Food: Farming for the Future

earthrise looks at some innovative methods of sustainable farming and food production as climate change intensifies.

Climate change has disrupted weather patterns across the globe, destroying farmland and increasing pest outbreaks. As a result, both the livelihoods of farmers and food supplies have been pushed to breaking point.

earthrise sets off to South Africa and Nepal to see how some newly developed solutions are helping farmers to produce food for a growing population as conditions change.

Surviving drought in South Africa

South Africa has been experiencing the worst drought in 100 years. Since the 1990s the country has lost a third of its farms because of water scarcity. As a result, farmers have had to turn to a hi-tech solution to help cope with dwindling water supplies and harsher environments.

We speak with Professor Jill Farrant, a professor at the University of Cape Town, who has been trying to unlock the secret behind so-called resurrection plants which can survive long periods without water. Professor Farrant believes they may hold the answer to crops surviving long periods without water. 

earthrise then visits the De Wet family farm. The family has employed a cutting-edge technology called Fruitlook to help run their orchard effectively. The system uses NASA satellite imagery which takes monthly pictures showing soil health and dry areas. As a result, farmers are able to target irrigation to areas that really need it, thus saving water. 

Ndoni Khanyile explores these solutions for farming during drought.

Nepal’s plant clinics

As trade has become more globalised, so too has the movement of pests from one country to another. Together with a changing climate that has become suitable for pests, this has meant that smallholder farmers in Nepal are having to cope with new problems threatening their crops.

Gelareh Darabi travels to Pokhara, Nepal, to learn about a new initiative called Plantwise, which sets up clinics to advise and aid farmers in ridding farms of pests with eco-friendly methods.