Head of Department of Crop Production at the Fiji National University Hirdesh Sachan
The 2016 Pacific Update conference at The University of the South Pacific (USP) in Laucala dedicated a session to discuss Climate Change Adaptation and Education.
Head of Department of Crop Production at the Fiji National University, Mr Hirdesh Sachan who spoke on Information Needs for Climate Change Adaptation among Farmers in Fiji, said agriculture is referred to as the backbone of Fiji, however, the sector is not immune to obscurity and faces many challenges.
Two such challenges, he said, are the lack of agricultural information being disseminated to farmers and traditional negative stereotype towards agriculture and adapting to climate change.
“Climate change poses a direct and growing threat to the livelihoods of people in agriculture. Poor rural households, whose livelihood depend predominantly on agriculture and natural resources, will bear a disproportionate burden of adverse impacts of climate change and thus should be adaptations in interventions,” Mr Sachan explained.
USP senior lecturer Dr Tess Martin introduced the European Union Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training (EU PacTVET) project
He stated that the Pacific islands are the most vulnerable to climate change due to its geographical remoteness and size.
According to Mr Sachan, scientists have projected that by 2100 Pacific Islands would experience the following:
· Sea level rise by about 0.39 metres;
· Surface air temperature to increase by 2.3 degree Celsius;
· Rainfall would either rise or fall with predicted impacts of 8.36 per cent to 20.2 per cent;
· El-Nino conditions possible more frequent;
· Tropical cyclones becoming more intense;
· Saline intrusion into freshwater lenses; and
· Increased flooding.
Mr Sachan added that climate hazards will affect agriculture through heat stress on plants, changes in soil moisture and temperature; loss of soil fertility through erosion of top soil and less water available for crop production.
USP senior lecturer, Dr Tess Martin introduced the European Union Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training (EU PacTVET) project, while speaking on Quality Assured TVET Qualifications in Resilience for the Pacific Islands Region.
The purpose of the project is to create regional and national capacity and technical expertise to respond to Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Sustainable Energy (SE) challenges.
While explaining the project rationale, Dr Martin said there is a need to include climate change and sustainable energy in TVET curriculum and build sustainable education and training systems.
“At present there are projects or programmes to include climate change, disaster risk management and sustainable energy in primary and secondary school curricula,” she said.
“There are also university programmes on climate change, disaster risk management and sustainable energy in the region,” she added.
Other topics discussed included building future climate leaders and policy initiatives to promote climate smart production systems.
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