Unpredictable climate hitting Bahrain farmers hard!
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Report by Julia Cassano
As the climate changes, it sparks unpredictable weather patterns, which has caused a detrimental impact on the ways farmers grow and produce crops.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already warned that the effects of climate change on agriculture will depend on the rate and severity of the change and the degree to which farmers can adapt.
In Bahrain, there are farmers who have already felt the change and are struggling to adapt, as it has impacted their productivity.
Andrea Pucciarelli, manager of Roots and Shoots Organic Farm, told The Daily Tribune that she sees many challenges in this regard.
“Unpredictable weather is causing severe challenges to farmers, who have to plan which crops to grow.
Crops that should have been ready at a given point are now not growing well or dying.”
Roots and Shoots Organic farm has been supplying tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers, salads, onions, etc. to the market here for the past four years.
However, climate changes, Pucciarelli points out, directly impacts which crops farmers should grow and when they would be ready.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that changes in temperature and rainfall are leading to longer growing seasons all over the globe.
Pucciarelli herself is a victim. She had planned to grow specific seasonal crops, which should have been ready by November when the climate starts to cool.
Instead, they are now going that in January, which is not normal.
“The changing weather has affected all aspects of agriculture and is extremely-frustrating.
"We now should wipe away everything learned, as it is no longer feasible.”
The farm, Pucciarelli said, follows a guardianship style which allows planting various crops to test and determine which ones are successful.
“Luckily, we have the security of steady clients; however, I can understand the issues of other farmers who plant specific crops to make a living.
If the crops fail, they will lose a lot of money, and current circumstances have resulted in a lot of daily guesswork.”
Unexpected weather, Pucciarelli adds, damages crops and income “Unexpectedly, it rained in July last year when the sun was red hot.
“The water on the leaves acted as a magnifying glass and burned many of our crops.”
She added: “Each season offers new challenges for farmers, but the unpredictability now presents unique problems to endure daily.
The threats posed by pests are one such challenge. Nevertheless, farmers are aware of which one arrives frequently. Unfortunately, they are experiencing a rise, unlike earlier.
Normally, winter is cold
Andrea said: “Normally, winter in Bahrain is cold enough that flies and pests would die or slow down, which can be detrimental as crops contain fewer pollinators, but it can also cause other issues.
“For instance, we have noticed many crops affected by aphids.
The weather must be cold enough for the aphids to die; however, the low temperatures needed for this have just arrived.”
Pucciarelli explained that farmers will now use more pesticides which will affect the quality of foods, and bugs will get more resistant.
“It is an ongoing cycle that farmers are trying to adapt. We are now hard-pressed to find new methods and live with a guessing game to remain successful with our crops and produce.”