“Climate-Smart” Agriculture and Moringa

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“Climate-Smart” Agriculture and Moringa
Newton K Amaglo, PhD Student, Hunan Agriculture University, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Changsha, Hunan. China 410128. Email; amaglonewton@yahoo.com Nov 2012

Introduction
There has been a time in history when humans used tens of thousands of vegetables, cereals, etc but today we rely on just a few cereals. After roughly 10,000 years of progressive agricultural civilization, seventy percent of the world’s food supply comes from just three grains ---- corn, wheat and rice---- and eighty percent of our plant-based food intake comes from just twelve plants—eight grains and four tubers (Nierenberg, 2011). Globalization, intensification and industrialization of agriculture, has been blamed for this trend where we concentrate on very small number of species in monoculture. Thus global agriculture is leaning too heavily on a few crops and need to plant a wider variety of crops to build a more resilient food system. The FAO reports that Crop agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, new climate-smart policies aimed at improving both livelihoods of farmers, food security and access as well as reducing emissions of greenhouse gases are the need of the hour.

Climate change, Poverty and Sustainable livelihoods
Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of around 782 million people in 47 countries is home to 36 of the world’s poorest countries. Two-thirds of the estimated 33 million people suffering from AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa; the region with the highest rates of malnutrition (Kennedy, 2011). Sub-Saharan Africa is the only major region in the world that has failed to progress in terms of food security with more or less stagnant levels of production per capita in recent years (Spore, 2011a). Climate change presents a new major concern, often interacting with or aggravating existing problems. Small scale farmers in West Africa are already producing far below potential (Spore, 2011b) and since poverty is a rural phenomenon in this region, it is only agriculture that holds the key to resolving the problem. As climate change takes firmer hold and the global population grows and market fluctuates, we need to find ways of resisting the shocks associated with it in order not to make an already fragile situation worse.

Tea, coffee and cocoa are the three major beverages in the world today. Cocoa was introduced into West Africa about hundred years now and today it is a 56 billion Euro industry. In Ghana alone cocoa covers 1.8 million hectares. However “by the year 2080, cocoa, which is Ghana’s main export crop, may cease to grow in the country as a result of Climate changes” (George Gyan- Baffuor, et all, 2007). According to a study by researchers from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens published in PLoS, the wild Arabica coffee plant, the parent of the bushes on coffee farms, could go extinct as soon as 2080. In China alone tea plantations cover a total of 1.7 million hectares (Shuangxu, 2011) and are the main income of 80 million farmers (Xiaojian 2011). It is needless to say that much of this vegetation and industry is at risk due to Climate change. The environmental impacts caused by human industry are compromising the sustainability of current economic activities, and degrading the natural life support systems, on which we and all other species depend. Climate change is expected to trigger severe consequences to smallholder poor farmers who dominate the agriculture sector in Africa. The impact of climate change are felt at the level of natural resource base upon which rural communities depend, at the farming system level and at the level of individual species (Vershot et al 2005). Farmers will therefore need to devise mechanisms and adaptation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change.

Moringa’s Potentials and Climate Change
In an independent laboratory test, Moringa Oleifera scored the highest in antioxidant...
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