11.5.2 Transferred Technologies
Adaptation to climate change is likely; the extent depends on the affordability
of adaptive measures mentioned in Table 11.4, access
to technology and biophysical constrains such as water resource availability,
soil characteristics, genetic diversity, crop breeding, and topography. National
studies have shown incremental additional costs of agricultural production under
climate change which could create a serious burden for some developing countries
Nearly all agricultural impact studies conducted over the past 5 years have
considered some technological options for adapting to climate change (IPCC,
1996). Technology transfer and diffusion of new technologies could in particular
focus on improvement of irrigation technology and alternative species and varieties.
Improving irrigation technology.
Changes in temperature and precipitation levels will alter the hydrological
cycle and water supplies. In general, the IPCC (1996) notes that estimated precipitation
increases in high latitude regions may lead to runoff increase; runoff will
tend to decrease in lower latitudes due to combined temperature increase and
precipitation decrease. Increased rainfall intensity would increase soil erosion,
while in other regions agriculture could be affected by drought. Rind et al.
(1990) use GCM results to calculate that for many mid-latitude locations (e.g.,
USA) the incidence of severe droughts that currently occur only 5% of the time
could rise to a 50% frequency by 2050, based on the difference between precipitation
and potential evapotranspiration. Such a change would constitute a severe natural
disaster for agricultural production.
About 253 million hectares, 17% of the world's crop land, are irrigated. This
land produces more than one-third of the world's food (Geijer et al., 1996).
Irrigation is therefore increasingly important for adapting to the effects of
climate change on agricultural production. Almost three-quarters of the world's
irrigated area is in developing countries. To mitigate the negative effects
of climate change on agriculture, developing countries should improve their
existing irrigation efficiency through adoption of drip irrigation systems and
other water-conserving technologies (FAO 1989, 1990a). An alternative is to
import technologies and equipment from developed countries that have advanced
irrigation technologies. See Box 11.6 for a discussion
of the main barriers involved.
|Box 11.6 Irrigation Technology Transfer between
Countries and across Barriers
The main flow of irrigation technology transfer is from developed to
developing countries. The primary barrier encountered by the importing
developing countries is that they cannot afford the high cost of patents
and equipment. The second barrier is that the importers do not have enough
money to build the auxiliary equipment for the introduced technology,
because developing countries, in many cases, only buy key equipment due
to their limited financial resources. The third barrier for irrigation
technology transfer between countries is that the importing developing
countries are not clearly aware of what technologies fit their conditions
and where they can find the suitable ones. The importers do not always
receive satisfactory service when there are problems with their imported
equipment or scientific instrument.
New species and varieties adapted to changing climate.
For most major crops, varieties exist with a wide range of maturities and climatic
tolerances. For example, Matthews et al. (1994) identified wide genetic variability
among rice varieties as a reasonably uncomplicated response to spikelet sterility
in rice that occurred in simulations for South and Southeast Asia. Studies in
Australia showed that responses to climate change are strongly cultivar dependent
(Wang et al., 1992). The genetic base is broad for most crops but limited for
some (e.g., kiwi fruit). A study by Easterling et al. (1993) explored how hypothetical
new varieties would respond to climate change (also reported in McKenney et
al., 1992). Heat, drought, and pest resistance, salt tolerance, and general
improvements in crop yield and quality would be beneficial for crop adaptation
(Smit, 1993). See Box 11.7.
|Box 11.7 New Rice in Sierra Leone
The development of a new mangrove rice variety in Africa is an important
case study of technology development and transfer. Much of the success
of this effort hinged on the accident of a critical mass of researchers
at the government rice research station in Rokupr Sierra Leone and the
interest of the West African Rice Research Development Association (WARDA)
in this effort. WARDA provided additional resources to the station at
Rokupr to carry out the development of a new rice variety to meet the
changed climate conditions, and improve yields above those previously
achieved. The Sierra Leone agricultural research establishment was able
to demonstrate the value of their rice research effort to the food supply
of the nation and WARDA was able to demonstrate to their financial supporters
their value in contributing to this new technology and its transfer. There
was a German seed distribution project that helped with some seed distribution,
but farmers themselves undertook most of the technology transfer to other
farmers once the success of the new variety became apparent (Prahah-Asante
et al., 1982, 1986; Spencer, 1975; Spencer et al., 1979; Tre et al., 1998;
WARDA, 1987; Zinnah, 1992; Zinnah et al., 1993).
Most developing countries depend heavily on agriculture. Developing countries
are barely able to adopt the mitigation technologies mentioned in Table
11.3 to mitigate the GHG emissions in agricultural systems, because of barriers
mentioned in Table 11.4. If advanced technologies
are transferred to them with demonstration projects, as well as technical assistance
and financial support, GHG emissions will be reduced.
Improvement of the efficiency of nitrogen fertiliser.
Nitrogen fertiliser efficiency decreased with increased nitrogen fertiliser
input. So farmers need additional information such as soil testing data, as
well as educational support to interpret the data. They can also gain experience
by participating in demonstration projects. Extension personnel are needed to
provide on-farm technical assistance with new practices to increase N efficiency.
Availability of application machinery and technologies must be transferred simultaneously
to be effective.
Reducing methane emission from rice fields.
Feasible mitigation strategies that have been verified to significantly reduce
methane emission from rice fields are temporary midseason aeration of the soil,
using fermented instead of fresh organic manure, applying sulfate containing
fertiliser, and planting/breeding rice cultivars with low emission capacity.
Reducing methane emission from animal waste.
Biogas digesters can provide clean energy and high quality fertiliser, and can
be an important option for reducing methane emission from livestock manure.
This technology is widely recognised as an EST and has been widely accepted
all over the world, especially in China and India.