More than 100 young scientists and agriculturalists will, for the first time, gather in the Western Cape to brainstorm solutions and opportunities to counter the challenges of a warmer and more unpredictable climate.
This, as the Western Cape department of agriculture will be hosting a two-day Climate Change and Agriculture Youth and Young Researchers’ Convention, starting today (Wednesday, 20 July 2022).
With South Africa already experiencing more erratic weather events, the group will share, learn, debate and rethink issues around changing weather patterns, and delegates will represent the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), tertiary education institutions, small and emerging farming enterprises, young professionals from each of the department’s programmes, students from Elsenburg Agricultural College, other provincial and national departments and non-governmental organisations.
A session that promises to spark much interest, is a panel discussion on farmers’ experiences of climate change risks and the impact on crops, livestock, natural resources, disaster risk and the food system.
Another programme highlight is Dr Peter Johnston’s overview of scientific evidence and projections on climate change in the Western Cape. He is from the University of Cape Town’s Climate System Analysis Group.
There will also be a discussion of case studies by young researchers who will help delegates identify gaps and opportunities, moderated by Prof. Guy Midgley from the School for Climate Studies at Stellenbosch University.
Clinical psychologist Max Cullinan will lead a discussion on climate change’s impact on mental health and how agriculturalists can take care of themselves and others.
“The next generation of farmers, scientists, practitioners, communicators and innovators must lead the journey to a secure future of the agricultural and food system under a changing climate,” the department says about hosting the convention.
It kicks off at Elsenburg at 08:30 today and will end with a general question-and-answer session tomorrow afternoon.
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