Climate-Smart Solutions

In order to feed a rapidly growing population, global food production will need to increase by at least 60% by 2050. Undermining efforts to achieve that goal are shifting weather patterns, including rising temperatures, unpredictable precipitation, more severe and frequent extreme weather events and the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity. To what extent can climate-smart agriculture offset these negative effects on prospects for food security?

There is substantial evidence to show that climate change is already affecting agricultural production systems, especially in developing countries where rainfed agriculture dominates, and poverty, hunger and malnutrition are most acute. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is increasingly gaining ground as a valuable tool in tempering the negative effects of weather-based changes on agricultural output.

But what exactly is CSA? And what makes it different from other sustainable agriculture interventions? A capitalisation workshop, Catalysing actionable knowledge to implement climate-smart solutions for next-generation ACP agriculture, organised by CTA and held in Wageningen,

The Netherlands from January 22-25, seeks to draw out best practices in an effort to shape future interventions and increase their impact. FAO, which coined the phrase climate-smart agriculture in 2010, defines it as an approach for developing actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security under climate change. Specifically, CSA aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes; adapt and build resilience to climate change; and reduce and/or remove greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

This latter point reflects agriculture’s role as one of the worst offenders when it comes to generating the global greenhouse gas emissions deemed responsible for much climate change. According to FAO estimates, in 2010 emissions from the agriculture, forestry and other land use sectors directly accounted for 22% of all total global emissions.