30 October 2013

Changing climate threatens Tanzanian farmers

Broken water pump. Mlanda, Tanzania
Arusha, Tanzania - The stretch of road from Morogoro to Iringa cuts through Mikumi National Park before traversing the Udzungwa mountains. Dead baobab trees stand gray and fat against the seemingly endless stretches of dirt.

Changing rainfall patterns and a lack of overall water access is making life increasingly harder for Tanzania farmers. The country hopes to improve food security, nutrition and food production, but it may be impossible if things stay the same. The problems of climate change are playing out on the backs of the nation's small-holder farmers.

The once white-capped heights of Mt Kilimanjaro are now scattered with patches of earth that are evident when passing by plane. The WWF estimated a 55% glacier loss on the peak between 1962 and 2000. That in turn results in a reduction of cloud forests which means less water for the 1 million people living around the mountain.

It is possible that the snows of Kilimanjaro could be a fond memory by 2020.

The importance of water is visibly evident when rivers provide much needed water to nearby soil. Trees thrive and crops grow for a stretch of a few hundred feet alongside the water before returning to the vast dead landscape. The higher hills fare well due to the proximity the clouds

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