Smallholder Farmers can Address Climate Change Through Triple-Win Strategies

Farmer workshop in climate information, Kaffrine, Senegal. Governments are being called on to build capacity at all levels. Photo: P. Casier (CCAFS)

This article, published on the New Agriculturist, is one in a series of case studies published in the lead-up to Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011. Read it here or below.

By expanding underexploited agricultural strategies, smallscale farmers can mitigate climate change, increase their resilience to climate change impacts and boost their profits from agricultural production, new research has revealed. Using crop and livestock model simulations and household survey data across Kenya’s diverse climate zones, researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI) and the University of Georgia identified a number of these ‘triple-win’ strategies.

“We discovered that there is a set of highly beneficial practices that farmers could use to build their resilience against climate change and bolster their livelihoods,” says IFPRI senior researcher Claudia Ringler. The combined application of inorganic fertiliser, mulch, and manure – which simultaneously enhances crop yields, increases soil carbon stocks, and boosts profits – was identified as one of the most effective triple-win strategies. The use of higher quality feeds for livestock, which boosts profits and decreases methane emissions, was another important strategy.

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Climate Conversations – Swazi Farmer Brings ‘Happy’ Ending to Food Security Woes

Happy Lungile Shongwe drives her tractor in Swaziland's Lubombo district. Photo: FANRPAN

This blog post by Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, the chief cxecutive of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).appeared on the Reuter’s Alternet blog Climate Conversations. Reuters Alertnert is a Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011 media partner. Read the article here or below.

Climate change is a reality in Africa and it is felt by the most vulnerable people. For Happy Lungile Shongwe, a mother of two from Maphumulo in the Lubombo district of Swaziland, however, the story has a happy ending, unlike for most who are battling to cope with climate shocks.

Shongwe is a smallholder farmer who produces seeds. When Swaziland was hard hit by drought in 2002, Shongwe was amongst the smallholder farmers who felt the shock as their fields were destroyed. Food reserves ran dry and she was among the people who were left destitute.

But the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations came to the rescue of these communities, not only by providing food vouchers but also arming them with information on how best they can respond to the drought.

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Food Security Links Us All

The challenges and opportunities facing our farms, food and health are global – no longer delineated between “developed” and “developing” countries. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)


Australia, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, France, UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil – what do these countries have in common?

Quite a lot, according to their 13 Commissioners who today release the summary report Achieving food security in the face of climate change.  The Commissioners, all high-level scientists who are well linked to policy processes, have spent the past nine months reviewing the evidence on what actions have the best chance of creating the agriculture and food supplies we need in the coming years of rapidly changing climates, demographics and dietary preferences.

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The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy

The Farming First coalition has launched an animated video called “The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy”, which highlights how agriculture can help build a global green economy, including increased food production, more efficient water use, improved livelihoods and increased resources to benefit women and smallholder farmers.

A transition to a green economy is fundamental for addressing sustainable development. With a predicted 9 billion people by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by 70 per cent to meet new demands for food, feed, fuel and fibre. Agriculture can play a key role in helping to achieve the triple goals of a secure food supply, poverty reduction through improved rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability through reduced carbon footprint of production and climate change adaptation.

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Water, Food Security and Climate Change: Not Putting all your Eggs into one Basket

Blog post by: Michael Victor, CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food, Communication Coordinator.

Photo: Tuppy Mcintosh

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to some Lao colleagues about the CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food’s Learning Event on Rainwater management at ARDD and the concept of climate smart agriculture. While the term is difficult to translate, the definition is quite simple. Essentially, it means tackling climate-change while producing more food for a growing population. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Boosting Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in Africa

Conference participants mingle in the Africa Hall at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Photo: Ifprilib.

For more information about this conference, read this Reuters Altertnet article, which focuses on the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity in Africa. This article was originally posted on the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) website. 

High-level policymakers, leading academics, and representatives from farmer and trader organizations and the private sector are in Addis Ababa this week to identify investment priorities and policy options that can help increase agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, thereby reducing rural poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in the region.

The November 1–3 conference “Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Enhancing Food Security in Africa: New Challenges and Opportunities,” is co-organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Speakers and participants will showcase opportunities to improve agricultural productivity and explore how they can be effectively implemented through the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. Continue reading