Mio Kitayama, MESc

2013 TRI Fellow in Brazil

Investigating Irrigation as an Equitable Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Brazilian Farmers

This summer, I was on the road in search of possibilities for climate change adaptation in Brazil. I visited peach producers in São Paulo and grain and cattle producers in Mato Grosso and District Federal, to learn about the factors that influence their production decisions. Fascinatingly, all the producers I had the pleasure to meet were forward-looking entrepreneurs, who sensitively reacted to the market as well as to technological and climate challenges by actively seeking alternative options. In Mato Grosso do Sul state, one promising improvement to grain production systems is the use of inter-cropping and integrative management practices. These practices will be effective in enhancing resistance to extreme weather within the system by improving the soil’s moisture retention and reducing its rate of degradation. These methodologies were proposed and tested by Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), the governmental institution that leads Brazil’s agricultural innovations. EMBRAPA provides a platform for technical advances and cross-regional knowledge transfer, which are great reasons to be optimistic about the Brazilian agriculture sector’s adaptability to future shifts in climate. Conversation with the producers also revealed that rigidity of physical infrastructure, regulations and supply chain organizations are likely to be the bottleneck to production shifts. By developing models, I hope to highlight the necessary changes to these factors according to future agricultural land use scenarios.