Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seychelles struggles to adapt to climate change in a losing battle

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- This season Jacques Matombehad to burn 14,300 U.S. dollars worth of pumpkin that he spent months growing on his farm in Seychelles. There was no other way to stop the disease spreading to his crop.

"It was out of control," he said, standing in a field of crispy pumpkin plants. "You have to burn it."
Disease and pests have become a problem for Matombe and other locals who farm the Aseroyale Plateau on Mahe, Seychelles' main island. Once cool, trade winds are now warmer, fostering the right breeding grounds for disease.

The change in temperature and unusual, extreme seasons have made farming even more unforgiving, said Matombe, noting that his neighbor recently had to burn thousands of dollars worth of Chinese cabbage after they became infected. "The disease attacks the heart," he said.
Matombe's five hectares of farmland must support his family of five children and keep 30 workers employed. But changing weather patterns have increased the costs of running his farm, raising the stakes in a precarious livelihood.

Climate change is making it more difficult to for Seychelles to achieve food security, said Antoine Marie Moustache, the co-chair of Seychelles' Agricultural Agency on Food and Security, and a member of the National Climate Change Committee. More >>>