Global warming: Ivorian solutions for African farmers

Far from Glasgow where the COP 26 is being held, the KRG, a rural development support organization, is providing in Korhogo, north of Côte d’Ivoire, concrete solutions to local farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change on their land and their production. Report. 

Issiaka N’Guessan, in Abidjan

“We have been seeing the impacts of climate change on our land since 1995. Poor farming practices, poorly exploited soils, bush fires, extensive cotton production, and charcoal have all contributed to land degradation,” says Roger Gaoussou Soro, Agro-ecology expert and Director of Animation Rurale de Korhogo (ARK), a rural development support organization in Korhogo, northern Côte d’Ivoire.

ARK has launched the concept, 3P, for « plainte, problème, projet” (complaint, problem, project) to translate the farmer’s complaint into a problem from which a project must emerge. Chemical fertilizers, inter alia, with its cost and impact on farmers’ health are among the “problems” to be solved. “We had to help farmers produce organic fertilizer, curb erosion and better manage rainwater in a context of increasing rainfall,” Roger further indicates.

Thus, the KRG has been working for five years on “securing family farming through the production of compost for ecological soil fertilization” with the level triangle and the water level, reduced to home-grown solutions. “It is a question of determining water passages on cultivated surfaces to slow down its speed by the construction of dikes with stones” to maintain the organic matter and to have a humidity of the ground over a rather long period after a rain.

On the ground, KRG teaches farmers to look for level points using boards on which levels are marked by transparent water pipes. From the depths of Côte d’Ivoire, these solutions are part of the national strategy to combat the effects of global warming, which will be at the heart of the debates of the international delegations at COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Côte d’Ivoire commits to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by about 30% by 2030

From October 31 to November 12, state and non-state actors will once again get in touch and exchange goodwill, six years after COP 21 and the Paris Agreement.

Scotland’s conference is crucial in a reawakening for the safeguard of the next generations and an inclination to maintain temperatures at 1.5 ° C.

“Côte d’Ivoire will be present at the COP26 in Glasgow. Our country is actively contributing to the fight against climate change and the restoration of its forest cover,” said the Ivorian Presidency, which reaffirmed its commitment to “reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and lowering the rate of deforestation by 70% by 2030 compared to 2015.

The country has embarked on an ambitious reforestation program entitled, “one day, 50 million trees” implemented throughout the country. The 50 million trees in 1 day are certainly not planted but a few thousand hectares will be recovered.

At the same time, SODEFOR, the forestry development company, has engaged in a merciless fight against clandestine gold-diggers and illegal operators.

Promotion of sound farming practices

Meanwhile, the first victims of global warming are trying to find their own solutions. The “promotion of sound farming practices” recommended by the Ivorian government, resonates well with farmers. Crop residues, rice, corn and cotton stalks are used to make compost in a deep hole. The residues are soaked in water and sprinkled with ash, explains Roger Soro.

“Chemicals used improperly degrade the fauna and flora and have a negative impact on the health of farmers, a source of future reduction in food production and therefore a possible risk of food deficit,” he says.

It is a question of “finding a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers”, hence the manufacture of biological pesticides with neem seeds, tobacco and ash and the promotion of agro-forestry.

Some 20 women’s groups, each made up of between 50 and 200 women, have adopted these organic practices, as well as grain and citrus producers. “They are encouraged to plant Apple-ring acacia and Faidherbia parks. Acacia improves soil quality and reduces fallow time,” says the KRG director. These new farming approaches have been implemented for five years in northern Côte d’Ivoire.

“There is no bridge between the research world, universities and the farming world”

“Farmers have difficulty fitting in,” notes Professor Simplice Koffi, a geographer and associate researcher at the Centre de recherche pour le développement (CRD) and teacher-researcher at Péléforo Gon Coulibaly University (Korhogo). They get by through setting up local systems. It is up to researchers to provide them with solutions. 

“Water management and the use of pesticides are the issues of this COP 26 for farmers,” according to him. There is no bridge between the world of research, universities and the farming world. There is no technology transfer. In universities, there are results but they remain unknown to farmers,” deplores the professor. 

Access to good agricultural practices, resources and tools for the development of sustainable agriculture, one of the major challenges are, among others, on the agenda of this COP 26. 

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