Plenary Speakers

Pramod Aggarwal

Dr. Pramod Aggarwal

Regional Program Leader, CCAFS, New Delhi

Presentation title:
Adapting to increasing climatic risks in south Asian agriculture: opportunities and constraints


Speaker Bio: Pramod Aggarwal holds a Ph.D. in Life Sciences from the University of Indore, India, and a Ph.D. from Wageningen University, Netherlands. He leads the South Asia Regional Program for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). He was an author for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and a reviewer for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. Previously, he was National Professor at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, and Coordinator of the Indian network on climate change and agriculture. Aggarwal’s research contributions include developing the concept of climate-smart villages (CSVs), crop growth models for the tropical environments, weather derivatives, adaptation strategies, inventories of greenhouse gases emissions, mitigation options, yield gap analysis, and crop yield monitoring systems. CSVs are now being replicated in more than 1500 villages in South Asia. His work on insurance has led to improved products with higher satisfaction of stakeholders and is being used by millions of farmers in India.

Abstract: Agriculture and food security in South Asia have always been affected by climatic risks. IPCC reports and other studies predict increased probability of extreme weather events in the region, leading to greater instability in food production and threatening livelihood security of millions of farmers. Many studies indicate a probability of 10-40% loss in crop production in India and South Asia by 2070-2100 unless steps are taken to increase our adaptive capacity.

Several technological, institutional and policy interventions can help South Asia adapt to climate change and to current and future weather variability. Adaptation strategies include modifying planting dates, bridging yield gaps, deploying adverse climate tolerant genotypes and diversified land use systems, using solar irrigation, assisting farmers by providing value-added advisory services and crop/weather insurance, and improving land and water use policies. Most of the proposed adaptation options, if implemented scientifically, also have mitigation co-benefits.

CCAFS is scaling out the Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs) model in South Asia to promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA). Climate Smart Villages are sites where a portfolio of the most appropriate technological and institutional interventions, determined by the local community, are implemented to increase food production, enhance adaptive capacity and reduce emissions.

A critical analysis of recent data indicates that these strategies have reduced the impact of rainfall deficits and temperature increases on an aggregated scale, although significant problems persist at local/sub-national levels. While most of these interventions have shown increased production, resilience and even mitigation, efforts are needed to increase their coverage. This requires understanding the adaptation domains of CSA practices, their linkages with demand and supply of food grains, and appropriate ‘business models’ to scale them out. Efforts are simultaneously needed to address the complex problems of widespread poverty, poor governance, weak institutions, and human capital to realize the full potential of CSA practices.

Peter Craufurd

Dr. Peter Craufurd

Strategic Research Team Leader and Senior Scientist, CIMMYT, France

Presentation title:
Global challenges and opportunities for adaptation of cereal systems in sub-Saharan Africa


Speaker Bio: Peter Craufurd is the Strategic Research Team Leader for Sustainable Intensification in Africa at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has a more than 20 years’ experience of working in the tropics both in Asia and Africa. A crop physiologist by training, his research interests have covered: crop improvement, especially screening for heat tolerance; climate change, especially modeling heat stress impacts; participatory action research; seed systems; and currently sustainable intensification in maize and wheat-based systems.

Abstract: The IPCC has concluded that the mean annual temperature has increased over Africa and that further increases are very likely. Changes in current rainfall patterns are less clear, but consensus projections indicate that all regions will be wetter, except for southern Africa where a drying trend is anticipated. Increased frequency and severity of extreme climatic events such as severe storms, flooding and droughts are also very likely. Maize, sorghum, millet, wheat and rice are all important cereals in SSA, with maize being the dominant food security crop. Meta-analyses suggest that cereal yields, with the exception of rice, will decline by 5-20% on average by 2050 with regional and mega-environment differences. The risk of hunger is likely to increase significantly in East and Southern Africa where calorie consumption is low. Maize for example, which makes up 70% of the cited IPCC studies, is predicted to show positive to neutral impacts in high and upper mid-altitude mega-environments, as well as negative impacts in dry mid-altitude and lowland environments. Areas suitable for production are also likely to change, with some gains but more losses. Simulation studies also suggest that maize losses will be higher at higher nitrogen rates. In terms of adaptation, both short and longer duration varieties will be needed. For example, in the savannas of West Africa, local photoperiod-sensitive varieties will fare better than improved varieties. In maize and rice, where heat stress at flowering is a major threat, heat tolerant lines have been identified. Drought tolerant lines have also been identified and are being released and transgenes are ready for testing. The fact remains, however, that in SSA adaptation is, and will likely continue to be, affected by policy and institutional options that limit access to technological innovations.

Daniel Calderini

Dr. Daniel Calderini

Professor, Austral University, Chile

Presentation title:
Climate change and cereal cropping systems of South America: The sensitivity and adaptation of cereals in the subcontinent


Speaker Bio: Daniel Calderini is a professor at the Institute of Plant Production and Health at the Austral University of Chile. His areas of study include physiology of crops and cereals. Dr. Calderini's research focused on the impact of breeding on grain yield and associated traits of tempered cereals, environmental constraints to these crops (temperature, nitrogen, aluminium and UV-B) and physiological and molecular determinants of grain weight and grain weight-grain number interaction in cereals and oil crops. He was the head of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (UACh) and is presently the head of the Doctorate Program. He was visiting scientist at CIMMYT, Mexico; CSIRO Plant Industry (Canberra); CNAP, University of York; CSIRO Plant Industry (Western Australia) and University of Lleida, Spain. He received the People’s Republic of China Friendship Award. Dr. Calderini has led national and international projects, published over 60 refereed publications and co-editor of “Crop Physiology. Applications for genetic improvement and Agronomy.” At the present is a member of the editorial board of international journals as Field Crops Research.

Abstract: In South America, cereals such as maize (97.2 M t y-1), rice (24.3 M t y-1), wheat (21.1 M t y-1) and barley (4.3 M t y-1) are key crops for food and feed uses. This subcontinent has huge variability through agroecosystems, from the tropics to cold areas and from very productive to bare soils. This complexity means that the climate change will affect the cereals cropping systems in different ways. Present scenarios estimate the temperature increase between 1 and 4°C for 2050 in South America; however, changes of 4-4.5°C are expected, for example, in maize areas of Brazil. The forecast accuracy of rainfall is affected by the influence of El Niño SO in South America. Remarkably, contrasting rainfall scenarios were predicted for bordering countries like Chile and Argentina since decreasing rainfall is expected for Central-South Chile, while western semiarid Argentina will be beneficiated by higher rainfall. Consequently, cereal systems of Chile started to move southern and the wheat sowing area of semiarid Argentina increased. Several studies highlighted the negative impact of climate change on cereals but positive impacts are also expected, even in summer crops regarding that maize yield would increase 30% or more in some temperate/cool areas.

The main effect of higher temperature on C3 cereals will be the shortening of the crop cycle without impact on either interception efficiency (k) or RUE. On the other hand, higher environmental CO2 concentration could balance the negative impact of temperature (improving WUE under water shortage); however, the trade-off between temperature and CO2 could be over-compensated by temperature in environments of South America. A key for assessing the impact of climate change on cereal cropping systems will be the differential sensitivity of the crop phenophases and the management strategies to mitigate the climate change conditions, e.g., grain setting and grain filling.

Xue Han

Dr. Xue Han

Research Assistant, IEDA, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Presentation title:
New findings for climate change and food security in China


Speaker Bio: Xue Han is working in the climate change lab, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture (IEDA), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). Her research interests focus on soil-plant system responses to elevated CO2 and farming management in Free-air Carbon dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiments, as well as exploring potential adaptation options for agriculture. She was co-author of the 3rd national assessment report on climate change in China. She has participated in several international projects related with climate change, such as Sino-UK, Sino-Australian projects.

Abstract: After the releases of IPCC AR5 and China Second National Assessment Report for Climate Change, some suggestions were proposed based on new findings for food security. Warming was notable since 1980 in China, coinciding with widespread yield stagnation. Warming has been blamed as a driver for past yield stagnation, but the effects of warming largely cancelled out in different latitudes showing a small net effect of warming on China’s food production. Increased pollution was another important player for reducing crop yields over past decades. Adaptation to warming could improve food production, and still had huge potential impacts. A large potential exits for production, if climate-smart agriculture is applied. To answer whether China’s food production can deal with a 2°C warming world, a current assessment suggests a 2°C warming has limited effects (less 5%, even without CO2 effect) on China’s total food production. Current adaptation can utilize this small warming and turns it with more inputs with as there may be more opportunities to increase production but uncertain picture under a 4°C warming. Water could be one big barrier for future food production. More concerns will be focused on international food trade trends.

Jerry Hatfield

Dr. Jerry L. Hatfield

Laboratory Director, USDA-ARS, Ames, Iowa

Presentation title:
Cereal production systems in North America: Challenges for effective adaptation


Speaker Bio: Jerry L. Hatfield is the Laboratory Director of the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and Director of the Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, Iowa. His personal research focuses on quantifying the interactions among the components of the soil-plant-atmosphere system to quantify resilience of cropping systems to climate change. He represents agriculture on the National Climate Assessment, as a member of the IPCC process that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and on an IPCC Special report on the Effects of Climate Extremes. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America and Past-President of the American Society of Agronomy and member of the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union and Soil and Water Conservation Society. He is a co-principal investigator on the Agriculture Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) with other 700 international scientists.

Abstract: Cereal production in North America is located primarily in rain fed climates and show large variation in production among years due to soil water availability. Adaptation to an increasing variability in precipitation during the year requires increasing attention to water management to meet crop water demands. Effective adaptation strategies will have to include quantifying the risk to the potential exposure to extreme temperatures and variable precipitation regimes. Cereal production can be enhanced through linking climate adaptation with improved genetic resources and agronomic management.

Garry O’Leary

Dr. Garry O’Leary

Senior Research Scientist, Department of Environment and Primary Industries

Presentation title:
Adapting cereal cropping systems to a changing climate in Australia


Speaker Bio: Garry O’Leary is a field crop agronomist specializing in simulation modelling. He holds a Ph.D. from The University of Melbourne. Within the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources he leads the Systems Modelling Section at Horsham Victoria working on increasing crop productivity in the High Rainfall Zone of Australia and adapting crops to a changing climate, involving elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, rising temperatures and extreme weather events. He has significant experience working in Australia, Asia and Africa on many crops. Other interests include managing soils to sustain crop productivity.

Abstract: Since the introduction of mechanization crop production in Australia has undergone significant adaptation resulting in increased productivity. This adaptation exceeds what could be attributed to changing climate over the last 100 years. The early analyses of the historical climate in Australia reveal high variability with extended wet and dry periods. Lack of water is the major limitation to productivity. Despite these serious challenges Australian agriculture remains efficient and productive and the idea that cropping systems will need continuing adaptation to climate change, as well as to technology and prices, is not new. According to climate change projections, typical declines without adaptation by 2030 are estimated at around 8% for wheat in the temperate south and over 12% for sugarcane in the sub-tropical and tropical north. Beyond 2030 greater losses around 12% are projected for wheat. FACE experiments and other studies show that such losses might easily be compensated by the greater atmospheric CO2 concentration in some locations, but additional uncertainty is introduced because of lower grain quality and the yet-to-be-established response of crops to higher temperatures. The technical solutions will involve closer monitoring of soil water, water conservation strategies and multiple sowing times using different crops to reduce risks. The management of pests and disease will be an added burden especially in higher rainfall areas. Advancement will be incremental, always with the aim of increasing productivity and/or efficiency. Technical solutions alone are, however, insufficient to affect a sustained adaptation to significantly different environments. Social, economic and regulatory constraints will also determine the course of adaptation and these will require careful consideration and implementation. We argue that crop production can be increased for an increasing world population in the face of climate change but do not underestimate the challenge and the need for wide participation from farmers, society and government.