|BAR Dir. Nicomedes P. Eleazar during the open forum. With him are (L-R, sitting) Dr. Manuel F. Bonifacio, BAR consultant and Dr. William D. Dar, director general of ICRISAT. (Inset) Dr. CL Laxmipathi Gowda, director of Information Resource Management Program of ICRISAT serves as the resource speaker for the seminar.|
The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) conducted its fourth seminar of the 2009 series on 27 April at the 4th floor RDMIC Bldg, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City with the topic, “Climate Change in Dryland”. Dr. CL Laxmipathi Gowda, director of Information Resource Management Program of International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (IRMP-ICRISAT), presented the lecture.
Dr. Gowda discussed the effects of climate variability on farmers’ productivity emphasizing that adaptation is the key to addressing the impacts of climate change and mitigating the unavoidable consequences of previous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the cost of adaptation and other measures to address negative impacts will increase as global temperature increases. Adaptation alone cannot cope with the projected impacts of climate change, Dr Gowda said, as he introduced mitigation as a long term and more sustainable solution.
In relation to the measures for mitigating climate change in the drylands, Dr. Gowda presented the ICRISAT operational research plan (ORP) which the institute is using to manage the current climate uncertainty and adaptive measures to climate change. Among the strategies in the ORP are short-and-medium-term projects (2008-2015), designed to help farmers cope with current rainfall variability, and the medium-to-longer-term project (2008-future) which is for adapting the mandate crops to grow in a warmer world.
ICRISAT is ahead in terms of breeding programs to produce crops that can tolerate drought and high temperatures. Among the crops already developed are pearl millet, sorghum, groundnut, pigeon pea, and chickpea-some of which, through a funding support from BAR, are already being tested in the Philippines for suitability.
With ORP, investors and farmers are trained to understand better how to effectively manage both the risks and the opportunities of climate variability and change, explained Dr. Gowda.
Capping the event was the message of encouragement to the participants and attendees given by Dr. William D. Dar, director general of ICRISAT. He cited the need for a collective effort in addressing the issue of climate change. “The basic mitigation measure that we can do right now is simply planting more trees to reduce carbon dioxide emission, and the time to act is now,” he said.