Rethinking Agriculture post Warsaw

12/03/13
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At this year’s UN climate talks in Warsaw, agriculture, once again, struggled to find its voice. While there is insurmountable evidence that global food security will be threatened by climate change, agriculture was shunted aside, while negotiators focused on what they deemed to be larger climate related issues.

What became clear from this conference is that agriculture cannot wait to get the attention of these negotiators. The effects of climate change, discussed theoretically in these conference centers, are already a brutal reality for millions of farmers in the developing world. The future of agriculture doesn’t lie in the decisions made in Rio, Warsaw, or Paris; the future lies with the countries whose farmers are already confronted with climate change and are working hard to adapt.

Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security sums this up well in his piece Serious about climate change? Talk about agriculture’.

“More and more developing nations are moving forward and addressing the climate crisis with whatever resources they can cobble together. If climate negotiators continue to drag their heels, the rest of the world may simply leave them behind.”

This idea seems to resonate within the agricultural community, with many people speaking out about agriculture representing a crucial missing piece in the negotiations.

Innovation in Agriculture

So what does all of this mean for agriculture moving forward?

“Innovation in agriculture is crucial,” says aWhere’s COO Dave Lundberg. Unfortunately, most of the world’s farmers (in fact, about 85% of them) lack access to agricultural technologies. How is aWhere addressing this? “aWhere’s Platform is generating data to support the millions of small-scale farmers who do not have access to advanced technology,” says Lundberg. aWhere is ready to share these data and support the work of organizations currently fighting the battle with climate change in the developing world.

A recent example of aWhere’s ongoing effort to create innovative data tools to support global agricultural development and climate-smart adoption, is the addition of a new, satellite derived rainfall product into the publicly available weather platform. These data, which are more accurate than existing sources, are now available to aWhere Platform users, but this is just the beginning. In the next few months, aWhere will enable color rendered mapping of this precipitation data, allowing users to visualize rainfall over an entire region. This product will bring visibility to rainfall in regions where even the most basic weather data is lacking, and is indicative in the types of innovative tools and solutions aWhere will continue to design and contribute in the future. The image below was generated by aWhere through this new precipitation product, and shows daily precipitation for parts of Africa.

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