Many small-scale farmers who had begun working with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) through the Food security through climate Adaptation and Resilience (FAR) programme are glad they did not experience a total loss of their crops. IFDC had introduced them to climate-smart agricultural practices that encompassed the use of improved farming inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. The application of these climate-smart practices was aimed at enhancing smallholder resilience to extremely unpredictable weather and improving productivity within the rice and vegetable value chains.
Buzi was one of the hardest hit districts with intense and complete flooding to farmers’ crop fields. Rice fields remained flooded for more than a week. Despite facing the devastation brought by the cyclone, the farmers who implemented the climate-smart practices are finding a reason to smile. They are hopeful because they did not face total losses. They planted several improved rice varieties which were highly adaptive and resilient to the harsh climate. They also applied the right amounts of fertilizer as recommended by the programme; boosting the root development which gave their crops proper anchorage amidst the floods.
These rice varieties are considered resilient because of their tillering capacity. This simply refers to the plants’ ability to produce grain-bearing shoots from the main stem. In field tests, these varieties have in the past produced more than 15 tillers. When the cyclone hit, only the main tiller of the rice plants which had initiated the panicle formation died as a result of the floods. One month later, the rice plants began recovering from the water effects. When the water table lowered, the plants' tillers began re-growing.
Castigo and Helena are smallholder beneficiaries of the programme. They applied the recommended climate-smart practices and after the floods, were able to harvest some seeds from their plants which they plan to use in the next planting season.