On the eve of the UN climate summit of the United Nations in New York next week, the idea of climate-smart agriculture is gaining momentum. And for good reason. The Africa Report State Agriculture (REAA) 2014, published in early September, pointing to an increased risk of failed stations among farmers caused by warmer weather.
It notes, however, the situation is not all doom and fatality, and there are opportunities for innovation through the adoption of appropriate climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices and policies that can help small farmers to maintain and improve their livelihoods.
Based on the experience of a number of professionals, including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research, the report highlights areas where investments in African agriculture have the potential to be more productive . This will help African agricultural policy makers and stakeholders select appropriate and CSA policies for homes with food safety practices.
CSA is conceived as a set of technologies and practices that can increase the productivity and incomes, improve adaptation and building resilience to climate change, and if possible reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. CCAFS with partners and farmers are already testing some of these technologies and practices in various climate-smart people (CSV). Located in regions considered climate change “hotspots” in East Africa, West Africa and South Asia, CSV learning sites where CSA technologies are evaluated to determine their suitability and locally applied by farmers with the help of researchers, policy makers and other partners.
Under the REAA 2014, some of the most important climate-smart investments include: new crop varieties that are tolerant to drought and pests and diseases are emerging and existing resist. In East Africa, CCAFS is working with other CGIAR centers to ensure that farmers adopt these new varieties.
Improved water management is the second climate smart investment recommended in the AASR; Over 90% of African agriculture is rain fed. Water management at the local level, such as dams, micro basins and small-scale irrigation service key to adaptation as the water supply decreases and becomes more erratic rainfall opportunities.
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Under the land management, the focus is on agricultural practices that improve soil fertility, including the ability to retain and use water. These practices include agroforestry, where rows of fertilizer trees are grown with alleys of maize, sorghum and other crops to stabilize and enrich the soil.
Services Climate information is identified as a useful initiative that is rapidly gaining momentum in sub-Saharan Africa. The goal is to get the weather information to farmers in a format that is understandable and useful to them in making appropriate decisions at the farm level. In combination with other climate smart interventions such as rainwater harvesting, agroforestry and livelihood diversification, climate information services can help farmers cope with the negative impacts of variability and change climate, and take advantage of good conditions to invest with confidence in their fields. In Senegal, agricultural extension is cooperating with national meteorological services, farmer organizations and NGOs to support farmers with climate information services. Partnerships with community radio stations have expanded the scope of weather and climate nearly 2 million users predictions.
It also considers the role of gender in the adoption of climate smart agricultural practices by farmers. Women’s rights to property vary within and between countries in Africa south of the Sahara. Systems of land tenure and the availability of funds to invest in better technologies are gendered constraints that women face in the adoption of conservation and climate-smart agriculture. Because of their different social roles, men and women both experience and respond to extreme weather and climate change in different ways, including through access to development programs. In one example, women and men in Kaffrine, Senegal were found to access weather information via different channels, due to differences in their working papers and participation in social networks.
Through understanding how climate change will affect men and women differently, programs and policies to promote adaptation to climate variability and change can be designed to ensure that impacts are addressed equitably gender.