Photo: Eoghan Rice/Trócaire. Andrew Lodio from Lokitaung in northern Kenya during drought in 2011
Climate change is already a daily reality for communities in many developing countries. It massively impacts their ability to access enough water or grow enough food to survive, let alone thrive.
Changes in rainfall and drought patterns are having a devastating effect on small farmers.
It is predicted that yields from ‘rain-fed’ agriculture will drop by 50% by 2020 – deepening the food and water crises we already face.
Without urgent action, climate change presents a major threat to right to water for even more people. By 2025, almost two thirds of the world’s population (5.4 billion people) are likely to experience some kind of water stress, and for one billion of them the shortage will be severe.
In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in extreme weather events across the world, with the highest concentration in our poorest regions.
In fact, there have been almost three times the number of disasters recorded in the last decade compared to the 1970s. And since 2000, the growth rate in the number of people affected by climate-related disasters has doubled.
The costs of dealing with climate change effects are rising sharply, impacting more and more on the economies of countries in both developed and developing countries.
Our inaction is costing us money. The losses that we have incurred because of climate change exceed the cost of low carbon adaptation.
In an Irish context, climate change will have a major impact on the agricultural industry. It is estimated that climate change could cost the Irish agricultural sector between €1 and €2 billion per annum.
Trócaire works with farmers to become more food secure and better able to cope with the impacts of climate change. By increasing their crop yields and diversifying the crops they grow, farmers are in a better position to deal with the effects of a drought, flood or tropical storm.
Gaining access to water for irrigation and using techniques that conserve soil and water are part of how farmers are adapting their farming practices for long-term resilience in a changing climate.
Last year, Trócaire supported livelihoods programmes in 15 countries, benefiting some 656,000 people directly and nearly 1.5 million people indirectly.