Climate Change Adaptation Through Science-Farmer-Policy Dialogue in Mali
Climate change increases the number of risks for agricultural production in arid and semiarid regions, especially in Western Africa. Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate change risks. These risks affect their socioeconomic situation, as well as the local food sector value chain in general. Therefore, their food security is threatened if smallholder farming structures do not adapt to them. Thus, effective climate change adaptation measures for smallholders are essential and should be implemented without delay. However, success hinges on the acceptance of the promoted measures among various stakeholders. Thus, their acceptance needs to be assessed before promoting.
The project “The potential of sustainable land-use systems to promote adaptation to climate change” analyzes climate change adaptation measures to increase the resilience of smallholders in drought-prone regions of West Africa. This chapter shows the project results of the science-farmer-policy dialogue established in this project, moderated by interdisciplinary researchers and the innovation platform established in Southern Mali. Particular emphasis is given on how effective climate change adaptation measures (both technical and institutional) can be selected in a participatory process with smallholders’ groups as well as taking into account the institutional context within the involved region. Additionally, the project explores how insights from farmers’ groups and extensionists can be utilized and disseminated via innovation platform-based processes and how the latter may serve to identify and develop new solutions. Through innovation platforms, other stakeholders like extensionists, researchers, value chain operators, farmer organizations, and policy makers can support the resilience of smallholders’ farms. Therefore, this chapter presents lessons learned from the process of establishing innovation platforms in Mali. It is essential to learn and exchange these experiences with other farmers, farmer groups, researchers, and policy makers in drought-prone regions to further develop this concept as a practical solution for climate change adaptation in the area.
KeywordsClimate change adaptation Small-scale farming Innovation platforms Policy advice Mali
The funding by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland is gratefully acknowledged.
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