In this short (4 minutes 30 seconds) audio interview, the director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Carlos Seré, speaks on why Africa must, and how it can, adapt to climate change.
Seré says Africa must learn to adapt to shorter growing seasons following findings of a new ILRI study that warns of the potential problems Africa faces from rising temperatures. The report, which was released recently at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, considers what might happen if global temperatures increased by four degrees.
‘Scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute say with a four degree Celsius rise in temperature, the growing season in many African countries could dramatically shorten.
‘“So that would really put large numbers of poor people into a very difficult situation in terms of coping with this change,” he says.
‘Adapting to climate change could mean having diversity in crops and livestock.
‘Seré says, “Clearly, farmers would have to change some of their crops. So, for example, areas which are getting a reasonable maize harvest, a corn harvest, nowadays, might have to move into more drought tolerant grains like sorghum or millet. Similarly, on the livestock side there would have to probably be quite a shift to more hardy local breeds instead of high yielding imported breeds, which are much less able to cope with higher temperatures and more variability.
‘”The genetic resources of hardy local crops and livestock could be used to help develop new varieties and breeds better able to deal with climate change.
‘Seré says the report calls for “sustainable intensification”: “Finding sustainable ways of better using the resources that we have on the farms. Making sure that, for example, besides using fertilizers, manure is used efficiently to bring those nutrients back into the soil. That crop residues are used smartly to feed animals. We will have to get all these nutrient loops much more efficient than they are today,” he says. . . .’
Seré was interviewed by Joe de Capua of Voice of America: Climate change: New report outlines how Africa can adapt, 29 November 2010.