Climate analogues for Rwanda and Uganda – building capacity to exploit the multilateral system

Report by Gloria Otieno, Bioversity-Uganda.

The Climate Analogues Tool, developed by CIAT and CCAFS (CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) identifies areas where current climate corresponds to predicted future climate at a chosen reference site of interest. The use of the tool within Bioversity International’s GRPI2 project should allow partners to identify germplasm from the analogues sites, which could perform well under the future climatic conditions of their reference sites. Germplasm from the identified analogue sites, in or out of the country, can be accessed through the multilateral system created by the International Treaty, by consulting databases such as Genesys. Teams from Rwanda and Uganda took part in a training workshop, from 21-23 November 2012, in Kigali, Rwanda, to learn hands-on about the tool.

Reference sites and crops of interest were identified based on the relative importance of these crops for the economy and for food security. The crops chosen were beans and bananas for Uganda and maize, rice and beans for Rwanda. Rubaya, Rwanda, which is a common reference site for beans was selected for both countries. Additional sites for Rwanda included Bugesera for rice and maize; and Kirehe for maize. For Uganda, additional sites included Nakaseke for bananas and beans; and Kabwohe for beans.

Preliminary results indicate that future climate in 2030 in most of the sites for beans, bananas and maize would be lower precipitation and higher temperatures. This implies that stresses related to temperature and drought will be more common. Analogue sites are spread across Africa, Asia and the Americas (see maps below). Surprisingly, preliminary results for rice in Bugesera indicate that precipitation doesn’t change in both present and forward analysis. However, by the year 2030, a 2.1 degree celsius rise in temperature and resultant shorter periods for rice to grow to maturity may lead to temperature stresses. Analogue sites were found in the Americas, Australia and some parts of Asia. A further search through the Genesys data portal for germplasm samples and their holding institutions revealed that the best suited types of germplasm come from around Australia and are crop wild relatives.

Community seedbank, Kabwohe. Credit: G. Otieno/Bioversity International.

Community seedbank, Kabwohe. Credit: G. Otieno/Bioversity International.

The teams consisted of 8 participants from Uganda, mainly from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and 12 from Rwanda, mainly from the Rwandan Agricultural Board (RAB).  They visited the Kabwohe site in Uganda and Rubaya site in Rwanda. Varieties of beans are stored using traditional methods in the community genebank in Kabwohe, which is managed by the farmers (see photo).

Field multiplication of bean varieties, Rubaya.

Field multiplication of bean varieties, Rubaya. Credit: G. Otieno/Bioversity International.

At Rubaya, seed multiplication of various bean species is being done through farmer-led field trials in the hope that these will be characterized and stored in the community genebank and produce store which is under construction (see photo).

See below analogue maps for bananas, beans, rice and maize, created during the “GRPI2 Climate Analogues Training Workshop”, Kigali, Rwanda, 21-23 November 2012.

Kirehe, Rwanda, using maize growing season of September to December and a forward analysis.

Kirehe, Rwanda, using maize growing season of September to December and a forward analysis.

Bugesera Rwanda where rice is the predominant crop grown through irrigation – analysis based on a forward (future ) outlook

Bugesera Rwanda where rice is the predominant crop grown through irrigation – analysis based on a forward (future ) outlook

Analogue map for Rubaya, Rwanda. Beans with one growing season (March - July) and a forward analysis

Rubaya, Rwanda – beans with one growing season (March – July) and a forward analysis

Analogue map for kabwohe, Uganda - bananas based on all year round seasons.

Kabwohe, Uganda – bananas based on all year round seasons.

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