…to better manage disastersWith climate change causing a rapid increase in droughts, floods and other disasters in recent years that are affecting the agricultural sector in many countries, putting them at risk of growing food insecurity, several local agricultural agencies have partnered to help train farmers in smart agricultural practices in order to reduce the impact of natural disasters on their produce and poultry.Guyana’s own flood experience of 2005-2006 is an important example of the impact climate change can have on the agricultural sector; many animals andNAREI Training Manager Benjamin Frank explaining the programme to farmers at the launch on Wednesdayplants did not survive the flood, causing farmers countrywide to lose their livelihood.To prevent such disasters from happening again, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI); the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB); the Guyana Livestock Development Authority and the Guyana Red Cross Society have collaborated and launched a training programme.The exercise, “Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption of Good Practices for your community”, was launched on Wednesday at Lovely Lass, West Coast Berbice (WCB). It will be launched in four other communities: Number Four Village, WCB); D’Edwards, WCB; Fyrish, Corentyne and Now and Never, WCB.The training will see officials from the agencies looking at ‘smart agricultural practices’ for each community, which can assist farmers in coping with adverse climate conditions. The most suitable approach will be selected and a demonstration exercise will be done with farmers.It is expected that farmers will then transfer the new knowledge to their respective farms in an effort to reduce and manage disasters.NAREI will be building capacity in the extension services, to enable staff to employ the disaster risk reduction tools, practices, and approaches in their daily work and to promote field implementation of disaster risk reduction measures. The agency’s Training Manager, Benjamin Frank, told the gathering that in the event of a disaster, while you could move animals, plants could not be moved from one spot and taken back when the situation normalised.“We have to look at smart practices that can assist you in coping with these adverse conditions like shade houses — but while this might be applicable in one area, it might not be suitable in other places, so we have to arrive at the most suitable practices,” Frank posited.“We are targeting farmers in specific communities in Regions Five and Six. Observe what we are doing, because it will be practically demonstrated. We expect all farmers to take what they learn back to their farm, so that your livelihood is not greatly affected in the event of a disaster,” he told the farmers present.The Training Officer concluded by informing farmers that NAREI would continue to assess communities at risk and implement good training programmes to help overcome these hurdles that farmers face on a yearly basis.