Working towards a more climate-resilient world
Kenya’s weather patterns are changing, becoming less predictable and more erratic, and this has a huge impact on the farming community as 98 percent of the country’s agricultural activities are rain-fed.
Changing weather patterns
The major challenge that farmers now face is timing. They must know when rains start and stop so that they can plant or harvest their crops at the best possible time.
These changing weather patterns can, for the most part, be attributed to climate change and will unfortunately continue to impact livelihoods for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the farming community needs to look at more adaptative farming techniques to safeguard their future.
Financing climate change measures
On a recent trip to Kenya to meet the SNV team working on the Dutch Fund for Climate Development (DFCD) project, I was dismayed to hear this sad reality from the local people and witness torrential rain during the supposedly drier period.
Climate change on a global level poses an unprecedented threat to humanity in the 21st century. In the period up to 2030, an estimated $3.5 trillion is required for developing countries to implement the Paris climate pledges to prevent potentially catastrophic and irreversible eﬀects of climate change.
Up to now, most of the climate finance has gone to mitigation measures, however, while mitigation is important, we now need to learn to live with this new normal and adapt how we live and how we work. This will be increasingly important for at-risk communities in the developing world.
The Dutch Fund for Climate Development
Last year the Dutch government vowed to tackle this crisis by making €160 million available to increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change. SNV, the Dutch development bank FMO, WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL) and Climate Fund Managers (CFM) have partnered to manage the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The consortium’s objective is to connect with innovative entrepreneurs with innovative climate-related businesses ideas and develop these into investable propositions for both DFCD investment facilities as other private investors keen to mobilize much-needed funding to create a more climate-resilient world. The consortium takes a landscape approach through investing in projects which are planned inclusively, and build on a solid understanding of the landscape, ecosystems and communities. The fund will look predominantly at adaptation measures.
Reshaping the relationship between farming and ecosystems
During our workshop in Kenya, we went to meet one such organisation called Amiran - Kenya Ltd who has recently won an Environmental Respect Awards and a company SNV partners with for several projects in our agricultural sector.
Amiran is focused on the difficulties farmers face due to climate change and advises farmers on prevention methods, including cultivation that enhances soil stability; filling the area between rows of crops with other vegetation and covering the area with compost to help stabilize the soil. They also install a vast range of innovative irrigation methods that fit the growing needs for water-saving and modern products for agriculture and gardening.
The company’s long-term goal is an ambitious one: to reshape the relationship between farming and ecosystems. It aims to move farming from being a leading consumer and polluter of water to a key contributor to healthy watersheds and reliable clean water supplies and from being a leading consumer of fossil fuels to a producer of renewable energy.
We went to visit one of Amiran’s customers a businesswoman called Ms. Florence Muthusi who has been farming for more than ten years. She also runs her own catering company and supplies several hotels with her produce. It was fantastic, firstly to meet such a force of nature who hasn’t been held back by her gender and see how she was managing her farm in such a sustainable way incorporating water-saving irrigation methods.
Adapting to our changing environment
We are in a climate crisis, but it is inspirational to meet companies like Amiran and know that there are initiatives like the DFCD focusing on improving vulnerable communities’ abilities to adapt to our changing environment. Sadly, as is often the case, it is the people who have had the least impact on climate change who will be the ones who will suffer the most.
Written by Sinead Crane.