Sharon Gourdji, postdoctoral scholar at Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Environment, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to assess climate change adaptation strategies for maize-bean smallholder farmers in Central America during the 2012-2013 academic year. This will be a collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia and with a global cross-CGIAR initiative called Climate Change and Food Security.
Maize and bean production provides a livelihood for millions of subsistence-level farmers in Central America. However by 2050, projected climate change threatens the viability of maize-bean production in the region, with some areas becoming completely unsuitable, and others suitable only with sufficient agronomic adaptations. In this proposal, we first assess the impact that climate trends have had on yields and farmer livelihoods in the last 30 years. Next, we look at two adaptation strategies to help farmers cope with future changes: the development and spread of more heat and drought-tolerant varieties, especially for bean, and the uptake of small-scale irrigation to cope with unreliable rainfall and expand production into the dry season.
About the Fullbright NEXUS program:
The Fulbright NEXUS program this year is focused on sustainable development in the Western Hemisphere (http://www.cies.org/NEXUS/). Gourdji is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.