Climate change and impacts on family farming in the North and Northeast of Brazil

Climate change and impacts on family farming in the North and Northeast of Brazil

Climate change has increasingly been recognised as the main challenge facing humanity in the coming decades. The starting point of this study is the consideration of future climate change scenarios and the uncertainties they bring. 

It is expected that the Centre-West region of Brazil will experience the highest increase in average temperatures over the next few decades. However, until the end of the century, there will be an expansion of this trend to the North and Northeast regions as well, mostly in the central areas of those regions.  Moreover, the north of Brazil will also experience an increase in interannual variability, with increasing differences between maximum and minimum temperatures. The North and Northeast regions should also experience more interannual variability of rainfall during the rainy season (December-February). There is a general trend in Brazil of less rainfall in the rainy season (summer), although this trend is stronger in the Southeast and Centre-West regions of the country. On the other hand, the north-eastern part of the Northeast region is expected to experience an increase in precipitation rates for the summer. The North region should also experience less rainfall during autumn, and the north of the region will also have less rainfall in winter. Overall, most of the reduction in rainfall is expected to occur in the north.
 
In assessing the possible climate change scenarios and related impacts on family farming across Brazil’s North and Northeast regions, the main point that emerges is that smallholder farmers will have to adapt to circumstances of increasing climate variability. The challenge is both to understand, with a certain level of confidence, how the main crops of the regions are expected to be affected by climate change, and to provide recommendations on how to increase the resilience of family farming in those regions.
 
One particularly noteworthy conclusion of this study is that family farming in Brazil is responsible for producing most of the food consumed domestically. Thus, it is fundamental that producers increase their resilience to adverse effects of climate change, whether through economic instruments (e.g. food security instruments, innovative financing, labelling, enhancement of social work, adding value to products, among others) or the diffusion of new technologies and programmes (e.g. genetic improvement, biomass-producing plants etc.) in the private and public sectors. To this end, the adoption of policies to address
market failures is fundamental.
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