A total of 23 participants from different government departments (Ward-District level), Civil Society Organizations, Women groups, Media, small holder farmers, higher learning Institutions and pastoralists, attended a public dialogue conducted at Lushoto District Council meeting hall on 30th August 2017, organized by Climate Action Network Tanzania
The dialogue intended to enable stakeholders from Lushoto to share their views on Improved Policy & Inclusive participation in Planning and Implementation of Climate Change Responses.
During the dialogue, a number of issues and concerns were raised based on the vivid evidences of climate change impacts on crop farming and livestock keeping in different localities in Lushoto district.
Small holder farmers explained that, there is an increasing seasonal shift coupled by erratic rains and other climate change extremes. They went further adding that crop yield has been increasingly reduced, emergence of new pastes and diseases and unproductive of traditional crop varieties. On the other hand, pastoralists mentioned decreased quality of livestock products, decreasing pasture and increased land conflicts among land users.
Also, it was made clear that the uses of water for irrigation from different sources e.g. Umba river, is currently a challenge due to increased uses especially in the upstream, a situation which results into conflicts among users especially those situated at the middle and lower streams.
Participants also highlighted that several water sources are currently running dry, forests are perishing due to increased deforestation and farms expansion. According to them, this situation is also contributed by the impacts of climate change especially reduced rainfall which tends to result into poor crop yield.
Women insisted that they are highly impacted by climate change as they spend more time walking long distances to fetch water and firewood for domestic uses. They also mentioned low knowledge and poor involvement of women in planning and implementation of environment and climate change as among the challenges that needs special attention to build the community resilience to climate change
Lushoto district Council Officers presented efforts that are already in place to make sure that communities in Lushoto are aware and capable to uptake climate responses initiatives
The District Agriculture and Fisheries Officer highlighted that the district has a Climate Change Alliance, which is a platform envisages to bring together different stakeholders and raise awareness so that all initiatives related to climate change are positively and effectively undertaken in the district. The District Planning Officer also informed participants that they have 15,000,000 TZS in this financial year budget specifically to address climate change issues especially awareness raising
On top of that, efforts have been put in place to adapt to climate change adverse impacts on agriculture, including
Considering weather information in planning farming activities
Growing pasture to be uses in dry seasons
Reducing number of animals in order to reduce risks in prolonged dry seasons
Growing crop varieties that resist dry seasons
Avoiding traditional farming practices
Rain water harvesting
Sustainable irrigation farming
Increased Extension services to small holder farmers in rural areas
Empowering women in terms of knowledge and awareness related to climate smart farming in the context of climate change