Improving Agricultural Production, Rural Livelihoods, and ... Agricultural Production, Rural Livelihoods, and Food Security Background paper for World Bank Report: Adaptation to a

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  • Improving Agricultural Production, Rural

    Livelihoods, and Food Security

    Background paper for World Bank Report:

    Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries

    Authorship

    Lead Authors:

    Rachael McDonnell &

    Shoaib Ismail

    International Center for Biosaline Agriculture

    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    A working outline of this paper can be found in Annex 1

    Disclaimer

    This text is not for citation. The statements, views, interpretations and findings

    expressed in this draft and in all contents herein are entirely those of the authors. They

    do not necessarily represent the view of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or

    the countries they represent.

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    Table of Contents Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 Current agricultural production systems, rural livelihoods, and food security ................... 4 Impacts of climate change on agricultural production, rural livelihoods and food security9

    Details from studies in the region ..................................................................................... 16 Ideas going forward .......................................................................................................... 19 Boxes................................................................................................................................. 21 Annex 1: Preliminary Outline of Chapter ......................................................................... 24

    Bibliography ..................................................................................................................... 25

  • Introduction 1

    2

    Both global and regional climate change modeling exercises have highlighted that 3

    MENA is considered one of the most vulnerable region to climate change impacts on 4

    account of its water scarcity (Giorgi, 2006, IPCC, 2007; Evans, 2010). Model results 5

    suggest that the region will largely become hotter and drier with greater inter-seasonal 6

    and inter-annual variability resulting in less water runoff (between 20 -30%) (Milly et al, 7

    2005). This will have both direct and indirect impacts on rural economies, agricultural 8

    production and food security. The recent profound political changes in the MENA region 9

    have been linked to a number of variables including volatile food prices. Given the 10

    dependence on food imports in some countries, and exports in others, any changes in 11

    climate are likely to have major impacts on their communities and economies. 12

    13

    Over the last 30 years there has been a steady increase in agricultural productivity both 14

    global and in the Middle East North Africa region over the last 30 years, giving average 15

    grain yields rising from .. .to .. has resulted from many changes in crop and water 16

    management. This has lead to generally improved conditions for much of the population. 17

    However these advances may be checked by any changes in precipitation and 18

    temperature. There is a growing perception of food insecurity in this region resulting 19

    from the changing water scarcity in with many structural changes such as in populations 20

    and economics. 21

    22

    The economy of rural communities is based mainly on the harnessing of natural resources, 23

    in particular water and land, and their products and services. Many of farming units are 24

    based on low levels of development with little technological input to their production 25

    systems. This makes them vulnerable to any exposure to climate and environmental 26

    variability, often with little capacity for the system to adjust to change (World Bank, 27

    2009). The most at risk are the rural landless and small and marginal farmers. Rural 28

    livelihoods are intrinsically linked to water availability and use with the poorest relying 29

    heavily on rainfed production systems that are particularly susceptible to droughts, floods, 30

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    and shifts in markets and prices. The Arab Human Development report (UNDP, 2009a) 31

    highlights both the threats from over-exploitation and variability of water and land, and 32

    from food insecurity. Large farmers are buffered from price shocks because they are 33

    likely to benefit from the higher agricultural produce prices. 34

    35

    Food security is defined by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) (2002) as a 36

    situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic 37

    access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food 38

    preferences for an active and healthy life. It combines four key dimensions - food 39

    production and availability, stability of food supplies, access to food, food utilization and 40

    (Schmidhuber and Tubiello (2007). Climate change has the potential to disrupt all four of 41

    these dimensions in the MENA region, either directly or through socio-economic, trade 42

    and stock flows and policies and regulations. 43

    44

    Food production/availability is critically dependent on local temperature and precipitation 45

    conditions and any short-term variability is a major risk factor for both production and 46

    rural communities. Changes require farmers to adapt their practices and this adaptation 47

    requires resource that could be used for other areas and activities. Whilst many of the 48

    countries in the MENA region are heavily dependent on food imports they span a wide 49

    range of development situations ranging from low income, through those in middle-50

    income range to the high range (the oil rich states). The food consumption levels are 51

    generally in the upper middle range and (kcal/person/day) (FAO, 2008). 52

    53

    54

    Current agricultural production systems, rural livelihoods, 55

    and food security 56

    57

    Agricultural Production Systems 58

    59

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    Dominance of evaporation over precipitation and the impacts on soil moisture - most of 60

    the region lacks access to surface water, greatly influencing both water and agricultural 61

    management systems. 62

    63

    Crop production 64

    Rainfed production systems 65

    Haddad et al (2011) state that rainfed irrigation accounts for two-thirds of the regions 66

    cropland, and the bulk of its food staples. 67

    68

    Irrigated production systems 69

    Small-scale Traditional Oasis systems both natural and human constructed. Problem 70

    of supporting such systems using pumped groundwater. Old falaj system is less 71

    renewable these days because of over-pumping and declining water table levels. 72

    73

    Large-scale crop production (agribusiness based on mechanized and modified 74

    environments high input of chemicals etc). Some production only for local/regional 75

    markets. Others rely on exporting value crops into high-paying countries such as in 76

    Europe. There is already a growing disconnect between production activities based on 77

    rainfall patterns and amounts. Many of these systems are already largely independent of 78

    the constraints of rainfall. 79

    80

    Livestock production 81

    82

    Rainfed systems account for almost all of the rangelands in the MENA region (Haddad et 83

    al, 2011). 84

    85

    Small-scale -pastoralist or oasis often nomadic lifestyle based on traditional rangelands 86

    and natural patterns of rainfall and temperature. 87

    88

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    Large- scale (agribusiness based on mechanized and modified environments). Livestock 89

    is increasingly fed on industrial food sub-products. Some production for local/regional 90

    markets. Already becoming less dependent on the constraints of rainfall. 91

    92

    93

    Rural livelihoods 94

    95

    The population in the MENA region is more urbanized than in other developing areas 96

    resulting from both natural and historical variables. Yet this urbanization has not been 97

    accompanied by a shift of labour from agriculture to services and manufacturing that you 98

    would expect. Whilst agriculture has lost its share of value added, rural areas remain 99

    centers of low-productivity employment and poverty (World Bank 2010). Rural poverty 100

    rates are greater than urban poverty in the MENA countries and often greater than 20% 101

    (Iqbal, 2006). 102

    103

    The rural households tend to rely heavily on climate-sensitive resources and activities 104

    such as local water supplies, arable farming, livestock husbandry and fuelwood collection. 105

    Small-holder farmers face many risks including those related to weather and markets 106

    (Alwang and Norton, 2011). Whilst agriculture is the main activity household income and 107

    resources can be enhanc