WHAT DO EXPERTS PREDICT FOR THE FATE OF THE PLANET’S PLANTS AND ANIMALS?
Nature is in more trouble now than at any time in human history with extinction looming over one million species of plants and animals, experts say.
That’s the key finding of the United Nations‘ (UN) first comprehensive report on biodiversity – the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat.
The report – published on May 6, 2019 – says species are being lost at a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past.
Many of the worst effects can be prevented by changing the way we grow food, produce energy, deal with climate change and dispose of waste, the report said.
The report’s 39-page summary highlighted five ways people are reducing biodiversity:
– Turning forests, grasslands and other areas into farms, cities and other developments. The habitat loss leaves plants and animals homeless. About three-quarters of Earth’s land, two-thirds of its oceans and 85% of crucial wetlands have been severely altered or lost, making it harder for species to survive, the report said.
– Overfishing the world’s oceans. A third of the world’s fish stocks are overfished.
– Permitting climate change from the burning of fossil fuels to make it too hot, wet or dry for some species to survive. Almost half of the world’s land mammals – not including bats – and nearly a quarter of the birds have already had their habitats hit hard by global warming.
– Polluting land and water. Every year, 300 to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge are dumped into the world’s waters.
– Allowing invasive species to crowd out native plants and animals. The number of invasive alien species per country has risen 70 per cent since 1970, with one species of bacteria threatening nearly 400 amphibian species.
The piece of writing is copied from the link below. For further reading go to the direct source.
The Cholistan desert is part of the ancient Hakra River civilization, one of the oldest of the Aryan settlers in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the largest deserts in Pakistan, inhabited by around 1.2 million Rohi pastoral people practicing mobile livestock husbandry. This production system is extremely important for food security and conservation of livestock and landscape.
The camel is one of the important animal genetic resources and about 80,000 are found in the desert. The main tribe with camel herds is Marrecha. The desert pastoralists also raise goats, sheep and cattle breeds. The major camel breed is Marrecha following by Brela. The precious camel genetic resources are under threat due to commercial agricultural practices, land grabbing and faulty development projects.
The policies come from the top and pastoral peoples do not participate in formulating strategies for development. Hence the projects are not supported by local livestock keepers and always result in failure. There is an urgent need to save this pastoral livestock system, especially the camel breeds. It is suggested that niche marketing, value addition, ecotourism and participation of pastoral people in development policies may help achieve this goal. Organization of the livestock keepers in the region can be an efficient tool to halt land grabbing.
Livestock keeping is often portrayed as a pathway out of poverty, particularly for the landless poor. However, in recent years, concern has grown that standard approaches to poverty alleviation for livestock keepers are failing to produce the promised benefits, with producers facing increasing challenges from land grabbing, cheap imports and climate change.
In response, the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP) has advocated the need for a new approach, re-examining the notion of growth and how to support sustainable livestock development. In September 2012, a conference on ‘Livestock Futures’, organised by the LPP in Bonn, Germany, gave an opportunity for livestock keepers and international experts to share their visions for the livestock sector and how to set it on a sustainable path. Several participants also shared their views with New Agriculturist.
The first role of the smallscale livestock keeper is that they conserve precious biodiversity, precious livestock breeds which are highly adaptable, which produce in a very low input system, which are resistant to many challenges. And second role they are producing high quality food items for the society, for the people. And thirdly they are the sign of our heritage, our culture; they attract tourists in the form of eco-tourism. Abdul Raziq Kakar, SAVES, Pakistan
The future of livestock depends on the future of livestock keepers. The importance of their contribution to food security and the economies of the countries where they raise their animals is tremendous. The value of animal trade has gone from US$250 million to US$1 billion in Africa in recent years. Getachew Gebru, MARIL research and development organisation, Kenya and Ethiopia
Many small livestock keepers are women
I discovered this interesting fact: the average size of dairy herd in the world is just three cows. You see how many small herds there must be? Small scale involves so, so many people. Large scale involves very few. We need to appreciate the role of the small scale and what they do for consumers and what we should be doing to help them.
Wolfgang Bayer, AGRECOL, Germany
I think small livestock keepers play a very important role in developing countries, in generating income for the families. Mostly the small livestock keepers are women and when the women get some income they take care of their family, their children and also resolve poverty in our local areas. Nouhoun Zampaligre (Burkina Faso), PhD student, University of Kassel, Germany
I think they have an important role in preserving local breed biodiversity and helping us to understand how multi-functional agriculture and livestock keepers can be. The smallscale producers have more criteria, not only money or production of milk or meat; they have traditions, they have culture and other things which are very important to preserve. Maria Rosa Lanari, National Institute for Agricultural Technology, Argentina
Pressures and policy failures
There’s not enough attention to what’s happening in livestock. Not enough attention on how we can link smallholders to market. The demand is from cities looking for cheap goods and it is likely that the smaller scale producers will be excluded because of the economies of scale and distance. Growth in Africa in recent years has been 6-7%. But the increase in demand is not being met by smallholders. It comes from imports. How do we tackle this? Henning Steinfeld, FAO
Smallscale livestock keepers are facing increasing challenges from land grabbing, cheap imports and climate change
In the pastoral system you have the people, you have the animals, you have the natural resources. That is where we usually fail. We either just take the livestock and work on it or we take the natural resource and work on it. We do not have this holistic approach. And secondly we need to be able to see how, when you change one factor you are also affecting the other, but we fail to understand how that is impacting. Getachew Gebru, MARIL, Ethiopia
Livestock keepers’ rights need to be recognised. Our contribution to the creation and maintenance of animal genetic resources is not widely appreciated. Sometimes I feel depressed that every pastoralist community faces the same problems but that is what makes it necessary to find solutions at international level, at national level, right down to local officials. Hanwant Singh, Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS), Rajasthan, India
Policies do not support the poorest at all, not anywhere: not in Pakistan, not in Europe, not in America, not in Canada. The national governments, the international people they are looking for mega projects for big things to be visible, to get more support. But our lands are being grabbed; our ways are discouraged; with climate change there are new diseases. Everything is against us so we need the support of national and international bodies to survive. Abdul Raziq Kakar, SAVES
Strategies and solutions
For me a key step is the provision of credit to entrepreneurs to set up facilities such as a processing plant close to the producing areas. The livestock keepers will then have a reliable, convenient market for what they produce and with the new income they look after their family’s needs and then look after their livestock better and improve their health and productivity. They buy more from local feed mills and other suppliers and the benefits are shared. Nancy Abeiderrahmane, Tiviski Camel Milk Dairy, Mauritania
Reliable, convenient livestock markets are important
Smallholders in developing countries must clearly identify the benefits of these production systems. How can you measure these benefits and how can you use them to access the markets? We need to convince the consumer that this is important, to buy these things for their quality and the quality of their processing.
For Dutch farmers the solutions lie in restoration of soil fertility; the optimisation of the farm as a whole rather then the maximisation of one single product; to sell direct or add value; to diversify the farmer’s work and income; re-value local and dual-purpose breeds. I believe in livestock production globally there needs to be a ‘technology leap’ where developing countries can learn from what has happened in highly industrialised animal production sectors. Katrien van’t Hooft, Tradinova, Netherlands
There are good signs of regional collaboration. I see it starting in Africa, to regionally work together for example to control transboundary diseases that afflict so many smaller and poor livestock keepers. These initiatives are good but we need more. Getachew Gebru, MARIL
Listening and engaging
The smallholders, the pastoral people, they have no representation in the parliament. They have no political power. They are living in far flung areas so they have no participation at policy level. They are not asked when the policy is formalised. The utmost need is to take smallholders on board while formulating any policy relating to animal genetic resources, related to livestock production systems.
Abdul Raziq Kakar
Derived from the report of new agriculturist; available in the link below.
The camel farm (Gyttorp, central Sweden) consists of 3 camels; named as Kalle, Karlsson, and Anna owned by a couple, Inger Haglund and her husband Per-Ola Magnusson. The camel depends on berry bushes, grasses, and trees for food.
The couple is heading this small herd of camels since last few years and uses it for riding and other eco-touristic purposes. The camels are a new entry in the Swedish landscape. According to Inger, It’s much easier to handle them and they have developed very much with the riding. The couple has a dream that someday there might even be camel racing in Sweden.
For further reading, please go to the links below.
Cholistan Desert (also locally known as Rohi) sprawls thirty kilometers from Bahawalpur, covers an area of 16,000 km². It adjoins the Thar Desert extending over to Sindh and into India. The word the Cholistan is derived from the Turkish word Chol, which means Desert. The Cholistan thus means Land of the Desert. The people of Cholistan lead a semi-nomadic life, moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals. The dry bed of the Hakra River runs through the area, along which many settlements of the Indus Valley Civilisation have been found. The present-day Cholistan is a part of the ancient Hakra civilization (HakraRiver), one of the oldest civilizations of the Aryan settlers in the Indian subcontinent. The Cholistan is home to diverse and unique animal genetic resources. Such animals are highly adapted to the local ecosystem and provide food in very low input systems or even zero inputs. Both the Rohi people and their animal genetic resources are always neglected and underestimated. The climate change challenges push the scientists and policymakers to characterize and document the true worth of these important animal breeds and to convert it in wealth and power of the Rohi people.
Falling in southern Punjab, Cholistan is one of the largest deserts of the country and part of the great Indian Desert. The Cholistan comprises three districtsBahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, and Rahim Yar Khan. The total area of Cholistan is 66,55,360 acres. The largest area of Cholistan is present inBahawalpurwhich is 40,28,217 acres. The temperature ranges in the Cholistan from 6 to 50°C. The length of Cholistan is 480 km and width ranges from 32 to 192 km. The human population of Cholistan is 1,55,000 whereas the livestock population is 13,18,000. Table 1 shows some more facts are summarized below.
Table 1. A glance at some basic facts about the Cholistan
Area spread (kms)
480 x 32-192
Area in acres
R Y Khan
28º 15’0 N
70º 45’0 E
The groundwater for these populations is mostly brackish. The inhabitants of Cholistan are called Rohi and the main tribe of the camel herders is Marrecha. The camel that belongs to Marrecha tribe is known as Marrecha breed. The other tribe which usually resides on the peripheries of the desert adjoining to irrigated lands is called Malgade. Malgade usually keeps the Brela camel. The Cholistan is the homeland of many precious animal genetic resources i.e. camel, cattle, sheep, and goat. Most of the Cholistan is covered with the wide range of nutritious and drought tolerant species of vegetation. Deep in desert, the camel mostly rely on Khar, Lana, Jand, and Kareer, while in the peripheries mostly kikar is available along the water courses and roadside (Table 2).
Table 2 showing the vegetation available for the camel in Cholistan desert
Cholistan Development Activities
The water sources available in the desert are comprised of Toba system and water supply provided by the Cholistan Development Authority and that of PCRWR. Toba is a pond, where rainwater is collected and stored after rains and camels were gathered for drinking before stating their browsing of the day. This water used by all the inhabitants of desert until it dries up. Here are some famous tobas of the desert.
Toba Meer Gargh Fort
Toba Moaj Gargh
Channan Peer and
Ghurkan Rest House.
Animal Genetic Resources in the Living Desert of Cholistan (Rohi)
Cholistani cattle is the best animal in habitats like the Cholistan and a source of income for pastoral people. This breed is medium size, well-developed udder and color range from red and black spotted with white background. Some species are purely red. Cholistani cattle possess well-developed hanging dewlap. The population of Cholistani cattle is 6,67,000 which is the maximum among Livestock population. Milk production potential of these animals is 8-10 liter per day in the desert area and lactation length is the 8-9 month. But install feeding management 18-20 liter per day with 7-8 month lactation length.
The maximum milk record is 29 liter per day at Jugaitpeer Farm. Despite the problems faced like lack of proper feeding pattern, poor ranges, long drought, lack of concentrate feed and water and low prices in the inner Cholistan, these perform well.
Sheep & Goat
There are three sheep breeds of sheep viz; Sipli (northern periphery of Cholistan), Buchi (in a central part of the desert) and Kadali (in the rear Cholistan or nearby R Y Khan Distt). Very common breed of goat is the local hairy goat.
The population of sheep is 3,51,000 while goat is 2,20,00 heads in Cholistan desert. There are two seasons of shearing one is spring and other is autumn shearing. The average wool production of Ram and Ewes is 5-6 kg in spring shearing and 3-5 kg in autumn shearing. The main purpose of farming of sheep breed is wool production. The wool price of these breeds is Rs 25/- per shearing but it has no future scope. Lots of wool stays in the desert, which is lying there at the mercy of natural vagaries. We suggest that L&DD Dept and CDA should do something collectively to bring this wool to some use. Wool Lab atBahawalpurcan also plays its role.
There are two types of camel breeds of Cholistan, one is Marrecha and second one is Brela. The camel population is almost 70,000 heads. About sixty (60%) population is Marrecha which is a beautiful animal and used for dancing purpose. While 40% population is of Brela which is a milking animal and maximum milk record of this breed is 22 liter. The milking season of Brela is from October to March.
The average herd size of the Marrecha camel is 37. The majority are female with 20-25 lactating camels. The color ranges from blackish brown to light brown while the majority is fawn. Marrecha has long thin neck, long legs, long eyelashes, hair on the ears & neck with medium head and pointed muzzles. The rabbit-like ears are the salient feature of this breed. The top priority of Marrecha herders is to produce drought camels for the transportation of their families in the desert. As Marrecha is highly demanded its racing ability and beauty, the herders stress on its beauty trait also.
Fig.Animal Genetic Resource~ Marrecha camel of Cholistan
This breed is mainly used for the transportation and riding in the desert. The male is trained for many events and riding in the desert ecology. There is high demand for Marrecha camel by the race hobbyist in local market andMiddle East. The Marrecha camel is liked by the hobbyists and the carters of the cities and produces milk in harsh conditions with high temperature and scarcity of feed & water. This characteristic of Marrecha camel enabling its’ herders to live in deep and use the camel milk as food security. As Marrecha camel found in the deep desert, therefore it is milked when the pastoral family needs it. They provide a good amount of milk to male calves for vigor and good health in future.
Types of male animals are sold at the age of 3-4 years at different times of the year. They sell it locally and at the famous camel fairs also. Channan Peer fair is one of the famous destinations of the male Marrecha animals. The average price is almost Rs. 50,000/- to 70,000/- but some animals may attain a price of Rs 4-5 lacs according to its beauty, attraction, and taste of the buyer.
The average herd size of the Brela camel is 26, with the majority of the female. The lactating camel ranges from 23-27% of the herd but depends upon the status of the year (dry or wet). The color ranges from blackish brown to light brown while the majority is deep brown, sometimes white specimen are also found. Brela is one of the massive breed of the country with the thick neck, wide chest, muscular legs and massive head. The hanging lip is one of the salient features of the breed. Brela camel is mainly raised for milk and male animals are sold for meat purpose. This is one of the high milk producing animal and produces up to 22 liters per day. The docility of the breed stands as its special trait. Any stranger can milk it any time of the day. It is also easy in adaptation in any kind of ecosystem, which is a tool, which can be used in the areas for milk production where camel had never been raised.
Fig. Brela camel Breed
The Brela camel originates from the ThaldesertofPakistan. Thal desert is already squeezed and remained only 32%. The rest of Thal desert is irrigated and brought under canal irrigation. The people replaced from that area starred a new strategy of camel production. They migrate from Thal to the Cholistan in August and stay here for 5 months and go back to Thal and their irrigated areas. They move along the road and railway tracks and their camel browse on vegetation available and whenever they find open areas, the aftermath of the crops, or labor the nearby fields, they stay there for a limited time. They also stay near the peripheries of the cities to sell camel milk, which usually is mixed in buffalo milk by the middleman and sold in the cities. They know the cultural events of their migratory routes and hence they participate in the melas (fairs) to sell their male animals and milk. They had adopted a very good strategy to keep the camel production system viable. Brela camel is milked very regularly twice the time. The women usually sell the milk and the earning usually goes to them. As Brela is good milk producer with sustainable lactation yield is resulting from a good source of earning in the form of milk for its herders especially the woman folks.
Problems and Constraints
Squeezing lands is one of the major problems for camel production systems in Pakistan, especially Cholistan desert. The desert had already brought under cultivation and the land allotted in the majority of the cases to the influential people of the country. The Brela camel herders and other livestock keepers were replaced and never compensated for their losses. Because of no representation in the policy-making organizations and legislation. they couldn’t raise their voice against this cruelty. The small ruminants and cattle breeders already left the occupation of livestock husbandry but the camel herders adapted a new way while moving long routes with their camel and traveling up to the desert of Cholistan. The Cholistan is also squeezing in size, the land grabbing is one of the important issues and the grazing lands are decreasing every day.
Fig.The dancer~ Marrecha camel
The Marrecha camel herders usually live and migrate with their camels in the deep desert according to the availability of foliage and accessibility of water. In such a remote and far-flung area, there is no market for camel products i.e. milk and wool, etc. The Brela camel herders take benefits of the roads in the peripheries for their milk sale. No doubt the male camel of Marrecha breed catch good prices in the fairs mostly buys for racing/riding and carting, etc. The female of the Brela catches very high price because of the interest of the Gulf countries in the breed for its appreciable milk production. But this scenario is not good for the sustainability of this breed. The Brela camel herders sell their precious animals to buy a piece of land for settlement in the peripheries of Cholistan, as they fear to lose the Cholistan because of land grabbing Mafia. This is a bad state of the situation for the high yielding camel like Brela.
a. For development workers and public institutions value, addition to camel products will be a great idea to eradicate extreme poverty in such a plunged area and enhance rural livelihood.
b. From scientist’s perspectives, we suggest that Camel is the animal of the future and can be an important tool to combat the new challenges like drought, climate changes, global warming and creeping desertification, emerging diseases and competition for feed & water resources.
c.Development of the camel race industry can bring the smile to the Rohi people as it may attract billion of Rupees in the area. Marrecha camel of the region is the best choice in this regards.
This will require a holistic approach on all facets of camel production by all players on the ground with the help of Rohi people to make a difference in their lives and also convert this future food basket into safe and health promising camel milk. How early it can be done, will depend on how serious we are to bring this dream into reality.
Balochistan is the largest province of the country by area and majority of its populace live in the rural and remote areas. The major source of income among the rural and remote dwellers is livestock rearing. About 90% of the provincial land is comprised of rangeland. These rangelands provide feed and shelter to wide diversified livestock breeds of the province. These rangelands are owned by communities of tribal people, and the only use is livestock production. The precious livestock breeds are well adapted to the diversified ecological zones of the province. The livestock breeds are multipurpose and fulfil a wide range of needs of the livestock keepers. On the basis of livestock production systems, penology, topography and climate the province can be divided into six ecological zones, stated as coastal, deserted rangelands, highlands of the north of the province, Suleiman mountainous region, central Brahvi highlands and the hot region of Kachhi basin. The are 6 camel breed, 7 sheep breeds, 1 cattle breed, 4 goat breed and two donkey breed in the province. These breeds not only provide the source of livelihood but also play a role as companions. Livestock breeds are evolved with the precious indigenous knowledge, therefore a threat to the breeds is a threat to the indigenous knowledge. The local animal genetic resources are the part of the socio-cultural life of the keepers. Many traditions and customary laws articulate around the livestock breeds. Though appearently there is no threat to the animal genetic resources of the province, moreover some camel breeds, i.e. Kharani, Raigi and to some extent Lassi are under threat. Brahvi camel of central highlands of the province is almost loss and very rare herds can be found. Still, there are major problems and issues, which can be a threat to such precious animal genetic resource in the long run of the time period. The major issue is the deforestation and removal of the vegetation cover. The second most important issue is the social changes in the life of the livestock keepers due to interventions in their production systems and around them, i.e. expanding but nonsustainable agriculture. Epidemics diseases also causing a great threat to the livestock breeds of the region and in the recent years PPR and abortion caused havoc losses. The province is the crossroad of the Afghan nomads who cross the province two times in a year and introduce many epidemic diseases in the region. They brought some diseases from the livestock of the central Asia, like PPR and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF). The Government support and interest is very rare for the livestock keepers. The livestock keepers as in the other parts of the world are neglected and there is no share of livestock keepers in the research and development policies of the province.
It is the time to study the production potential of the indigenous livestock breeds keeping in mind all the drivers of its production system. Also, it is necessary to study their social systems and work out the changes and the factors responsible for these changes. Pakistan is the signaturee of many important international conventions and treaties, i.e. MDGs, CBD, UNCCD, Right of Indigenous people, Climat Change and Global plan of action on animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, hence it is necessary to respect these conventions and abide by the rights of livestock keepers. The NGOs sector can help in the mobilization of the livestock keepers for breeds associations, demonstration plots of reforestation of local varieties of vegetation, training for animal health and care, documenting of the indigenous knowledge and liaising for their rights.
I opened my eyes in the home of Hassan Khan, a strong man of Kakar Pashtoon/Afghan tribe of northeastern Baluchistan, province of Pakistan. My forefathers had been living in that habitat along with their precious livestock breeds in the rich grassland of the region. Our family still has flocks of sheep and goat, rearing in agro-pastoral production system. I have built in knowledge of indigenous livestock production and PhD level modern expertise about animal agriculture. I had been working with the pastoral people for last 10 years, while motivating livestock keepers for their rights, access to grazing lands, benefit sharing of their animal genetic resources and resource development of the pastoral people under the patronage of society of animal, vet and environmental scientists (SAVES). I gave multiple training to the livestock keepers in remote for breed characterization and conservation, rangelands management and other valuable techniques. I had been providing veterinary medical camps to livestock of the pastoral communities. I am the pioneer and author of community bio-cultural protocols (BCP). I am also the author of the dry net report on the documentation of indigenous livestock breeds. I had been traveling with the Afghan nomads (Kochis) to work and document their indigenous knowledge of livestock husbandry. I had been working with the livestock and dairy development department of Baluchistan for extensive livestock production in the remote areas of the province.
I organized camel scientists and herder in Pakistan and founded Camel Association of Pakistan. Recently in Jan. 2010, we organized 3 days livestock keepers meeting under the patronage of SAVES and discussed the Bio-cultural protocol and organized an organization with the name of Indigenous Livestock Breeders Association (ILBA) for the livestock keepers of the country. I presented many international research presentations at various occasions. I have visited many countries and research stations.
Extensive livestock production systems
Animal breeding & genetics and community-based breeding management
Biodiversity and climate change
Different aspects of dromedary camel, i.e. turning camel from a beast of burden to a sustainable farm animal
Indigenous knowledge of livestock and agro-ecosystems
Ethnoveterinary medicine and local knowledge, especially livestock keepers
Climate change issue is not a symbol of fashion anymore but a real beast of the modern era. Though, mostly the developed and industrialized nations are responsible but the consequences are mostly bear by the communities of poor and so called developing countries. Climate change affects the life adversely in all its spheres, like agriculture, livestock, food chain, environment and socio-cultural harmony. Climate change has been affecting social life of the vulnerable societies. The consequences of climate change are now more visible than ever in the form of droughts, flash floods, desertification and introduction of new diseases of all the living organisms.
As, indigenous and local/tribal communities are dependent on the environment and natural resources, hence they are the first prey of the climate change. This close relationship with the earth means that they are often among the first groups to suffer the consequences of climate change. The same was happened in Pakistan in the last drought of ninety’s decade. The consequences appeared in the form of social conflicts and migration, resulted in pressure on the nearby cities and towns.
There are two ways to cope with the climate change scenario, i.e. technological mitigation and adaptation. The later is the best option for developing world as the mechanical mitigation demand very high in puts and results in long run further environmental degradation.
Local/indigenous knowledge and plants & livestock varieties are the best tool to cope with the climate change beast. Local people, especially pastoralists have adapted their own ways to cope with the climate change, though not visible. The pastoralists in horn of Africa; especially afar region (more prone to frequent droughts) had replaced cattle with camel and sheep with goat. Camel is resistant to drought as survive without water and even feed for longer period than any other domestic livestock. Also camel and goat rely on bushes which survive for years of droughts. Grasses, sheep and cattle are the first lump of droughts and disappear very rapidly.
But in Pakistan (Pashtoon land), due to pressure on rangelands resources for fuel wood, especially bushes, the nomads replaced camel with donkeys and tractors. The use of donkey is increased many folds, as donkey is one of the hardies animal and need very low or even zero input.
The climate change resulted in Africa in the form of water shortage. The water sources are now far from the living areas and women fetch water from far and wide areas (fetching of water is women’s duty). Consequently young ladies were not willing to marry in villages and communities. The local old women solved this problem as giving donkey in dowry to young ladies to fetch water.
Unfortunately, the drought could not bring positive response among the agriculture farmers in many countries. The farmers are politically powerful and they converted agriculture from agroecosystems to high in put production system by using electric power and submersible technology to unearth water from the rocks very deep. They could not shift their agriculture to practice the drought resistant local varieties but adapted high yielding hybrid crops (need more water, fertilizer and pesticides, weedicides) resulting in further environmental dilemma.
Give local people, especially pastoralist/livestock keepers due recognition in policy and planning
The efforts/methodologies of the local people to CCA must be documented
Today, 8 September, 2011, a forum on food security and climate change adaptation (FSCCA) was established. The decision was taken after a lengthy discussion of likeminded scientists and activists of SAVES, BRSP and SUSG. Agrarians, animal and veterinary scientists and forest expert participated in the meeting. The meeting was held in the conference room of Balochistan Rural Support Program (BRSP)
The main themes of the forum are;
Agroecosystem farming (AEF)
Policy and advocacy
The food security situation and climate change issues were discussed, especially in the context of the province of Balochistan Pakistan. It was concluded that the biodiversity of the region is at stake and food security is at risk. There is need of change at policy and field levels to combat such situation. A policy of change is the need of time to take all the stake holders onboard, especially the farmers.
It was accepted that the local varieties of plants and indigenous livestock breeds are the guarantee of food security, especially in climate change scenario. Local genetic resources can be use as a tool of resilience to combat climate change and desertification.
Members participated in the meeting along with their contacts are presented in the following table.
Playing with nature since last two centuries is now appearing in the calamities of climate change. The normal cycles of drought due to El Niño is now changing very adversely. (El Niño brings widespread drought (i.e., precipitation deficit) to the tropics. Stronger or more frequent El Niño events in the future and/or their intersection with local changes in the mean climate toward a future with reduced precipitation would exacerbate drought risk in highly vulnerable tropical areas). Many vulnerable societies to climate change are now suffering. Drought in the horn of Africa is the latest news, pushing million of people to the hell of hunger and malnutrition. The famines in Africa are concurrent.
Many vulnerable societies to climate change are now suffering. Drought in the Horn of Africa is the latest news, pushing millions of people to the hell of hunger and malnutrition. The famines in Africa are concurrent on the continent because of climate change, one of the worst affected continents. Unfortunately, the response to such calamities is always faulty and for time being. If the world put as much effort into long-term programs to build resilience in communities, as it is now doing to feed the hungry, this famine would never have happened in horn of Africa.
The climate change scenario is happening, is no more a fashion of discussions. Climatic change is appearing with its consequences, i.e. droughts and floods like in Africa and Asia respectively. Once again floods are hitting human settlements and agriculture field in South Asia, especially Pakistan. The question is food security in sustainable manner. Food aids and emergency help cannot work long. Short term policies and introduction of high yielding varieties of plants and animals cannot work sustainably. These all efforts are short term. The main question is how to strengthen local communities to produce resilience and adapt to climate change. Produce food items from their own resources (well adapted livestock and plant species) in the climate change context.
The first mistake started with the introduction of high yielding exotic varieties, which need very high inputs, ultimately result in environmental dilemma. Fruit farming in North and central highlands of Balochistan is the best example of the environmental degradation and water shortage as consequence of green revolution. While in fruit farming practices, ground water was lifted with electric power and now there is shortage of even drinking water. Also, high inputs in the form of pesticides and fertilizer resulted in many environmental consequences and loss of precious flora and fauna (biodiversity) and change in agroecosystems.
The fourth report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) published in 2007 projects that the global temperature of the planet’s atmosphere will likely have increased 1.1 to 6.4 C by the end of this century. The impact studies on biodiversity have shown significant changes in ecosystem and species distributions, principally due to increasing temperatures and altered precipitation regimes. The climate change will more intensify and threat to biodiversity and food chain will be more deepen. The scientists are agreeing that the loss to biodiversity minimizes the opportunities of food production. Another report, published very recently on world media, revealed that the flora and fauna migrate towards the pole and the polar diversity is going to disappear. The situation is changing very quickly, it is the time to rethink on the policies relates to local resources and communities to cope with the climate change calamities. The priority should go to more affected societies more focus to help.
Endogenous development and adaptability
Endogenous development is a development from within the communities. Such development is sustainable and resilient to climate change. Endogenous development is also of importance in developed countries with the high-input agriculture. Small-scale production system (SSPS) is an endogenous way of food production. Small-scale production system (SSPS), both of livestock and agriculture is one of the best tools for local communities to resist climate change. Local communities with their knowledge and resources can better coup with the situation of droughts. Pastoralism is another tool of resilience, the local community practice in Africa and Asia. Adaptation to climate change with the help of highly adapted livestock breeds and agriculture varieties is one of the best options; the vulnerable societies have had in hand. Adaptation to climate change is not a new phenomenon. Throughout human history, societies have adapted to climate variability alternating settlements, agricultural patterns, and other sectors of their economies and lifestyles. Adaptation in human history has been mostly successful.
Climate change with all its calamities is striking vulnerable communities very badly. Unfortunately, African and Asian continents are more prone to such calamities. The concurrent droughts and floods in Africa and Asia are the well-known examples of the situation. Indigenous/local resources and knowledge can be the best tool to cope with the climate change scenario, as local varieties are highly adapted to the local conditions. Local genetic resources produce in a very low input system of production and sometimes even need zero inputs. Applying high input unsustainable production system (factory, high mechanized, monoculture, energy based) cannot be helpful. Also, gene control giants (like Monsanto in Africa), land grabbing, political backing for cross breeding of indigenous livestock breeds and regional conflicts are even worsening the situation.
Indigenous livestock breeds, especially camel, can play a better and crucial role in such circumstances. Camel is one of the most important of them, survived the affected families to shift to other places to resist drought. Local livestock breeds consume many times the lesser quantity of water compared to the exotic livestock breeds and are more resistant to local diseases and pests. The best way to combat climate change, droughts, desertification etc is to promote endogenous development and to make the local communities resilient to the situation. The priority of the international aid should go to the most affected communities due to climate change. The main focus should give on the resilience, not just food aid so that the world can live in harmony and peace.