Conclusions

Apart from the farm size or prevailing production systems, the optimization of farm technology and management plays an important role in reducing the negative impacts of climate variability and extreme weather events on crop and animal production. tte relevant measures strongly influence the availability of the most important resources for agricultural production, namely water, soil (and nutrients), crops and microclimatic conditions. In low-, medium- and high-input levels various technologies are available ranging from traditional or indigenous methods to high-tech methods such as precision farming. Many authors have reported that high-input farming, especially in temperate regions, has the best prospect for adaptation to current or changing climate variability or for protection against extreme weather events. In these farming systems, usually located in developed countries with good infrastructures, technological developments and the availability of technologies in crop and animal production provide a rich toolkit enabling decisionmakers to select measures from several options. Moreover, many agrometeorologi-cal forecasting, warning and monitoring services for farmers already exist.

Because of climate change and variability, however, beside low-cost options (e.g. change in planting date), long-term changes in agricultural production strategies (e.g. changes in perennial crops such as orchards or in irrigation technologies) could necessitate high investments and significantly increase the risk of production during transition periods.

Many low-input farming systems farmers depend on traditional methods or - in many cases not yet available - external inputs such as institutional forecasting and warning methods or investment in irrigation infrastructure. Both the re-establishment of locally adapted traditional (indigenous) farming technologies and warning/forecasting methods together with institutional support may help farmers in low-input agricultural systems to sustain or improve their productivity, food production and income. New low-cost technologies as used for irrigation scheduling may also be introduced in low-input farming systems once the basic infrastructure has been established and farmers have been trained to improve the often recommended demand-driven approach.

tte optimization of farm technologies is often prompted by different aims such as maximizing food production or short-term profit, ttere is an urgent need, however, for such aims to be directed to permit sustainable food production at the local level, which depends on stable agroecosystems. Both the re-establishment of locally adapted traditional (indigenous) farming technologies and warning/forecasting methods together with institutional support may help farmers in low-input agricultural systems to sustain or improve their productivity, food production and income.

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