water Harvesting and Soil Conservation in High Rainfall Areas

agroforestry/alley cropping
contour farming
mixed cropping
deep bedding system
gully plugging – earthen gully plugs
graded bunds
field bunds
protection bunds
farm ponds
drainage channels and culverts
diversion channels
land reclamation and vegetative measures

Farming techniques for flooding in flat lands
Parallel field ditches are excellent for agricultural drainage on flatter types of lands, and are also used as to prevent erosion on sloping farm lands. Water from the field ditches is drained away into side ditches. The side ditches then carry water to an outlet channel. Surface drainage is important in farm areas as it prevents many water-related land problems and ensures that crops do not become waterlogged. www.wisegeek.com/what-is-surface-drainage.htm

Deep Bedding Systems for Improved Drainage Description:
Digging deep drains and piling the excavated soil between the drains give rise to deep beds 2-2.5 ft high which may necessitate the construction of side walls. Breaking up the soil manually to a fine tilt is next followed by the incorporation of organic matter to improve soil fertility and structure. Can be labor intensive. Good DRM practices for Belizean small farmers

Next week they will be making the final selection of the sub activities and presenting them to the community members.

Do you have any suggestions for their project?

What's happening in the region where you live?
Please write us with your stories, thoughts and comments through Online.Learning@csd-i.org or post them at our Facebook Page, or on the Center’s Blog.
 
Be sure to visit CSDi’s Development Community. Join 700 colleagues in sharing resources & collaborating online.

 
Like us: CSDi Facebook.
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tim Magee, Executive Director
 
Would you like to subscribe to this newsletter?
 
The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
 
 
We are pleased to draw your attention to a new Guide released by UNDP-UNEP. This guide provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how governments and other national actors can mainstream climate change adaptation into national development planning as part of broader mainstreaming efforts.
Saturday
Oct132012

Loraini Sivo Of Fiji Wins $40,000 GEF Grant for Project Developed in Online Course

In 2011 Loraini Sivo (Fiji) and Fatema Rajabali (UK) developed a project with a community of people in the village called Yadua. Here's a description of the problem the community members faced based upon participatory needs assessment:

200 people in the village of Yadua, Fiji are suffering from increase erosion of shoreline caused by increase wave actions due to the reduction of mangrove forest and a reef which acts as buffers – and climate change induced rising sea levels which contributes to loss of houses, arable land and housing sites and sedimentation caused by soil erosion that smothers the fish level. Due to this, a marine ecosystem shift is occurring with corals dying and in turn less fish found by the reef. As the Yadua rely on fishing for their livelihood, this affects livelihoods and leads to a reduction in their ability to lead the productive, meaningful, prosperous lives they need to leave the cycle of poverty and contribute to the development of their community.

Mangrove nursery that community members were starting to establish after our 1st workshop with them

Loraini presented the project to the GEF Small Grants program and at the end of 2011 was awarded $40,000 grant for her project. Says Loraini:

The course OL 341 helped me develop a concept for Yadua on a small scale ecosystem-based adaptation climate change project which was then submitted to GEF Small Grants. The course had also helped me identify the processes to use in terms of assessing the needs of the community and in helping the communities to identify impacts affecting them that was related to climate change. I first conducted a need assessment which I had also incorporated the sharing of some very basic climate change science as part of awareness. The two key needs that communities had identified were coastal erosion around the island but most importantly in front the village location and the availability of food on the island through certain times of the year. After a few consultation meetings with GEF, they informed me that they were willing to fund the project.  

Through this funding Yadua has now set-up a costal restoration project which includes the planting of mangroves and coastal plants in the affected areas and also the development of community garden to act as food source for the community. In the last 10 months, a lot of awareness and training programs have been conducted on Yadua as part of the project activities and community members have been very much engaged into the whole project.

Various experts from the agriculture, forestry and food & nutrition sector have been part of the team providing trainings to communities. A committee made up of 8 ppl has been developed on the island to look after the overall project implementation and they are working very closely with our partner organization, National Trust, to ensure consistent reporting of the project status. The 8ppl in the committee are made up youths, women and men from the community. Through the course of the project, Yadua will be developing its Costal Forest Management Plan and a Code of Conduct for Sustainable Farming Practices. I am using the same site for the OL343 course. 

Project Outline: Problem list & potential interventions/activities/solutions
Problem 1. Increasing erosion of shoreline caused by increase wave actions

Ecosystem based adaptation program [Solution to underlying cause: wave impacts at high tide and rising sea level]
[Activity 1]. Workshop on values of the ecosystem as natural buffers and coastal processes
[Activity 2]. Land use management workshop and follow up
[Activity 3]. Workshop on habitat restoration technique - mangroves and artificial reefs
[Activity 4]. Coastal management planning workshop and follow up

Community members voting during needs assessment.

A  meeting was conducted with  5 men and 5 women from Yadua who were either active outdoor people or have lived most of their live on the island because these are the people that would recognize change around them and take notice of impacts on the local environment more than the others, if there were any.


Follow these links to see:
A description of her project in our newsletter from 2011.
The original participatory needs assessment.
Her project Logframe


What's happening in the region where you live?
Please write us with your stories, thoughts and comments through Online.Learning@csd-i.org or post them at our Facebook Page, or on the Center’s Blog.
 
Be sure to visit CSDi’s Development Community. Join 700 colleagues in sharing resources & collaborating online.

 
Like us: CSDi Facebook.
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tim Magee, Executive Director
 
Would you like to subscribe to this newsletter?
 
The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
 
 
We are pleased to draw your attention to a new Guide released by UNDP-UNEP. This guide provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how governments and other national actors can mainstream climate change adaptation into national development planning as part of broader mainstreaming efforts.
Tuesday
Oct092012

Climate Smart Agriculture: Empirical Evidence 

The FAO recently published: Climate Smart Agriculture: Empirical Evidence of Food Security and Mitigation Benefits from Improved Crop Land Management.

Climate Smart Agriculture: Empirical Evidence

I've been teaching a climate smart agriculture course. Depleted soils, unreliable access to water, outmoded agricultural practices and a lack of coping strategies for adapting to a changing climate are leading to reduced agricultural productivity, income generation, and food security for smallholder farmers worldwide.

Course participants have been researching potential solution oriented techniques that smallholder farmers can use to begin selling these challenges. The solutions range from conservation agriculture, to maintaining crop residues in the field, crop rotations and mixed cropping that incorporate legumes, improved crop varieties such as early maturing and drought resistant crops, building barriers in the fields to retard the movement of water, and agroforestry.

I was delighted to discover this new resource which has investigated each of the techniques that the students have been incorporating into their projects.

This document looks at 171 scientific studies that analyze the impact of utilizing the types of techniques that we've been studying in this course. The study looks at production increases at the farm level, profit increase at the farm level, food security potential, and mitigation potential.

The papers which they studied from all over the world show that these techniques that are studying can increase productivity from between 45% to over 200%, and can increase average farm income from 40% to 161%. They also show that some of the techniques are more appropriate for dry regions and other techniques are more appropriate for moist regions. These techniques can also increase food security by between 55% and 164%, and make a significant increase in the amount of carbon sequestered in soil.

Check out this valuable resource.

What's happening in the region where you live?

Please write us with your stories, thoughts and comments through Online.Learning@csd-i.org or post them at our Facebook Page, or on the Center’s Blog.

 
Be sure to visit CSDi’s Development Community. Join 700 colleagues in sharing resources & collaborating online.
Would you likje to learn about Climate Smart Agriculture?
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tim Magee, Executive Director
 
Would you like to subscribe to this newsletter?
 
The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.