Farming First Newsletter July 2013 Issue
Climate change has the potential to have a devastating affect on agriculture, as it can impact the production of nutritious food throughout the world. In Africa, yields are predicted to decline by 15 percent from 2013 to 2050 as a direct result of climate change, the effects of which are already being seen around the world.
Climate Change Toolkit
As farmers increasingly experience the impacts of climate change, urgent action on a global scale is needed if they are to adapt and to mitigate its effects. With the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations on agriculture slowly progressing, the time to act is now. In order to help farmers and key stakeholders understand the ongoing UNFCCC process and ensure their voices are heard, Farming First has created a unique “Guide to UNFCCC Negotiations on Agriculture: Toolkit for Communications and Outreach”.

Launched this month on 11th September, the toolkit provides farmers and key stakeholders interested and involved in agriculture with the knowledge, information and support they require to demonstrate the unique role of agriculture in the global climate change response. As we turn our attention to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 19, in November, we hope that this toolkit will provide an update on the processes of the UNFCCC and equip farmers with the knowledge and the tools necessary to engage in the negotiations.

To celebrate the forthcoming launch of the toolkit, in this edition of our newsletter, we take a look at the issues surrounding climate change, farming and agriculture and the recent developments that have taken place. Our “Countdown” to this resource gives an insight into what the toolkit will offer and how it may be used.


Climate Change, Farming and Agriculture
As part of The Story of Agriculture and Climate Change: The Road We've Travelled infographic launched last year by Farming First, we looked at how climate change is impacting farmers on the ground. Nana Helene, a smallholder farmer from Burkina Faso said: "Twenty years ago, I can tell you that back then the yield was higher than now. There was more rain than now, there was more grass than now and the forest was still there. We too have to change in order to adapt to the situation."

In May 2013 the Dublin Conference on Hunger - Nutrition and Climate Justice, hosted by the Government of Ireland and the Mary Robinson Foundation, highlighted the injustice of climate change, as those in developing countries are likely to feel the biggest impacts of climate change despite having contributed the least towards global warming.

Former US presidential candidate, Al Gore, spoke at the event saying: "The knowledge that used to be valuable in predicting the best times to plant and the time to harvest can no longer be applied and the ability to predict this natural cycle is being disrupted, so subsistence farmers are suffering very harsh impacts."

It is not solely the developing world that is suffering as a consequence of climate change. Last year, the US was victim to one of the worst widespread droughts since the 1950s, with around 80 percent of agricultural land experiencing drought in 2012 which Oxfam called "a global alarm that's been screaming at us since 2008". The extensive drought led to food prices increasing by 6 percent by July 2012 according to the United Nations' monthly Food Price Index.

Evidently climate change is an issue that desperately needs attention. Global warming is causing yields to decline, depriving some of the world's poorest of a sustainable income and causing global food prices to rocket. Farming First believes that agriculture has a key part to play in adapting to - and mitigating - the impact of climate change, as it is one of the only sectors that both contributes to, and provides a solution for, climate change.


Guide to UNFCCC Negotiations for Farming and Agriculture
Agriculture contributes 14 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of using land, water and forests to provide the food necessary to feed an ever-expanding population.

Yet innovations in the agriculture sector can also provide opportunities to alleviate these emissions, mitigating the impact of climate change. Recently at Africa Agriculture Science Week Farming First spoke to Philip Kiriro, head of the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF), about climate change in agriculture: "Climate change has generated quite a number of challenges that require appropriate technologies. There are issues of droughts, there are issues of shifting seasons that demand crop varieties that can withstand these new challenges."

Research is key to enhancing the ability of agriculture to tackle climate change as well as developing innovative methods and technologies that can alleviate agriculture’s impact on the environment. It is this unique opportunity for the agriculture sector that has led Farming First to develop the Climate Change Toolkit. The toolkit will enable Farming First to extend our campaign for a Work Programme for Agriculture under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). To guide policy making, decision makers will need access to knowledge about best practices, scientific and engineering knowledge and technologies that are specific to their context. A Work Programme for Agriculture under SBSTA would provide a valuable source of information to governments as they seek to design policies and action plans that benefit their farmers.

The Climate Change Toolkit will offer a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between agriculture and climate change, providing an updated look at the pressing issues and developments of the UNFCCC discussions.

The toolkit will also include a guide to the UNFCCC and SBSTA, factsheets on the benefits of adapting to and mitigating climate change, interviews and quotes from industry experts, farmers and world leaders and a variety of resources, such as presentations and infographics to enable readers to illustrate the importance of agriculture in climate change discussions.

For more information on climate change and to see Farming First's existing resources visit: http://www.farmingfirst.org/portal/climate/

Download the toolkit from 11th September 2013 from www.farmingfirst.org and keep checking the website for more information and details of the launch. We will be providing full details and tips for using the toolkit via our website and social media sites – LinkedIn and twitter – where we look forward to your feedback and input.
New Supporters
Farming First is delighted to welcome the International Development Enterprises (iDE) as a new member to the coalition.

iDE is a nonprofit international organisation working to eradicate poverty by creating income opportunities for poor rural households. They were recently listed in the top 100 NGOs by The Global Journal and have a wealth of resources available such as case studies, videos and blogs.

A significant part of iDE's work involves helping smallholder farmers to gain access to tools and information that will help ensure a sustainable income.

iDE works with farmers around the world to promote gender equality, build capacity for farmers to access markets and promote sustainable practices in agriculture.

One example of iDE's work is the innovative irrigation pump in Zambia. In response to farmer requests iDE developed a locally manufactured treadle pump - a human powered pump that sits on top of a well that can be used for irrigation. The pump costs less than its imported counterparts, whilst also producing a higher output, as it was designed to suit the specific topography of Zambia. One of the first to buy the pump, Veronica Sianchenga has already been able to reap the benefits of the additional income from irrigated produce; in less than a year Veronica has been able to build a new house and send all her children to school. Find out more about iDE here
Blogs
Focus on: Building Infrastructure in Africa
Featuring comments from Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard Kennedy School

@FarmingFirst Twitter reached 20,000 followers! To Celebrate We Ask – Can Social Media Change the World?

Engaging Youth in Agriculture: The Key to a Food Secure Future?

Action to Achieve Africa Feeding Africa

IFA Vice-President Mr. Abdulrahman Jawahery on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Reflections on the High Level Panel Report
Farming First TV
The Global Food Waste Scandal
With Tristram Stuart, founder of Feeding the 5000
Farming First in the News
Food Tank 118 Twitter Feeds Every Food Activist Needs to Follow

The Guardian We Need to Get Young People Excited About Farming
Farming First Twitter
20,000 followers Thanks to everyone who follows and supports Farming First on Twitter, you have helped us to reach a landmark 20,000 followers!

The online conversations on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture continue to generate interesting and important dialogues on some of the world's most pressing issues. Read our recent Farming First blog, which asks the question: Can Social Media Change the World?
Upcoming events
World Water Week
Stockholm, Sweden, 1 - 6 September 2013

International Day for Rural Women
Worldwide 15 October