Gabon is known for its forest that covers 85% of the country, or 22 million hectares. Only 5% of the land is used for agriculture, and subsistence farming dominates the sector. The principle crop grown by the farmers is manioc, or cassava root, which is an essential source of iron and vitamins for the population. The best quality manioc is grown in deep and rich soils that are well drained. Heavy rainfalls mean, however, that the ground becomes waterlogged and disease spreads easily amongst the crops.
A case study by IFAP shows how strategies have been put into place to safeguard the manioc crops from the higher temperatures and heavy rains brought on by climate change.
In order to preserve the most beneficial varieties, both economically and ecologically, agricultural researchers identified the local varieties that were best adapted to climate changes, and then helped to promote the most effective farming techniques amongst the farmers to increase productivity.
On a national level, policies are being put in place to establish agroforestry projects in rural areas to increase soil fertility as well as to invest and improve their weather stations to observe changes in the climate. Agricultural organisations are also training farmers in the techniques needed to restore soils.
Through an integrated approach to improving agricultural practices and resources, farmers in Gabon are becoming increasingly able to cope with unpredictable weather patterns and safeguard an important source of nutrients for the Gabonese people.