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FAO: Heat-resistant crops, green infrastructure, can help Near East/North Africa to better tackle droughts

18.06.2018 20:32 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) The Near-East and North Africa countries, where chronic water shortages are sure to worsen due to climate change, must take pro-active steps to become more resilient against droughts, UN Radio says referring to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report issued ahead of the World Day to Combat Desertification (marked annually Jun 17). As to the report, even though the drought is a familiar phenomenon within this region, but over the last 40 years the droughts have become more widespread, prolonged and frequent - likely due to climate change. Though the region is not highly prone to drought, desert makes up three quarters of its territory, which stretches from Morocco to Iraq. So, the FAO has warned that the Near East and North Africa’s technical, administrative, and financial capacities to deal with drought are inadequate, making farmers and herders - the first and worst hit when drought strikes - even more vulnerable. Among the measure to be taken to tackle the problem, the report advises growing of the drought-tolerant, fast maturing and watershed crops, and encouraging advanced methods of irrigation (including drip and spray irrigation). These measures are to be adopted at larger scale. The report also notes that traditional livestock herding practices — keeping stocking rates low and moving herds when forage is low — can reduce the risk of overgrazing and land degradation.

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