You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

Adaptive Farms, Resilient Tables

Strengthening climate resilience and enhancing food security across six countries

Story by Climate Adaptation UNDP November 4th, 2016

As the world gets hotter and rainfall more erratic, the type and availability of ingredients for daily meals are changing. For some countries these changes are more dramatic as climate change has already cut into the global food supply and many communities are struggling to get enough food on their plates. However, there is another story to tell: one of resilience and adaptation.

Whether farming millet in the deserts of Mali, rearing cattle in the semi-arid regions of Sudan or growing mangoes on the coast of Haiti, the environments we inhabit, along with our cultural history, shape the meals we eat. With climate change increasingly affecting these environments, cultural practices and types of food will need to adapt to keep pace.

In Niger, the CCAF project helped groups of women secure collective plots of land to grow vegetables.
In Cinzana, Mali, cooperative vegetable gardens were established with access to water, tools & land, to diversify their food and livelihoods
In Niger, new and improved varieties of millet and other crops have been introduced – like these cowpeas cultivated by a women's collective.
Le Plan de Ferme supported farmers to develop individualised farming plans, in order to adapt their farming plots to grow more diverse food.
Ingredients for Sòs pwa Wouj (red peas soup) from Haiti.

Our Culinary World in a Changing Climate

With support from the Government of Canada and the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund, the Canada-UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Facility (CCAF) has been supporting six least developed countries and small island developing states (Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Haiti, Mali, Niger and Sudan) to strengthen climate resilience and enhance food security. The CCAF is working with rural farmers to improve water access and management, introduce new varieties of crops, and strengthen alternative livelihoods that are not dependent on climate-sensitive natural resources.

Facilitating access to land for cultivation, and improving the agricultural inputs for women farmers is not only enhancing food security, but is also promoting gender equality and improved nutrition – through an increased diversity in vegetable gardens.

In Cambodia, project activities have improved water access - including water for staple crops, like rice, and small-scale vegetable gardens.
In Haiti, wood and fruit tree species were introduced in seedling nurseries - combatting deforestation & ultimately increasing food supply.
Ingredients for a traditional recipe from Niger, Sauce noire (or bi faith bakanmia).


While each country’s experiences and adaptation approaches are unique to their local context, All the CCAF projects had a similar focus on not only enhancing food security, but also in generating additional income and diversifying livelihood options. Positive results are already being seen across all six countries.

In Niger, increased yields from crop production are reducing the number of food-insecure days, and ameliorating the need to earn additional income to purchase food. In Cambodia and Mali, women are enhancing their vegetable gardens to produce a wider variety of crops for families to eat, which helps strengthen nutrition.

From Mali, the ingredients required to make Fakoye, a typical meal for the Northern regions.
In Cambodia, thanks to improved water access, individual gardening plots serve to enhance nutrition & increase income.
In Niger, project activities included establishing village seed banks.
Produce harvested from a shared vegetable garden by a women's collective in Niger.
Sharing a communal meal in Sudan.

In Cabo Verde and Sudan, farmers are piloting new varieties of crops that are more resilient to the expected drier conditions. In Haiti, farmers are developing and implementing individualised farming plans based on specific family needs, vulnerabilities, and opportunities, to achieve both subsistence food production and income generation.

Sweet potatoes are part of the high-nutrition crops that have been distributed to the farmers in the project’s targeted communities.
“A well-fed household is a household with tranquility,” a woman from Santa Cruz Municipality in Cabo Verde.
A traditional meal from Mali, Tô with tomato sauce. Tô made from water & flour thanks to improved varieties of sorghum, millet or maize.
The ingredients for a typical accompaniment to a meal in Sudan - Aseeda. Made from sorghum flour, Aseeda can be served with variety of sauce

Food as a celebration

To better understand and share the experiences from these six countries, and to celebrate some of the successes of the CCAF projects, a cookbook, using traditional recipes, has been created to examine and raise awareness on the links between food security and climate change.

The “Appe-teaser“ version of the cookbook, a taste of the final product, offers a recipe from each country: Adaptive Farms, Resilient Tables: Building secure food systems and celebrating distinct culinary traditions in a world of climate uncertainty - Appe-teaser version.

The full cookbook was launched 3 April 2017, showcasing more delicious recipes, presenting information on how climate change is impacting specific ingredients - and subsequently recipes - and how each country‘s adaptation efforts are changing the foods and cooking methods traditionally used.

The cookbook is available here.

For more information on the CCAF, visit

Crabs at a local market in Cambodia.
Custard apples
Spring onions, chillis, and tomatoes.
Bitter gourd
Women of Elbaida village attending a public village meeting, North Kordofan State, Sudan.
Footnote: Story by Andrea Egan / Photos by Andrea Egan, UNDP Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Haiti, Mali, Niger and Sudan, Tom Twining-Ward and Dara Rat Moni Ung / Graphics by Ipsita Sarkar.
Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Haiti, Mali, Niger and Sudan