PORT VILA, (FAO) — Adapting to climate change is key to achieving food security for the future, particularly in areas susceptible to the impacts of climate change.
A project called Community resilience and coping with climate change and natural disasters in Vanuatu was launched in 2011 with the aim to assist farmers to use alternative farming methods to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
Under the guidance of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) officers, selected farmers received hands on training in establishing small farming plots so that they can set up their own demo plots when they return to their communities.
As part of their training, farmers observed different stress tolerant crops and cropping systems which could be adopted in their own demo plots. Using stress tolerant crops would increase the availability of food for communities after a natural disaster.
Farmers returned to their communities and set up demo plots using the knowledge, tools and planting materials – diverse cuttings and tubers- they received at the workshops. So far, 15 demo plots have been established by farmers in each of the six provinces in Vanuatu.
Local communities have benefited from the project.
“The root crop varieties planted in our demo plot are totally new to the community and will help make food available before, during and after a disaster”. Said a farmer from Melelava in Torba province. “Knowledge and skills gained through training will help us to prepare for disasters like cyclones which are always striking Merelava”.
A farmer from Ipayato community said. “The establishment of the demo plot had provided a new milestone for Ipayato. Our community church groups will take activities forward from now and after the project.”
Similar feedback from communities from all six provinces have emphasised the value in establishing new resilient crops.
FAO Technical Officer Ganesh Bhattarai, who has been providing support to the project, mentioned “This project is a good example of adoption of climate smart agriculture that FAO is trying to promote around the globe. It is more relevant in the context of the Pacific Islands whose population is most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change”.
The project is funded by United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and jointly implemented by FAO, UNDP and UNICEF.