Planning for the Future Now
Farmers are extremely dependent on the climate. Erratic rainfall and unpredictable weather events can be the difference between a successful crop and a failure.
The SAfER project (Sustainable Agriculture for Enhanced Resilience) in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province helps farmers plan for the unexpected. Farmers faced dramatic changes in climate and rainfall patterns in this area, but had little support in drought-resilient agricultural practices. Many had experienced low food production as a result of erratic rainfall and recurrent, prolonged dry seasons over the previous years. Catholic Relief Services and partners worked with farmers to improve their planting, soil and water management and conservation techniques, as well as promoted good seed storage and crop diversification practices.
The project’s success was even more visible in 2016 as the El Nino weather phenomenon exacerbated climate change trends. Rains came 3 months late and were minimal for the first 2 months. Farmers who used new techniques were able to have a harvest, although smaller than normal. Farmers who planted in a traditional way lost their entire corn crop and had to make difficult choices about how to cope.
The SAfER project originally focused on 1,500 farmers, but by the end of the project it had reached more than 1,800 farmers. The additional farmers had observed and copied the farming techniques and successes of the SAfER program. Now, more communities are being reached in another phase of the project and are able to plan for the future now.