Ce membre a participé aux discussions suivantes
I have been working on climate change and food security in several countries over the last year or two, but will write here about Mexico and Ghana. In these cases - and all the others - farmers are having to adapt to climate change on top of other changes going on anyway.
(1) The most important of these is rising population densities, leading to shortened fallows and an enforced move along the land-use intensification continuum in response to the resulting declining soil fertility. Higher proportions of income than before are having to be spent on fertiliser and weed/pest control.
(2) Secondly, in rural Mexico (Yucatan) and rural northern Ghana (Mole), the schooling of children in primary and secondary school and the frequently resulting exodus of young people to look for urban employment rather than returning to their parents' farms has resulted in a permanent loss of labour on the farm. This may be no bad thing in the long run, but in the short run it makes risk-spreading (for instance raising cattle and other animals as well as growing crops) almost out of the question in labour terms.
These two changes are forcing profound changes in farming systems in their own right, even before taking climate change into account as well.
Farmers in Ghana told us that, from the mid 1990s, they began to notice the increased unpredictability that is their main experience of climate change. Indicators for the imminent onset of the rains which used to be relied on as a trigger to planting - the appearance of certain birds and flowers, for instance - no longer meant what they had meant before. It was impossible to be sure that rains would start, or that if they started they would continue.
Their needs include quick-maturing crop varieties, which are relatively hardy. Because they are having to abandon many previous crops and crop varieties they need a lot of advice about how to innovate. But agricultural extension services no longer exist.
In Yucatan, farmers are narrowing the range of crops they grow and often investing more in livestock as adaptations both to points (1) and (2) above, and to the much more violent intensity of heat, drought and hurricanes that is their experience of climate change.
In both these places - and others worked in - the complementarity of wild foods from the forest is very important, and these foods may at times mitigate the climate change experience.
In Ghana, more commitment to rural extension is needed all round from the government agencies responsbile for agriculture, livestock and forests.
In richer Mexico, these agencies do work in rural areas, but they do not sufficiently work with one another. Villagers complained that they were offered completely contradictory advice by Agriculture and by Forests, and wished that higher level policy makers would sort out their differences, and make themselves more fully aware of local people's needs and constraints.
Just a few extra thoughts. Some traditional foods have much symbolical suginficance, and even though they are time-consuming to prepare, the knowledge of how to cook them remains, because they cooked at special times of year - maybe Christmas among christians, and certainly throughout the month of Ramadan among muslims. So it is important to keep those traditions alive.
I think what is really at risk of being lost - knowledge which may become important again if climate change adaptation becomes of especial importance in the future - is knowledge of wild foods and of famine foods, and of food which grows in semi-arid environments. This kind of knowledge probably needs to be recorded in cheap reference guide-books, with drawing or photos of the relevant plants, the kind of habitat where they may be found, and the method of gathering and preparation.
We also need to be aware of the high diversity of land-races (locally bred food varieties) at risk of being lost. I read a PhD some years ago which recorded biodiversity on the farms of wealthier and poorer farmers around Mount Kenya. Poorer farmers kept a much wider range of land-races going than did richer farmers (sub-varieties adapted to particular conditions in particular bits of the farm). Richer farmers tended to buy standard seeds from the market and to grow more commercial crops and fewer subsistence varieties. These land-races are traditional foods very much under threat from Monsanto et al.
One interesting way to look at what is maintained and what is lost as indigenous methods of food preparation (and indigenous foods) adapt to changing circumstances is to look at what happens with urbanisation. As time becomes shorter and cooking fuel has a cash-cost rather than a time-collection-cost, some foods are abandoned, and many are maintained but their preparation method changes (often with the help of the market): so maize is ground into maizemeal instead of boiled whole (East Africa); brown beans are cooked in bulk commercially and sold hot in the street instead of prepared at home (Nile Valley); wheat grains are pre-broken or semi-cooked as with bulgur or couscous in North Africa and the Middle East. Whole new dishes are invented with the fermentation of soaked lentils (which speeds up cooking time) in the Indian sub-continent.
I have seen cassava leaves prepared in a far less time consuming way in the Comoro Islands than is described for Rwanda, in part by shredding the leaves before cooking.
The ultimate way of cooking in a fuel-short context is chinese cooking, where dishes are prepared by spending most of the time on cutting portions up into very small pieces which will cook rapidly. It is then possible to stir-fry or boil the vegetables and meat (if any) in as little time as it takes to cook the rice.
All these methods are indigenous methods too, as additional constraints kick in.
I am glad the moderator includes indigenous methods of food storage among his concerns. They are very important and not always well understood. The drying of foods such as green leaves, vegetables and fruits is very important in some areas and so is pickling in Asia and Europe.
I like Dr John Kazer's comments about PES in the UK very much. However, the fact that, to date, CAP farm payments for set-aside have been insufficiently monitored for the effectiveness of inputs to outputs is a reason to try harder, not a reason to abandon these types of payments.
I was surpised at a recent meeting to find that PES purists do not regard these European payment systems as proper PES at all. I don't think we will progress far if we are that picky. PES is such a messy area at the moment, with so few genuine successes, that in my view we should be considering as wide a range of models as possible and monitoring them for impact and effectiveness.
In remoter developing country contexts, we run, as we know, into many more problems. Probably top of the list are these:
- Ambiguous tenure (people feel they own communal land, through tradition and customary law, that the national government does not regard as theirs)
- Payments of many kinds to rural people (benefit-sharing schemes, payments by loggers or mining companies to local people whose lands are exploited) are curtailed, paid to the wrong people, kept by chiefs and not distributed further, etc. If the flaws in these earlier systems are not understood and dealt with, PES cannot succeed either.
- Payments are too low to effect changes in behaviour
PES is an economist's dream solution - put a price on what has not previously been monetised, pay for it, and all will be well. But the social complexities of the deal are still being hugely under-rated.
THE FOOD SECURITY VALUE OF FORESTS IN THE CONTEXT OF ALL OTHER FOREST VALUES
Gill Shepherd LSE and IUCN
For millennia, forests, trees, and woodland were the source of land for settlement and cultivation, materials for construction, woody biomass for fuel and energy, and for food and nutrition as well. The continuing contributions of forests to global biodiversity, the fertility of agricultural lands, and the food security of rural people still mean that forests are immensely valuable for sustainability.
Even if only the formally recognized, officially reported monetary contributions of forests to the economies of the developing world are taken into account, they exceed US$ 250billion more than double the flow of total development assistance. Data gaps and absence of reliable information are major problem in estimating the economic contributions of forests beyond what is available in official reports. Country- and region-specific efforts indicate that where such data are reliably available, the non-cash economic contributions of forests to household and national economies range between 3 and 5 times the formally recognized, cash contributions.
In addition to their direct, cash and non-cash economic contributions, forests also provide substantial levels of employment which are also important for food security. More than 13 million people are employed in forest sector activities in the formal sector. In the informal sector of small and medium forest enterprises, another 40-60 million people may be employed. Estimates of the number of people deriving direct and indirect benefits from forests – in the form of food, forest products, employment and direct or indirect contributions to livelihoods and incomes – range between 1 billion - 1.5 billion.
Unlike most other sectors, forests also contribute massively to the ecosystem services that humans value, even if they are not traded or even if it is difficult to put an economic or a food security figure on the value. Different valuation strategies peg the economic value of ecosystem services from forests in the neighborhood of additional hundreds of billions of dollars.
The absence of data on economic contributions related to non-timber forest products (NTFPs/NWFPs) and their value, and the lack of information systems that can incorporate such data systematically are major bottlenecks in a better understanding of forest sector contributions. They also represent a major deficiency when it comes to improved management so as to enhance the total economic contributions of forests. Indeed, the effective absence of information on the value of such benefits from forests has meant an overemphasis in forest governance systems on managing forests for products that are highly visible, formally recognized, and with cash market value.
 The introductory section of this note is drawn from the paper, ‘Economic Contributions of Forest’ prepared for the United Nations Forum on Forests by Agrawal et al 2013. The main text is based on work by the author and on a literature review prepared for the same paper.
 The term NTFP/NWFPS, non-timber forest products, is the most commonly-used term for everything (including fuelwood and light poles used in house construction as well as foods and fibre) drawn from the forest for home use or sale. NWFPs (non-wood forest products) is the term that FAO prefers, so that all wood products, from timber to fuelwood can be grouped together. Most writers prefer the former term because it divides forest products by two very distinct groupings of forest user: loggers and local people.
Please see the attachment for Gill's full contribution