How can small farmers in Asia tolerate both climate change and Covid-19? With changing weather patterns and temperatures, farmers are increasingly at risk at the threshold of global food production.
What are your biggest challenges? Are technological innovations enough to support them?
Cambodian Rice Farmers
In Asia, more than 450 million small farmers support most of the food supply. Despite their small land size, they produce up to 80 percent of the food consumed in the region.
But these farmers are currently facing a double crisis: climate change and the Covid-19 epidemic. One of the effects of the epidemic is that it has focused its attention on areas that have long been important to agriculture in Asia.
The key to protecting our food supply lies in protecting our farmers. ”Chris Agrinata, Director of Business Sustainability, Asia Pacific, International Agribusiness Syngenta.
In a webinar titled Brave New World from Farming: Empowering Asia’s Farmers in the Age of Climate Change, he said the epidemic, along with erratic rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, have deepened current challenges that small farmers face to access finance.
Brave New World from Farming: Empowering Asia’s Farmers in the Age of Climate Change. Industry leaders speaking at a webinar deserve a brave new world of agriculture – empowering Asian farmers in an era of climate change.
Banks are taking a more cautious approach to credit during the epidemic. In India, loans to the agricultural sector have contracted by 1.8 percent during the epidemic, forcing farmers to turn to informal private lenders.
Who can often take advantage of the situation by raising interest rates to 60 percent. cent, he said. But at the same time, the epidemic has also highlighted the importance of food security.
Which has played a positive role for farmers in the Philippines, and Cheri Cherillo, as a farmer and president of Agri, said that Filipino farmers established a business. agricultural.
The epidemic has changed the way the government responds to farmers. Attilano said that despite all the challenges facing the agricultural sector, it contributes positively to our GDP from a negative 0.5 percent to a positive 1.6 percent.
As a result, the agricultural sector is ultimately seen as a priority and has been allocated a larger financial budget. He said the epidemic also linked strong alliances between public and private actors with agriculture.
Farmers are innovative, they will come up with as many ideas as scientists can.
Technology And Innovation
To support farmers against the threats of climate change, speakers agreed that technological innovation and smart agricultural technology would be one of the main drivers.
But at the same time, there may not be a permanent solution to these advancing climate crises.
There are no silver bullets. This will be a gradual evolution of different technologies, simultaneously gaining momentum and making things better, said Mark Shepherd, a scientist at AgResearch.
A New Zealand research agency. He said that many digital technologies have been developed on large farms, but they also have advantages over small farms.
“For small farms, they have yet to prove that the technologies deliver results. But when they are compliant, the data we collect can help with decision making and improve the efficiency of their systems, ”he said.
Citing the example of animal husbandry in New Zealand, Shepherd mentioned that with increasing data collection, scientists can now measure methane emissions from cows and sheep to establish low-emission animal husbandry programs.
Paul Nicholson, vice president of Olam International, said that at the same time, there is a lack of funding for types of research and technologies in agriculture, as the area is ignored in the debate on climate change.
More investment in research is important to drive the change we need in agriculture, he said.
Can Small Farmers Reach Scale?
One of the main problems facing agribusiness is how to generate large-scale changes, especially with small farmers, Argentina said. “An important question is: how do we encourage the sustainable adoption of innovations?” Argentina asked.
“I think it starts with confidence in terms of financing solutions for small farmers. You have to trust that changing farming practices and adopting new small-scale methods will continue to add value,” he said.
Although digital platforms and technological innovations are being developed, at the end of the day there is a need for a parallel intervention in the physical infrastructure, Atilano said.
“Our first step is to strengthen small farmers in collaboration with the government. Most of the time, it is easy for a group of farmers to get a loan from a bank and get additional help from the government or private institutions.
“No one is working to strengthen farmers and many cooperatives are failing. These cooperatives first need assistance in management and governance, ”he said. To enable change with farmers, empowering them with knowledge is an important stage in the process, Shepherd said.
“Farmers are innovative, they will bring as many ideas as scientists can. My experience is giving them the scientific principles behind the changes we want to see, combined with the support and infrastructure will allow them to make changes, ”he said.
Improvement Of Women And Youth In Agriculture
Although 40 per cent of men in small powers are women, they face disproportionate influence in the agricultural sector and face legal obstacles. For example, many women do not own land and do not participate in the decision-making process.
To work around it, the first step is to identify the roles that women play in agriculture, on and off the farm. While women may not own the land, they often control family income and decide how to spend the money.
“We analyze what are your priorities and priorities to spend your money. Atilano said: “We also offer money donation programs, so they learn how to raise their money as a business.
For young people, many of them practice sustainable agriculture, seeking a purpose other than profit, Atilano noted.
Young people are also interested in technological innovations and improving agricultural practices. Attilano found that young professionals who had lost their jobs during the epidemic decided to return to their parents’ farms and help them grow their businesses.
“This is interesting because before this, many farmers did not ask their children to follow in their footsteps and become doctors and engineers. But now, young people want to help their parents by moving to rural areas.
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