Home / Agriculture/ Reducing disaster risks in agriculture is a win-win for small-scale farmers

Reducing disaster risks in agriculture is a win-win for small-scale farmers


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

Facebook

  • New FAO study shows scale of economic gains possible through easy-to-implement “disaster resilient” farming practices

 

ROME: Poor farmers can obtain significant economic gains and other benefits by implementing modified farming practices aimed at boosting their ability to cope with disasters and natural shocks, according to a new FAO study released yesterday.

Many of the “disaster resistant” farming innovations – assessed by FAO through multi-year trials on over 900 farms in 10 different countries – are within easy reach of poor farmers and do not require substantial investment. What is more, these innovations did not merely act as a buffer against disaster damages – in most cases, they significantly improved farm yields and financial gains even in the absence of any natural disasters.

Examples  include a range of low-cost options for disaster risk reduction that range from nature-based solutions, such as planting mangrove to protect coastal areas from floods, to the use of flood resistant rice varieties, to shifting to the installation of  rooftop water collection and irrigation systems.

“The study makes clear that in most cases, disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts on the farm make good economic sense: that investing in DDR early can save many dollars that would otherwise be spent on post-disaster rehabilitation,” said FAO Emergency and Resilience Division Director Dominique Burgeon, in the foreword to the report. “Moreover, farm-level DRR good practices are often “no-regret” measures - meaning that they prove effective in providing added benefits even in the absence of hazards”.

FAO’s study is intended to guide farmers in making choices to manage risk as well as to inform policy-makers.

In particular, the study reveals that the good practices assessed have considerable potential to reduce the damages wrought on developing world agriculture by smaller-scale, lower-intensity disasters. While capturing less attention than large-scale disasters, hazards like dry spells or cold spells recur more frequently and represent a constant and significant problem for the 2.5 billion people on the planet who rely on small-scale agriculture.



Tangible benefits, affordable solutions

On average, the DRR practices analysed in the study generated benefits 2.2 times higher than practices previously used by farmers, the report said. Benefits included both increases in agricultural production as well as avoided hazard-associated risks.

The average benefit-cost ratio for DRR practices was 3.7 in hazard scenarios, meaning that for every dollar invested in DRR the farmer achieved $3.7 in terms of avoided loss or return. Under non-hazard conditions, this indicator rose even further – up to $4.5 returned.

Such practices can prevent economic losses at household level, with immediate and palpable benefits to the lives of billions of people, and can also deliver economic benefits at the regional and national levels, the report says.



Upscaling needed

Greater upfront investment in anticipatory disaster risk reduction measures represents a better use of resources than costly post-disaster spending on reconstruction and recovery, the report says, calling for DRR in agriculture to move beyond smaller-scale pilot projects to much wider implementation.

It indicates two main paths to do this. The first is through farmer-to-farmer replication - when farmers in a community or region begin to adopt new techniques after observing the benefits their neighbours gained when doing so. This often requires very little investment or institutional support. The second path is mainstreaming DRR through large-scale efforts in which government and private sector support will be required to promote uptake of good practices at scale.

Crucially, both pathways depend on good infrastructure, adequate investment and an enabling environment. Agricultural development policy, planning and extension work should treat disaster risk reduction as a priority, the report stressed.

“Disaster risk reduction at farm level: Multiple benefits, no regrets” was presented at a side event at the start of the UNISDR Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (Geneva, 13-17 May).

Another recent FAO analysis highlights the need to invest more in development interventions aimed at managing disaster risks and building up resilience in agricultural sectors. Only nine percent of overseas development assistance was found to have gone to risk reduction measures in agriculture and furthermore most of that investment happened after disasters had struck, as part of rehabilitation efforts. (Source: FAO.org)

 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Trendvertising: The new world of communication in a hashtag world

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Rahul Bose, an Indian actor, caught a lot of attention for a video post that went viral, where he complained about the price of bananas during his stay at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. As he explained in his story – he went to the gym at his hotel w


Company Law intertwined with Income Tax – Understanding the nexus! Part II

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

A comparison and analysing the impact of corresponding provisions of Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 and Inland Revenue Act No. 24 of 2017 reveals invaluable insights corporate management must be aware of in day-to-day management activities as well as st


Will ‘10 February’ be repeated?

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Whilst Sri Lanka is in election mode, the thought crossing every Sri Lankans mind is, ‘Will the 10 February 2018 elections behaviour be repeated?’ given the head-start that ‘Brand Gota’ has got. Whilst many are speculating who will be the fig


Shanta Devarajan: Economist who cannot get disconnected from his motherland

Monday, 19 August 2019

For me, Shanta Devarajan, formerly the Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank Group succeeding the Nobel Laureate Paul Romer and presently Professor at Georgetown University, USA, was a legend by himself. When I met him in early part of the new mil


Columnists More

Special Report

SPECIAL REPORT MORE