Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bad Weather Affects More Than Just Pumpkins

The beginning of October signals the start of autumn in the United States- temperatures drop, days get shorter, and pumpkin flavored treats come out in abundance. However, according to crop experts, the expected amount of canned pumpkin could be off by as much as a third this year. Illinois grows about 90 percent of American pumpkins, but in June record rainfall washed away much of the crop.  Farmers predict that should be plenty of whole pumpkins through Halloween, but pumpkin pie lovers shouldn't wait until late November to stock up on the canned goods. 

Unexpected weather anomalies can result in much more dire consequences than a lack of holiday pie.  Bad conditions disrupt crop yields every season, particularly in developing countries where farmers lack the technology to prepare or predict for unusual weather.  In March and April, 70 percent of the wheat, mustard and potato crop in India was lost to strong winds and rainfall during the harvest time. Such heavy losses can ruin farmer's livelihoods, especially in places where the government is unable to cope with the financial burden. Haiti, one of the AFS core countries for the Farmer-to-Farmer program, has a very low level of public and private investment in agricultural infrastructure.  This makes it close to impossible to enact strategies that would help to minimize the risks or consequences of a natural disaster. 

F2F sends experts in climate change, drought management and irrigation every year to help instill infrastructure among communities that can be most affected  by the changing weather.  For more information on volunteers experiences working with local hosts, check out more stories on this blog.  For a list of open opportunities, follow this link.  

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