Climate-smart agriculture :What is it good for?

09Jun 2020
The Guardian
Climate-smart agriculture :What is it good for?

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes to help adapt agricultural methods, livestock and crops to the ongoing human-induced climate change and, where possible, counteract it by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,-

-at the same time taking into account the growing world population to ensure food security. Thus, the emphasis is not simply on sustainable agriculture, but also on increasing agricultural productivity.

CSA is in line with FAO’s vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture and supports FAO’s goal to make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and more sustainable. CSA lists different actions to counter the future challenges for crops and plants. With respect to rising temperatures and heat stress, e.g. CSA recommends the production of heat tolerant crop varieties, mulching, water management, shade house, boundary trees and appropriate housing and spacing for cattle.

A growing global population and changing diets are driving up the demand for food. Production is struggling to keep up as crop yields level off in many parts of the world, ocean health declines, and natural resources—including soils, water and biodiversity—are stretched dangerously thin. The absolute number of undernourished people has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, up from 784 million in 2015.The food security challenge will only become more difficult, as the world will need to produce about 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people.

The challenge is intensified by agriculture’s extreme vulnerability to climate change. Climate change’s negative impacts are already being felt, in the form of reduced yields and more frequent extreme weather events, affecting crops and livestock alike. Substantial investments in adaptation will be required to maintain current yields and to achieve the required production increases

Agriculture is also a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19–29 per cent of total GHG emissions. Without action, that percentage could rise substantially as other sectors reduce their emissions.

Food production in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda has to increase significantly to feed the population that is growing at an average of three per cent in Tanzania and Uganda and 2.5 per cent in Kenya, experts believe.

Adoption of climate smart production, harvesting and processing methodologies is key to improving productivity and efficiencies of the existing food crop production and supply systems. Achieving an increase in food production however requires concerted efforts and joint investments by supply chain actors, service providers and public sector partners, working in the different targeted value chains to support effective adaptation and mitigation strategies.

A five-year multi–country project for Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda is investing two million euros in grants to 14 agri-businesses in the three countries. The investment from the Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (CRAFT) project is specifically targeting companies and farmers working in the sunflower, soybean, sesame, common beans, potato and sorghum value chains in the three countries.

Menno Keizer, the CRAFT project manager for Tanzania, said recently in an interview that co-investment with the private sector is one of the key strategies identified by the project to achieve sustainable results.

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