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Unusual climate conditions of 2010/11 & Pest/Disease outbreakes on Java

Last modified February 27, 2012 10:58

The paper below is the text of the key note lecture given by the author at a “Work in Progress” Seminar at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, for the Centre for Anthropological Studies, Department of Anthropology, as a visiting professor at the Universitas Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia, on Friday 3 February 2012.

 UNUSUAL CLIMATE CONDITIONS OF 2010/11

& PEST/DISEASE OUTBREAKS

 C. (Kees) J. Stigter, Agromet Vision

(Bondowoso/Depok, Indonesia; Bloemfontein, South Africa; Choma, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; Bruchem, Netherlands)

 

PART I: CLIMATE AS ENEMY! HOW DO WE FIGHT? WHAT DO WE FIGHT?

 

Introduction

Vulnerable communities across the world are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. These communities are urgently in need of assistance aimed at building resilience, and at undertaking climate change adaptation efforts as a matter of survival and in order to maintain livelihoods . They are in need of what we want to call an urgent rural response to climate change.

The reality of climate change calls for a need to understand how it might affect a range of natural and social systems, and to identify and evaluate options to respond to these effects. This should lead to in-depth investigation of vulnerabilities and adaptations to climate change, which have become central to climate science, policy and practice. The capacity, however, to conduct vulnerability and adaptation assessments is still limited.

While it is relatively easy to define technical messages that can be communicated, we have to look beyond “adaptation to current climate variability“ and target the basic vulnerability factors of communities. Communication also aims at improving the learning process and creates capacity to cope with climate variability. Measuring rainfall and observing the agronomical consequences by farmers in their plots have been a great start for such communications.

Applied scientists should basically be the connection between applied science and the actual production environment. To that end they in fact would be most useful to back up well educated extension intermediaries. The latter must train, on an almost daily basis, farmers, farmer facilitators and ultimately farmer trainers and farmer communities. Unfortunately, extension services are very often virtually absent. Where they still do exist, they are badly trained and have received little or no upgrading about the fast changes that are occurring in the agricultural production environment and about the actual crises in the livelihood of farmers.

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