Zimbabwe Farmers' Union

Environmental Stewardess can save our planet

30 Jan 2018

Who can save us from the effects of climate change? But who caused it in the first place?

We are part and parcel of the problem, we are part and parcel of the solution, but if we do no act we suffer the most.

Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.

Research has shown that, compared to natural causes, it is extremely likely that human activities have been the dominant cause of global warming which in turn causes climate change

Human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels have contributed significantly to climate change by adding carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.

Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change; as extreme events such as high temperatures, erratic rains, droughts and floods can directly reduce crop yields whilst increasing pest proliferation thus threatening food security.

As stated above carbon dioxide is assumed to be the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, why not capture the carbon dioxide so we reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Trees are carbon sinks, they capture carbon dioxide.

Planting trees will therefore go a long way in saving our planet.

The Director of the World Agroforestry Centre is on record saying, “Growing the right tree in the right place has potential to slow climate change”

The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union in partnership with NORAD through SACAU is implementing a Climate Smart Agriculture Advocacy program.

Under this program, ZFU in the past month conducted provincial meetings with farmer leaders and stakeholders discussing climate smart agriculture practises in-order to mitigate or monitor climate change effects.

During the discussions, representatives from the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe suggested that the integration of forestry and crops will help in regulating temperatures and increase soil fertility which might in turn reduce the use of inorganic fertilisers.

“Trees like the Acacia display peculiar reverse phenology, simply put, unlike other tree species they keep leaves during the dry season and shade them during the rainy season and again they are nitrogen fixers. This nitrogen fixing ability could limit the use of inorganic fertiliser thus reducing nitrous oxide emissions,” said Forestry Commission Mash West Provincial Manager, Mr Lewis Radzire.

He also added that, “Trees like the whistling pine can create a micro-climate environment by retaining moisture content, thus planting trees in conjunction with adopting other CSA practises will help in mitigating the effects of climate change”.

One can therefore safely say that, agro-forestry is a climate smart practice, not only do trees absorb carbon dioxide, they also create a micro-climatic environment.

If farmers unite for this cause, we surely can help ourselves manage climate change thus saving our precious planet