Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CLIMATE CHANGE: Planning for Damage Control.

Aaron kaah

In   a report   produced by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2006 entitled   the  “livestock long shadow” it was remarked   that farming livestock and   processing cattle generated 18% of green house gases in to the atmosphere and just 13% came from cars, trucks and other transportations. These livestock transgressions include deforestation of grazing land, the pollution of air and ground water from animal waste and the excessive use of water to raise   grains for feed and its threat on diversity.

Livestock and the worlds rising demand for meat contributed in many ways to global warming   and climate change and the general deterioration of the environment. Yet the report also   highlighted that producing  livestock had enormous economic   importance   to  man  and the environment. The report also earmarked that animal farming beside being big business at the industrial level was also  a great source of income  and a means of survival for most needy farm families world wide for whom this livestock is their only source of  livelihood.
Raising   animals is central to eradicating poverty in most communities around the  world. In Cameroon some small scale farmers had distinguished themselves by striving  to  reverse these carbon foot print and Hoof print with   sustainable farming methods and natural  resources management skills.
At the Babanki community some 23KM from Bamenda the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon Wih Linus and His family are model livestock farmers   who went in to livestock farming out of passion in the dark days of their lives. These struggling farmers faced not only the daily blunders of  raising livestock in  free range  grazing areas   but the scarcity of land was their biggest  worry. “We really wanted help” Linus said. This livestock was source  of his family income for emergency spending  and food. According to Linus his children could not go to school. The use of his small grazing land intensively with less time for it to recover from over grazing and food crop cultivation   contributed severely to desertification and erosion.  “Our food crops were  not enough and our land was getting drier every day” Linus Recalled.
In 2008 Linus   and other community members   began working in cooperation to find solutions  to their needs.  Not Long a development organization was helping them know basic principles   of integrated livestock management, pasture development, care for the earth and animals as well as  composting of farm fields to improve  soil quality.  Apart   from shifting attention from depleted  communal  farm lands, these small group of farmers began  developing pasture  and grass next to their homes. Before long they had   constructed staples and pens to keep their animals. “We sold our big herd and decided to raise a few animals in confinement” One   of the farmers said.  This idea began protecting the pasture   and grazing   land. “This zero grazing began improving our land “ Abain Godlove a farmers in the project said. By collecting    manure   for fertilizer in their farm fields their yields also improved. Well planed movement of the herd from field to field helped also to keep   the land healthy and improved the utilization of grass varieties.
By  learning to make good use of the  earth natural resources these small scale model farmers are leading a pilot project on domestic Bio gas construction. This idea is helping them  to  trim utility bills and avoid cutting trees for fuel wood.  Through this small family seize Bio Gas  units  these needy farm families are  reaping double dividends. An almost free renewable green energy and a by- product slurry   a very rich crop fertilizer. Today Linus  and his  common initiative  group have used their livestock operations not only to improve their nutrition and income but care  for their land  and water. They follow sustainable practices like using animal manure for fertilizer, planting trees on pasture land to protect water sources, quality but also erosion   and desertification. In response  to the changing climate these small scale farmer are doing the best they can to control their declining natural resources. “We know that the health of our herd depended on the health of our environment”. Linus said.  These group of farmers prized themselves to the highest levels of care  for the land and meager resources.
Because   meat   processing and distribution cause more carbon pollution with methane gas   improving animal diet in an integrated livestock management system has also improved their digestion breaking down significantly on the amount of methane release during processing and transportation. In Cameroon small scale farmers like Linus with limited   farming space are making a  great livelihood from their initiatives and  a great food supply for  their communities. These are just  daring examples  of small  poor  farmers  that  have withstood  the impact of  the changing climate to  benefit their lives and communities.

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