Africa is warming much faster than the global average, according to the IGAD Climate Predication and Application Centre (ICPAC).
Major cities in East Africa have witnessed increased temperatures that almost double the 1.1-degree warming average that the rest of the globe has experienced since pre-industrial times.
Since 1860, Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, has warmed by 1.9 degrees, and the ice covering Mount Kilimanjaro has decreased 85% between 1912 and 2007. The snow could disappear in less than 20 years and ice as soon as 2022.
ICPAC says that we are possibly the last generation to see the snow on the highest peak in Africa.
Warming temperatures are not the only bane provided by climate change, East Africa is prone to other ecological disruptions as well.
In 2020, spurred by massive rainfall from the warming oceans, Kenya suffered its worst locust outbreak in 70 years. The swarm was so vast that the UN described it as “extremely alarming” and feared that it could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region as the cropping season came into fruition.
This is because farming in East Africa is dominated by smallholder farmers that mostly depend on rainfall for their produce. Recent assessments agree, ICPAC says, that more recent bouts of extremely heavy rainfall have largely negatively impacted crop yields in the region.
In 2019, East Africa experienced record levels of rainfall, which led to tomato prices skyrocketing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“Climate Change is expected to bring more frequent extremes and more intense rainfall. Technological change remains key to reducing the extremely high vulnerability of East African farmers to climate change,” says ICPAC.
With this in mind, the Haller Foundation — a UK registered charity and Kenyan NGO — has launched its Award-Winning Haller Farmers App for the use of smallholder farmers in the region, in the hopes of mitigating the effects of climate change and unsustainable farming practices which have exhausted the soil across Africa.
The app aims to close the steep gap of agricultural knowledge and education in smallholder farms and begin to help African farmers help themselves in terms of sustainable farming and food security.
Here are 4 Ways the Haller Farmers App is Helping the Fight Against Climate Change in East Africa:
1. The Haller Farmers App is Focused on Nature-Based Solutions
The Haller Farmers App is focused on bringing nature-based solutions to smallholder farmers in East Africa.
Nature-based solutions use the tools that nature already provides to address issues related to poor land and resource usage, climate change or other societal challenges. These solutions involve the conservation, restoration or better management of ecosystems in the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
For example, Haller implements tree planting in all of its communities. Communities are also taught about climate-smart planting and the importance of planting indigenous trees and crops, which together enhances the land and soil around them.
The app puts 50+ years of farming expertise directly into the hands of the farmers in the region, sharing environmentally friendly practices that help bring life and nutrients back into the soil through sustainable methods and techniques.
2. It Promotes Sustainable Development
All of the techniques in the app are sustainable – focusing on zero waste and recycling, such as using old plastic bottles and tyres as planters. The app also contains insights into water conservation and resource management – crucial for the continued sustainability of these communities.
By using these techniques, people are able to reduce their footprint on the climate. They will be able to use fewer resources and in turn, become more resilient towards environmental changes.
The app’s nature-based techniques also promote the capturing of CO2 from the air and sequestering it in plants, soils, and sediments with the goal of reducing climate change and improving soil quality.
3. It Helps Build Community and Economic Resilience
Diversifying food supplies helps build community resilience. Diversified diets improve health and improved soil fertility leads to a surplus in produce. This in turn increases economic resilience by having more surpluses to sell at market.
If communities become more resilient they will be better equipped to face the challenges of climate change and other ecological disasters.
4. It Seeks to Prepare the Farmers of the Future
The Haller Farmers App contains a section dedicated to the next generation of young farmers.
Those that will be facing the worsening effects of climate change in the years to come.
By educating the youth of these communities, and teaching better ways to farm in which the future is sustainably protected, people can begin at younger ages to understand how to mitigate climate change and prevent environmental degradation
By Staff Writer.