Food insecurity and poverty are the world’s biggest challenges affecting mostly rural communities, in most cases; these are escalated with the increasing climate change. Climate change is a global challenge that exerts significant pressure on most rural communities, especially in developing countries. Besides affecting families, communities, and the economy, climate change is a major driver of environmental change facing many countries. The extreme weather events caused by climate change have contributed to food, nutrition, and water insecurities among rural dwellers.
FAO (2015) reported that about 795 million people in the world were food insecure, with many more suffering from ‘hidden hunger’ caused by micronutrient or protein deficiencies.In the context of high poverty levels, the impacts of climate change have severe consequences on the rural communities that are highly dependent on agricultural productivity for their livelihoods and income generation. Many rural communities depend on rainfed agricultural produce such as cereals and legumes and these are highly affected by extreme weather events thus escalating food insecurity and poverty levels in the rural communities.
With minimal inputs, rural communities have to adopt coping strategies in order to build resilience and adaptive capacity against food insecurity. Farmers engage in different coping strategies to ensure there is enough food in their homes. Through the farmer Field Schools on Nutrition and Local Food Plants, knowledge sharing is a key to preparing for both long-term and short-term impacts of climate change. Farmers, therefore, have to practice traditional innovative farming to minimize vulnerability and ensure resilience.
Ignorance is indeed a bad thing, there are plenty of local food plants in our communities but because we lack knowledge about them, they are always ignored. Before joining the Farmer Field School (FFS), I did not see the value in some local food plants, because FFS encourage knowledge-sharing, we are able to learn about the importance and management of several local food plants. I have carried this knowledge to my home and my household is appreciative. Because of being able to preserve some of the local food plants like Alayu, Eboo, Akolil, etc, the scarcity period in my home has reduced and I have food throughout the year, some months are constraining but not as hard as before I joined the FFS. When the weather conditions are extreme, I know where to harvest some of the wild local food plants; my cooking skills have also improved, and I am able to have diverse nutritious meals. -Aruba Agnes, Enapakinos FFS, Ogongora sub-county, Amuria district.
In order to reverse the impacts of poverty and food insecurity, there is a need to improve the livelihood of the rural poor; the government and other institutions should support the welfare of rural communities by ensuring the availability of inputs on household food security. Further, still there is a need to train communities to be resilient and self-dependent amidst the impacts of climate change.
Climate change carries along with different shocks that disrupt the economy, where the rich continue to profit at the expense of the poor thereby accelerating poverty levels, especially in rural communities. However, the ability to repel or fully recover from these shocks can bring about a difference in communities, and through building sustainability, long-term prosperity is ensured thereby by contributing to social, economic, and environmental change. Poverty, food, and nutrition insecurity are on arise, building resilience and sustainability creates hope for the vulnerable communities through saving lives and improving livelihood. Action to build resilience and sustainability is vital in achieving the SDGs and this can be done through strong collaborations and coordination among humanitarian organizations and rural communities. Knowledge and information sharing are vital for this cause especially if it is passed on in the local dialect to easily reach a wider coverage. There is an urgent need for action to reconcile climate change and environmental sustainability with the SDGs.
Most rural people rely on agriculture for their livelihood yet this is highly affected by climate change compared to any other activity across the globe. An increase in local temperatures and extreme weather conditions like drought and floods affect the productivity of the farming communities. The rural people are potential players in climate change action yet policymakers makers always ignore them. For adaptation measures to be effective, local communities must be engaged from the planning process to the final implementation because these experience first-hand effects of climate change and have traditional mitigation strategies but only need more support.