Hundreds of farmers in Libya have been rendered vulnerable to climate variability due to the ongoing conflicts, according to a statement released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The decade-old conflict in Libya has impacted mitigation efforts to climate change and is likely to increase the impacts on agricultural production and therefore livelihoods, food and economic security of thousands.
"The area was badly harmed during the years of displacement from 2011 to 2017. When I returned from displacement, all the trees were dead and dry, except for some olive trees, only about 10% of them survived. All the other trees, including the almonds and even the scrubs, were gone, there is nothing left of them. I started planting trees all over again," said Ali Ebrahim Al-Taleb, a farmer in Awinyia.
Ali further added, "agriculture was a major source of income for many people here. The wheat and barley crops, in addition to fruits and almonds, were a major source of income for farmers here. But the drought wiped this source of livelihood, and desertification had a great impact on people's income."
The change in climate is already visible in the North African country as it now experiences increased and more severe sand and dust storms, droughts and increased temperatures.
"Climate change requires great preparation from everyone. Emphasis must be placed on raising people's awareness of how dangerous this issue is on the globe, especially in our country. Serious steps must be taken to stop the encroachments on agricultural lands and try to increase investment in arable lands. All our resources in this regard must be invested, and farmers' awareness of the importance of increasing production in a sustainable manner must be increased", said Dr. Jalal Al-Qadi, the head of Laboratory in Misrata Agriculture Research Centre.
Libya witnessed a significant decrease in rainfall between October 2020 and October 2021. The few rainy days over that period only resulted in water ponds that quickly evaporate without penetrating the soil.