The 2014 World Food Day theme - Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth” - has been chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers. It focuses on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
The latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights that all aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food production, access, utilization, and price stability.
Climate services based on climate predictions can play an essential role in supporting adaptation for agriculture and fisheries and food security. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), together with its partners from the United Nations System, in particular the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), and civil society organizations, are working to develop and promote climate services for agriculture and food security under the umbrella of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).
As part of the GFCS Adaptation Programme in Africa, WFP is currently training agricultural extension officers in the semi-arid districts of Longido and Kiteto in Northern Tanzania on how to understand and communicate the seasonal forecasts to allow farmers to adapt their cropping decisions according to the climate outlook. The training is being implemented in partnership with CCAFS and forecasters from the Tanzania Meteorological Agency. In 2015 and 2016 farmers will also be reached directly with weather and climate information through community radio services.
WMO also supports the development of operational agricultural meteorological and climate services in the Sahel – a region where smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate variability. Farmers are trained on the use of simple tools as recording rain fall in their plots by plastic raingauges, the use of seed calendars decision making schemes and bulletins tailored to the main crops.
WMO has also successfully held more than 300 roving seminars for farmers, reaching more than 12 000 family farmers. Teams composed of meteorologists, agricultural extension agents and experts in communication train farmers on the use of basic knowledge and equipment to improve productivity and receive valuable feedback about how climate affects normal crop evolution in the region.