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FAO-RLC Offers Chile Drought Recommendations

FAO12 March 2012: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (FAO-RLC) offered a set of recommendations to Chile on how to address drought and other extreme weather events that are predicted to increase as a result of climate change.

The recommendations were presented to Chile's Agriculture Ministry in a publication titled "Drought Risk Management," along with a set of instruments and tools to support the Ministry in its development and implementation of an Agro-climatic Risk Management System.

Among the preventive and adaptation measures, FAO recommends: training of farmers in crop and irrigation techniques for drought periods; deepening wells; investing in efficient irrigation and water storage systems; harvesting rainwater; and adopting greywater capture, treatment and recycling systems. FAO also suggests crop diversification to those crops that demand less irrigation during periods of water scarcity.

According to FAO, Chile's national climate change projections for 2040 and through the end of the 21st century suggest intensification of the dryness of the Northern region, desert encroachment in the South and water supply reduction in central Chile. In addition, the projected temperature rise and impact on rainfall and water supplies, in addition to fast-shrinking glaciers, also suggest increasing drought risk for the country.

To respond to this challenge, the Chilean Government, with FAO assistance, is creating a risk management system that identifies main threats and vulnerabilities and the key actors to manage risks, and seeks to establish and coordinate regional networks for agro-climatic risks and agricultural emergencies. [FAO Press Release (in Spanish)] [publication: Management of Drought Risk (in Spanish)]