Climate Change Solutions for Poor Farmers

Hi Pam, Nikki, John and others in the dadamac team and community,

Here is something that all of you would find interesting and useful.

I just read an interesting story on agricultural solutions for farmers to tackle the multiple challenges of climate change, desertification, high energy demand and an exploding population.

Dr William Dar, Director General of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) says, "The world is facing a perfect storm, with a number of huge problems converging around us. At the centre of this storm are the poor people, who depend on agriculture for survival."

Backed by scientific research, ICRISAT says it has worked on crops (pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut) that have several natural advantages in a changing climate. Click and read the full story

Hope there are some good takeaways for all of you.




Hi Vijay

This is interesting and relevant, especially with reference to Attachab Eco-village

Marcus Simmons is at Fantsuam at the moment, and will be back in the UK soon. (Marcus was at Fantsuam last year building the ecodome ). We plan to meet up soon after he comes back. Not only will he have up to date information on Attachab, he will also have information from Songhai and IITA, both of which he visited near the start of his trip.

He is taking lots of photos, which he plans to put online (probably on Flickr) when he is home, and which we will link to from our website. I also hope he will write directly to the website.

It might be useful to ask him about pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut in the local context. My memory is that millet, sorghum and groundnuts are grown locally, but I don't know about chicpea and pigeonpea, and I don't know what kind of millet.

Our challenge when we read stories like the ICRISAT research is to pick out the bits that are most relevant to practical action for our friends working on the ground. In a way we need to work like a kind of filter. I don't mean that we should be censoring information in any, but we need to be sensitive to the fact that people on ther ground do not have the bandwidth that we have. This means that we need to have out eyes open for information that may be of interest, and then having it at our fingertips when it becomes needed. (Nikki and I talk about "pulling" "parking" and "pushing" information - in ways that fit people's personal needs.)

I am reminded of your blog thread about Education and ICT and your comment that "I want to do an integrated package on climate change, food security, agriculture, water, community health, nutrition and education." The link to ICRISAT research seems to cover quite a few of those topics.

Maybe it would be a good idea to gradually start separate threads (one blog topics at a time) on each of the topics that interest you - plus an integrated one. It could quickly get very wide and unmanageable, so it might be interesting to limit it by relating the online information to local practicalities at Fantsuam.(I realise that I am assuming you are interested in practicalites, not just academic study)

Would it interest you to know more about the challenges in rural Africa, or do you prefer limiting the applications of what you learn to India?


I would be interested in knowing more about the challenges in rural Africa. I think I would learn better if I focus on FF's and Dadamac's projects, and try pulling, parking and pushing online information (from India and elsewhere) to fit those projects. Each of these projects, as I see it, is an ICT module (filled with practicalities) on the topics that I am interested in.

Interestingly, some time back, I had read about some of IITA's reference material from its website. I found the material about 'An Approach to Hunger and Poverty Reduction for Sub-Saharan Africa' extremely interesting.

So maybe I should start a thread on food security and agriculture by focussing on rural Africa. What do you say? Vijay

Hi Vijay

Food security and agriculture does seem a good topic to study, and I agree that looking at the situation in rural Africa seems an appropriate place to start, given the location of various people connected with Dadamac.

I am sure you will find plenty to read, but you will also want to discuss your interests with others, to help the subject come alive. This is one of the big challenges of being a 21st century self-directed learner. Where do you find the people who share your interests and will be ready and willing to join in discussion with you? You need to find people who are interested in food security and agriculture who are also active online.

Here are some suggestions for getting started - forgive me if I am stating the obvious:

  • Look out for websites that encourage interaction, relevant face book groups, bloggers who encourage comments, and people who are active on twitter.
  • Commonwealth of Learning (COL) may have useful leads - there used to be a group called Life Long Learning for Farmers I think that was a COL group, I don't know if it is still active.
  • See the Songhai centre  which Marcus visited recently
  • Join us at First Thursday - recent chats have touched on fish-farming (and current problems related to fishing at Lake Victoria) beekeeping, and agro-processing (solar drying of fruits).  
  • Check ICT4D groups to see if they have any interest in Food security and/or agriculture.

It may take time to find the right online places and communities of interest, but once you do find a few good contacts then it should become increasingly easy because your network will just grow naturally.

I wonder if it would help if we start your Food Security and Agricultule thread over in our discussions forum area, under Dadamac Learners. The way the site is developing a thread  at Dadamac Learners might be more likely to get found 'by accident' by visitors to the site at a later date (compared to a blog thread that gets a bit buried as time passes). I will put one there for you in case you want to use it at some stage. Of course you can blog about it as well (or instead).


I wonder if this might be of interest - from IRIN GLOBAL: Good news for climate change migrants

COPENHAGEN, 11 December 2009 (IRIN) - After months of negotiations, the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen have good news for countries that might see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people migrating or being displaced by climate change.