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The challenge

It is estimated that climate change will reduce agricultural production by 2% every decade while demand will increase by 14% every decade until 2050. Yields of major crops will face an average decline of 8% for Africa and South Asia by 2050 (IPCC, 2014). 

Climate change is also affecting pest and disease outbreaks. Insects already consume 5 to 20% of major grain crops. Increasing heat boosts both the number and appetite of insects, and researchers project they will destroy almost 50% more wheat than they do today with a 2C rise, and 30% more maize. 

One of the main challenges that farmers have in the context of climate change is its unpredictability. Farmers can no longer rely on the timing of seasons and availability of rainfall to see them through the year. 

Bioversity International's research approach

Using agricultural biodiversity in the fight against climate change is about building climate smart systems - responding to variety with variety.  Diversity can help farmers mitigate, adapt and ensure food and nutrition security, by providing them with more options to manage climatic risks and strengthen the resilience of their farms and surrounding landscapes.

 

Decision-making tool helps countries adapt to climate change

Distilled from eight years of working with countries to implement the Plant Treaty, a new decision-making tool will help all countries craft suitable instruments to let them take full advantage of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing.

 

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Farmer science accelerates climate adaptation

A new study in PNAS addresses the challenge of climate adaptation in a way that is both scalable and targeted. Scientists demonstrate a unique approach using crowdsourced citizen science that capitalizes on farmers’ knowledge.

 

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Beating the heat with community seedbanks

For most countries, the role of community seedbanks to help farmers adapt to climate change is simply not yet on the radar. A new study highlights why this invaluable resource for safeguarding and sharing locally-adapted seed diversity deserves a place at the policy table.

 

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Testing climate-smart banana varieties in a container

Scientists are testing banana varieties held in the International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre, Belgium, to see how each kind will fare in the African highlands climate. This type of climate is characterised by 'cold' nights and too little rain for the conventional banana plant – a climate recreated in a growth container with the help of Urban Crop Solutions.

When the study is concluded, the researchers want to be able to advise African farmers about which types of bananas would be best suited for their region.

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