Smallholder farmer Peter Mcharo, from Morogoro Region in eastern Tanzania, has a reason to smile. His fields are full of green, healthy maize plants, he has richer soil and he spends less time farming now than he did two years ago.
Drought has dramatically increased as a consequence of climate change. Most countries react to it only after it has occurred, but don’t have national policies to prevent it. The high-level meeting on national drought policies in Geneva this week is trying to match scientific knowledge with political awareness.
Last monsoon season, 65-year-old Sunadhar Ramaparia, a member of the Bhumia tribe in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, mixed indigenous crops like ‘para’ paddy, foxtail millet and oil seeds in his upland plot.
While tens of thousands of Indian farmers succumb to the pressures of debt, hunger and poverty by taking their own lives, members of the Bhumia tribe are simply falling back on a 3,000-year-old agricultural system to ensure a steady supply of healthy food.