The increasing impact of global climate change has triggered further difficulties in the livelihoods of poor people in developing countries as crop production has been challenged by the reduced rainfall, people’s homeland and security are threatened by the rising sea level, and there are more poor and excluded people suffering from either flood or drought.
As human beings we don’t have another choice - we have to face up to and resolve the problem of adapting to the climate change.
We have to build up a sustainable agricultural system even in the deteriorating climate and environment, in order to achieve our objectives regarding food rights.
We must understand our environment better before we go further to resist natural disasters.
We are now facing a challenge that recognizing the trend of climate change cannot be prevented in short term and must examine how we can minimize the negative impact of the changing climate, especially to relief those who are poor and influenced most by this issue.
What ActionAid has done in China
We have improved water storage capabilities for small holder farmers in communities - lower cost irrigation system have been built in drought prone farming areas to improve the effectiveness of water usage and to ensure food security in disasters.
In the development areas in Hebei province, the community water funds have been set up as a pilot to ensure that people has the access to the water as well as other nature resource equally.
We have implemented a series of experiments of sustainable agricultural planting in impoverished rural areas to explore options for community members.
We have organized the farmers’ field school in the community to develop their professional knowledge and skills in farming, and at the same time, nurture a group of local resource persons who can provide information and support local farmers, most of who are women.
The project is conducted in the different areas we work. In addition, we have developed an ecological farming field, which is also led by local women.
We have set up a community seed fund to ensure that good quality seeds are selected so that even if the bad climate or disaster happened there still can be a harvest.
Local farmers are to identify good seeds among various types of local seeds, which should prove strong enough to survive and grow in drought and also can be stored on a long term basis.
The seed funds are then used to renew the local seed inventory especially in the poor communities, to ensure that every year there are enough qualified seeds for farming.
Women are the major group managing the funds - ActionAid also provides training to the local people on seeds selection storage skills.
Perhaps the best example of the success of the seed project is the Yidunqing potato in Hebei province.
This potato can be stored for more than one year and still taste good. Despite drought or freezing climates, there is still a good harvest.
People enjoy the benefits from the potato planting and don’t need to worry about the climate anymore.