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May 2021 2nd edition

Climate change e-booklets to support farmers

Written by Allison Cooper

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has produced e-booklets on climate change, called The Mercury Rises, to assist farmers and the agricultural sector.

Launched by Western Cape MEC of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, the e-booklets are based on the RSG radio series The Mercury Rises (Die Kwik Styg), which was broadcast from 2018 to 2020.

The radio initiative resulted from the department’s SmartAgri plan and aimed to raise awareness of climate change among listeners.

Launched in 2016, the SmartAgri plan presents a road map for the agricultural sector to travel towards a more productive and sustainable future, despite climate change uncertainties.

The series, produced and funded by the department, spoke to people across the sector and provided expert advice on measures to make South Africa’s agricultural sector more climate resilient.

Due to its popularity and important content, the radio series is being aired again, with programmes in English, Afrikaans and IsiXhosa and e-booklets in these languages.

Special technology will enable the reader to listen to the original radio programme while reading the e-booklet.

“The publication of the e-booklets provides another platform to advance a climate-resilient future for the sector,” says MEC Meyer.

He added that the booklets will support farmers with science-based information on climate change and offer practical solutions at farm and household levels.

Dr Ilse Trautmann, the department’s Chief Director of Research and Technology Development Services said it is important to ensure that the agricultural sector becomes a low-carbon, climate change-resilient sector, by advocating climate-smart production practices.

Chief Executive Officer of Agri Western Cape Jannie Strydom said the ongoing drought in many areas of the province, highlighted the impact of climate change.

“The e-booklet is a user-friendly and effective guide to understanding why and how climate change needs to be managed,” he said. To download the e-booklets, go to www.elsenburg.com.