Reducing the Vulnerability of Georgia’s Agricultural Systems to Climate
Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors, especially in developing countries like Georgia where it accounts for economic stability. Unfortunately, climate change and the mitigation of its effects have become one of the key priorities for many countries in the last decade. Agriculture is one of the most affected sectors by climate and certain steps have to be undertaken to preserve agricultural crops from the climate factors.
In Georgia, the majority of the rural population depends on agricultural production to support themselves. The poor will be affected the most since they would also have to spend more on food. The climate change would on a larger scale effect the country tremendously by reducing the efforts of the government to reduce poverty.
The international agendas for mitigating climate effects like reducing greenhouse emissions are not enough to influence dramatic temperature increase and extreme weather occurrences.
Goals, Adaptation, Impacts, and Potential Dangers
The main goal is to adapt agricultural planning to the climate change policies in order to come up with capacities and institutions and infrastructure to support agriculture despite the climate. Farmers should play a key-role in developing such plans whereby they have to cooperate with agricultural experts.
The first thing on the agenda is raising awareness among farmers and the domestic population in order to spread knowledge about the effects and the results they can produce. Also, an analysis was conducted to identify the impacts of changing climate factors and how to adapt to the new conditions.
Priorities need to be set and acted upon accordingly.
One of the identified risks and possible solutions were displayed in the joint study of the World Bank and the Government of Georgia.
The climate could reduce river flow, increase temperature and contribute to more extreme weather events. These effects could eventually lead to lower crop production, and lower quality of crops, as well as to complete crop failure. Some of the proposed measures to fight back are access to agronomic technologies and information and hydromet, as well as better access to markets.
A crop insurance program is also part of the plan which would give farmers a guarantee in case their crops fail. The government is also to offer low-interest loans to farmers over a long course of years.
It is assessed that the climate factors will be especially intense during summers from July to September which is a very important season for farmers. Georgian farmers proved to have a hard time to adapt and many ignore the adaptation measures which is not the smartest move. The sooner the majority of farmers start to adapt, the more resilient will they be in the future.
Even if there are plenty of water resources, especially in Western Georgia, the future scenarios predict water shortages throughout the country. Water deficiency could lead up to 55% crop losses which is very alarming. If Georgians do not come up with an efficient irrigation system, they could lose over 50% of their agricultural production.
The study remained short of detailed livestock information since location information was not available during the study. The only thing that can be expected is that livestock will also be negatively affected by increased temperatures.
Georgina farmers have also problems with direct access to local markets, a problem they have been fighting for a very long time now. Re-evaluation of the markets needs o done in order to enable better access to farmers. The lack of data in Georgia also leads to inconclusive results, leaving us with partial forecasts. The study could not account for a detailed analysis of many factors due to lack of proper information. still, some key priorities were defined and Georgia has the potential to successfully overcome the vulnerability of its agricultural systems.