East African Farmers Try New Techniques to Adapt to Climate Change

October 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. comprise (v.) 
[kuh m-prahyz– to consist of or to be composed of
Example: The entrance exam comprised questions about math, science and language.

2. cycle (n.) [sahy-kuh l] – a series of events that is repeated  over a certain time period
Example: The cycle of seasons—spring, summer, autumn and winter--is repeated every year.

3. erosion (n.) [ih-roh-zhuh n] –  the gradual or slow loss of soil, rock and other land surface materials
Example: No houses were built near the mountains because of possible erosion in the rainy season.

4. plot (n.) [plot] – a small piece of soil or land
Example: He placed seeds in the garden plots.

5. agricultural (adj.) [ag-ri-kuhl-cher-al] – relating to the planting of crops or raising of animals for food or other products
ExampleAgricultural techniques can help farmers produce a great amount of fruits and vegetables.

Read the text below.

New farming techniques being done by East African farmers may not only help them secure food supplies for their families, but also to fight against the effects of the worsening climate change.

A survey was conducted by CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, asking farmers about their techniques without directly asking them how they adapt to the climate change.

The survey comprised questions about their crops and farm animals, their management of water, soil and trees on their farms. The survey asked about changes the farmers have made, and why they did those changes.

The survey results said that more than half of the farmers apply different techniques in farming such as planting crops with shorter growth cycles, as well as crops that can better adapt to long periods without rain and increased heat.

The farmers also plant more trees to prevent erosion during heavy rains and to improve water and soil quality.  Intercropping, or alternating different crops in the same plot, is also a common technique among farmers to produce more vegetables in just one space.

According to Patti Kristjanson [KRIS-chuhn-suhn], an agricultural economist, while the farmers may be taking more risks in planting crops so they can make more sales on the market, the techniques eventually help them prepare for climate changes.

Kristjanson says farmers can still try many more techniques to improve the quality of soil. She says farmers can also keep agricultural and household water, which can help them when unexpected dry seasons happen.

Currently, farmers are learning new farming techniques from programs provided to their cellphones, radio and TV.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think your country is able to produce enough food supply? What happens when there is not enough food supply?
·         Do you think agricultural problems caused by climate change can be solved? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How important is it to innovate or try something new when doing a particular task?
·         What recent innovations have you seen in your country, company or community? Do you think these changes are good?


October 18, 2012