Strengthening the efforts of smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change

  • Posted on: 25 August 2013
  • By: Georg Dürr


Adaptation to climate change has become a major focus – almost a “buzzword“ – of agricultural research and development, and projects are introducing mitigation and adaptation techniques under the label of “climate-smart agriculture”. In this process, rural people’s own efforts to deal with climate change are often ignored. At our meeting in Germerode, we will discuss initiatives to strengthen the rural people’s resilience to change by encouraging local innovation and adaptation in ecologically oriented farming.

As starting points for group discussions, building on the experiences also of other seminar participants, examples from different countries will be presented. Djibril Thiam of Agrecol-Afrique will tell us about the work of PROFEIS (Promoting Farmer Experimentation and Innovation in the Sahel) in supporting farmers’ efforts to adapt to climate change in Senegal. Ann Waters-Bayer will tell us about locally managed innovation funds in Eastern Africa to stimulate farmer-led experimentation and adaptation. Other contributions are still being confirmed. We will look at the potential of ecologically oriented agriculture to meet the challenges of climate change in smallholder farming. And we will examine all of this within the wider framework conditions (legal, economic, infrastructural, organisational etc) that influence local adaptive initiatives and capacities, such as formal research and extension, land-use security and seed policies. Together we will draw lessons for our own work and for use in policy dialogue.

We have invited the new director of Agrecol-Afrique, Djibril Thiam, to join us for this meeting. In addition to the presentation he will make about the PROFEIS work, he will tell us about Agrecol-Afrique as an organisation during our traditional “information market” (Info-Börse). Agrecol-Afrique was set up by Agrecol member Almut Hahn back in the 1990s, when the Agrecol networking and communication centre in Langenbruck, Switzerland, was “decentralised” to West Africa and the Andes.

As Djibril does not speak German but speaks very good English and we assume that more of the members and friends of Agrecol Association understand English than French, the seminar will be in English.

We will start our meeting at 18 h on Friday, 18 October, and continue until lunchtime on Sunday, 20 October. We will meet in the Old Forest Lodge (Altes Forsthaus) Germerode, a centre for ecology, youth and adult education that lies at the foot of the Hohen Meissner nature reserve. For more information, please contact Agrecol (