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Adapting irrigation to climate change (AICCA)

The vulnerability of family farmers from the Gambia towards the effects of climate change

11/12/2017

In the Gambia, members of 221 households from Jahaly, Pacharr and Salikenni villages were interviewed in the framewrok of the participatory assessment on the climate change impacts and adaptive capacity of different rural communities.

The preliminary results of the assessment show that most of them have observed changing climate patterns, such as the late arrival and shorter duration of the rainy seasons, causing the loss of their crops and reducing their incomes. The change in climate also implies spending more on agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, and having reduced water available for irrigation systems. Because the use of mechanized irrigation systems and the adoption of technologies (such as localized irrigation) are rather poor, farmers are even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Access to meteorological information and weather forecasts is also limited. Indeed, more than 80% of small-scale producers use traditional means, such as observing insect migration or baobab leaves, to predict events related to climate.

Farmers are using a number of coping strategies, such as incorporating manure into the soil, mulching and crop rotation, to increase the soil’s water retention. Small-scale producers are also using practices to ensure the efficient use of water. Some of these strategies consist of using drought-resistant and early maturing crops, alternating upland and lowland farming, digging new wells to access groundwater and building waterways and pits to direct the runoff water and avoid flooding in the lowland fields.

Final results of the assessment will be soon available and published on the website.

Watch also the “Voices from the field, Gambia” videos series.