La Niña drought threatens millions of livestock – KENYA

7 January, 2011 by (comments)

The La Niña weather system, which has brought torrential rains and devastating floods to Colombia in recent months, has left Kenyan livestock keepers in the north of the country facing severe drought.

The United Nations news service IRIN reports today that up to 22 million livestock could die unless urgent action is taken to address water shortages and to prevent the spread of disease.

“Even though la niña is a natural weather system, it is contributing to the growing uncertainty about seasons and climate, making it very difficult for farmers to know when and what to plant, and as we are seeing here, threatening the livestock – a vitally important source of income and protein for many small famers in developing countries,” said CIAT climate change scientist Andy Jarvis.

“These climatic variations are likely to continue – and possibly worsen. We need to develop crops that can cope with these kinds of extremes – for example, food and forage crops that can tolerate drought, flooding, pests and diseases – and get them to farmers.”

Click to read about CIAT’s recent progress in devloping “climate smart” crops.

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