New Agriculturist Highlights Climate-Smart Agriculture

Amid expectations that negotiators will highlight agriculture in Durban, the word “climate-smart agriculture” has become a buzzword, complete with its own acronym. But, what, exactly, does CSA mean?  The New Agriculturist gets to the bottom of the buzzword in a new online feature. They ask leading experts, including members of the Agricultural and Rural Development Day 2011 team, to specify the dimensions–and importance–of CSA. Read the article online here to understand why Ag Day 2011 is devoted to this crucial topic.  Read the highlights below.

What is climate-smart agriculture?

By promoting agricultural best practices, particularly Integrated Crop Management, conservation agriculture, intercropping, improved seeds and fertilizer management practices, as well as supporting increased investment in agricultural research, CSA encourages the use of all available and applicable climate change solutions in a pragmatic and impact-focused manner. Resilience will be key, but ‘climate smart’ is broader and underscores the need for innovation and proactive changes in the way farming is done to not only adapt but also mitigate and increase productivity sustainably. – Farming First coalition

What is new about CSA?

Given the challenges faced by agriculture in terms of global warming and the likely increased severity and frequency of extremes, agriculture has to adapt. In many cases incremental adaptation will be insufficient, and transformational adaptation will be needed. It will include much more attention to issues that have not been so high on the development agenda in the past: weather advisories; seasonal forecasting; climate-based insurance products; and carbon markets. – Bruce Campbell

How is CSA in favor of farmers?

Climate Smart Agriculture will only be attractive to farmers if its adoption is incentivised either in terms of high-level financial incentives or in terms of significant gains in productivity. CSA practices will not be adopted without these gains or incentives being spread throughout the community of smallholder farmers and for that there is a need for an enabling environment, encompassing everything from strong governance, better infrastructure and access to markets and better access to inputs including finance, seeds and systems of extension – Prof Gordon Conway, Agriculture for Impact

Who pays for CSA?

Ultimately climate smart pays for itself. The benefits in terms of food security and sustainability are far greater than the cost of supporting farmers, or the costs of inaction, in terms of human, social and environmental as well as financial costs. – Farming First coalition