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3. Agricultural biodiversity gives farmers options to manage climate risks

All farmers are susceptible to extreme weather events, and many are already feeling the effects of climate change. Agricultural biodiversity can provide smallholder farmers with more crop options and help buffer the effects of extreme events such as droughts or floods.

For example:

  • In Ghana, farmers are planting varieties of crops that mature faster in order to deal with changes in seasonality and rainfall brought on by climate change (Adjei-Nsiah et al, 2010). 
  • More and more farmers are also turning to varieties that are more drought-, salt- or flood-tolerant to cope with changing environmental conditions. In Ethiopia, farmers who face high rainfall variability plant more teff, barley and grass pea rather than wheat and lentils (Haile Abreha, 2007). They also respond to high rainfall variability by sowing different varieties of the same crop species (Di Falco et al, 2010).