Tackling climate change through Conservation Agriculture: Building Farmers’ Adaptive Capacities in Northern Mozambique

by Margarida Simbine, Mozambique, ELP 2014
Written on July 22, 2014.

There is no doubt that changes on climate are occurring at both global and local scales.
For developing countries in Africa, such as Mozambique, climate change adds another layer of complexity to already existing development challenges, such as high levels of gender inequality and weak governance systems.

Climate change is predicted to exacerbate these developmental challenges, as more floods, more droughts, and more cyclones occur more frequently. Given its wide array of impacts on and interactions with wider development, climate change is having considerable implications for humanitarian and development interventions. Accordingly, it is clear that adaptation to climate change is critical to achieve sustainable development in Mozambique, and this requires action across sectors at multiple levels. Households must pursue livelihoods strategies that will be resilient in a changing climate.

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In Mozambique, a major part of the population lives in rural areas where rain fed agriculture is still the main livelihood and source of food. Therefore, to build farmers’ adaptive capacities, resilient farming practices should be promoted.

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The Adaptation Learning Program from CARE International, in collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture, National Agricultural Research Institution, Meteorological Department and local NGOs, has been promoting conservation agriculture and supporting farmers to access climate information to reduce the impacts of climate change in Northern Mozambique. Conservation agriculture reduces the impact of droughts as the soil is maintained and covered throughout the year, thus reducing evaporation and runoff. Conservation agriculture also builds soil organic matter, which contributes to improve soil texture, thus improving moisture retention, water infiltration and soil fertility. The net effect of this approach has been the reduction of crop failure due to droughts and the increase on yields resulting in improvements for food security and nutrition. Farmers receive technical training on conservation agriculture and use of climate information to plan the farming season. They also receive guidance on how to run field experiments that help them compare different practices and select the best resilient practices.

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Muacheia Julião is among the farmers who is benefiting from the program. She referred that conservation agriculture reduced the risk of losing her crops. “Now I use mulch to cover the soil and moisture is retained in the soil thus, the plants can continue [to] use it for their growth. I also use improved seeds and climate information to plan my farming activities. Therefore, I reduce the risk of crop failure,” she completes.

CARE International in Mozambique
Margarida Simbine, Project Manager Adaptation Learning Program
T: +258-21-492-064 / 066
Email: msimbine@care.org.mz