Droughts, floods and other disasters caused by climate change have increased rapidly in the past several years, affecting the agricultural sector in many countries and putting them at risk of growing food insecurity.
Guyana’s flood experience of 2005-2006 is an important example of the impact climate change can have on the agricultural sector. Animals and plants did not survive the flood, causing farmers countrywide to lose their livelihood.
To prevent these disasters from happening again, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the Guyana Rice Development Board, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority and the Guyana Red Cross Society have collaborated and launched a training programme.
The exercise, “Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption of Good Practices for your community” was launched on Wednesday at Lovely Lass, West Coast Berbice. It will be launched in four other communities including Number Four Village, D’Edward, Fyrish and Now and Never.
The training will see officials from the above mentioned agencies looking at smart agricultural practices for each community which can assist in coping with adverse climate conditions. The most suitable approach will be selected and a demonstration exercise will be done with farmers.
It is expected that farmers will then transfer the new knowledge to their farm in an effort to reduce and manage disasters.
NAREI will be building capacity of extension services and staff to employ the disaster risk reduction tools, practices and approaches in their daily work and to promote field implementation of disaster risk reduction measures.
The agency’s Training Manager, Benjamin Frank, said that in the event of a disaster, while you can move animals, plants cannot be moved from one spot and taken back there when the situation becomes normal.
“We have to look at smart practices that can assist you in coping with these adverse condition like shade houses—but while this might be applicable in one area, it might not be suitable in other places so we have to arrive at the most suitable practices,” Frank said.
He added, “We are targeting farmers in specific communities in Region Five and Six. Observe what we are doing because it will be practically demonstrated. We expect all farmers to take what they learn back to their farm so that your livelihood is not greatly affected in the event of a disaster.”
The Training Officer informed farmers that NAREI will continue to assess communities at risk and implement good training programme to help overcome these hurdles farmers face year by year.