James Kheri - #iamclimatechange
'We used to know what the weather would be like at any time of the year, but now it’s so much more difficult, so much more changeable.'
You need to plant knowing that it will rain in the next 2 or 3 days. If it doesn’t rain when you need it to, you can lose your seed. Before we used to be able to predict that by the time of year, and seeing the signs, but now we can’t. The temperature would rise and we would know the rains were coming.
Now the temperature rises, the winds come, but no rain. There were flowers which would bloom just before the rains. We used lots of signs that have no meaning anymore.
Our parents passed down this knowledge to us about when to plant. They used to come and tell us ‘you need to plant your crops now’.
Weather forecasts are so much more important now because it seems the weather is so unpredictable now. We used to know what the weather would be like at any time of the year, but now it’s so much more difficult, so much more changeable.
Everyone knows that the weather is unpredictable now. There are times when there is a lot of rain in a short amount of time, then long dry spells during the rainy season. It may be that we get the same amount of rain overall, but the way that it falls has changed.
It is climate change that is causing these problems. I think climate change is a major issue for us.
Erratic rains and prolonged dry spells caused by climate change have had a devastating effect on James Kheri’s crop and his ability to grow enough food to eat and support his family. James, as the community lead farmer in Mwanza, Malawi now gets text messages with a weather forecast and shares them with his community (up to 500 families). This year he planted his maize using conservation agriculture, and he planted when the forecast said it would rain. He had a bumper harvest with 40 (50kg) bags of maize!