MAPUTO, Mozambique, Sept 01 (IPS) – Small scale farmers across Zambia have had to stand by and helplessly watch their crops and livestock being destroyed because of the effects of climate change.
Most of the 60,000 small scale farmers belonging to Rodger Phiri’s association know exactly what climate change means – many have experienced it first hand.
Phiri, president of the Peasant and Small Scale Farmers Association of Zambia, said that farmers in his country did not know what to do as they watched their crops and livestock being destroyed by lack of water or in some cases through flooding.
“We know what climate change is from what we have experienced. We relate (first hand) to what you people in big offices talk about in meetings,” Phiri said.
How much destruction has been havocked by climate change related disasters is an issue for research. While the vulnerable do not know how they should respond to the frequent droughts and floods.
Although aspects of climate changes have been experienced from time immemorial, the current weather changes have gone beyond the indigenous knowledge that rural communities fell back on during such times.
And they have no response to it.
Because of this, there is an urgent need that research results are shared with the farmers to supplement their indigenous knowledge and to help them survive these climate change shocks.
Farmers are the ultimate implementers of some of new agricultural technologies.
In some instances research does not adequately address farmers’ needs.
And they need to know the details of new research that could help them. And research should be based on feedback from farmers in order to be useful