The consequences of climate change are omnipresent. But most affected are those who are already suffering from poverty and hunger. To reverse the effects we are therefore starting at grassroot level – as an important step towards climate justice.
Agriculture is linked to climate change in many ways: It is both, a cause and a victim. For example, around 24% of global greenhouse emissions are caused by agriculture, primarily through mass animal husbandry. At the same time, almost 25% of all damage from weather-related disasters in developing countries takes place in the agricultural sector.
Above all, however, agriculture is part of the solution. For example, the use of organic fertilizers, a crop rotation adapted to the local region and gentle soil cultivation can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Locally adapted measures and healthy soils are prerequisites for resilient ecological and economic systems. We are convinced that they go hand in hand and are key components in the fight against climate change. That is why we have been implementing agricultural projects in West African countries since 2009. Our aim: enabling higher yields for local people through resource-conserving cultivation. At the same time, livelihoods are preserved and strengthened. The key to this lies in holistic agriculture.
Building up healthy soils
One important goal is to build up humus. A bold goal in view of the severely degraded soils, but a task without alternative. Healthy soils are the linchpin of climate-smart agriculture. Organic fertilization, regenerative liming and conservation practices promote humus formation.
Our projects therefore specifically support gentle tillage of the soil. This stops its degradation, so that nutrients and water are bound. Because climate justice starts right here, at the grassroot level – or rather: at the topsoil.
Developing skills and capacities
In order to maintain healthy soils in the long term, the implementation of resource-conserving practices in agriculture is crucial. Therefore, the core of each of our projects is designed to help participants independently build skills to implement sustainable agriculture. The transfer to climate-friendly agriculture can only succeed by transforming one’s own patterns of thinking and acting. Only in this way can people independently contribute to improving their livelihoods.
We take climate change as an opportunity to rethink and implement new practices. It’s about building resilience to improve the livelihoods of local people. And this in three aspects: environmental resilience through sustainable agricultural practices and healthy soils; economic resilience through increased yields and employment prospects; social resilience through empowered and equitable action.
Therefore, climate-smart agriculture also means food and income security.
Sustainable action to end poverty
Poverty is not only caused by climate change, unfortunately it also promotes it. For example, poverty forces people to use subsidized chemical fertilizer in order to achieve the highest possible yield. However, this further increases soil degradation, which means more artificial fertilizer must be applied. A vicious circle.
Farmers are well aware of the harmful effects, but they lack the financial means. High-dosage lime, concentrated organic fertilizer or modern agricultural equipment are simply unaffordable for them.
That is why we take a holistic approach to all our projects – together with the local people. Ecological, economic and social sustainability are the central pillars of all our projects. Because climate justice can only be achieved if we tackle where it is needed: at the grassroot level.