Climate Smart Agriculture Can be Pretty Smart

By Brent Swallow, University of Alberta. This post is a follow up to his post How smart is climate-smart agriculture?. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

Agriculture and Rural Development Day was a resounding success, with over 500 people participants and an excellent set of plenary presentations, small group “learning events,” and a fun engagement with the South African Minister of Agriculture. For me the highlights were threefold: Continue reading

How Smart is Climate Smart Agriculture?

By Brent Swallow, University of Alberta. Also read his follow up post Climate Smart Agriculture can be pretty smart. This post has also been published on CCAFS blog.

In 2010 a cluster of United Nations and pan-African organizations released a little book entitled Climate Smart Agriculture (PDF).

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) “seeks to increase sustainable productivity, strengthen farmers’ resilience, reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.” The little book and the concept are getting a lot of attention here at COP17. Continue reading

How to Build the Resilience of African Smallholder Farmers in a Changing Climate

Reposted from Farming First blog. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

African smallholder farmers are in the eye of the climate change storm. Increased flooding and droughts have seen crop yields diminish as many farmers struggle to support their own livelihoods. With over 70 percent of the continent’s populations dependent on agriculture, this is a problem which cannot be ignored. While Africa contributes less than 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it stands on the frontline of the economic and social consequences of climate change. Continue reading

Making Climate Smart Agriculture Happen

Originally posted on the FAO Climate blog. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

FAO led a learning event looking at what tools and policies are required to bring food security, adaptation and mitigation together at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day taking place in Durban, South Africa on the sidelines of UN climate change talks COP17 .

The impact of best practices were shared among some 60 participants attending the session looking at several examples: Continue reading

With 1 Billion Hungry, Climate Leaders Must Not Fail

by Rachel Kyte, World Bank. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

Over 500 farmers representatives, scientists and development practitioners were out in force today at the third Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) in Durban. They are determined to put agriculture on the COP 17 agenda.

Their arguments are clear:

Any serious effort to reduce green house gasses must include agriculture. And COP 17 is the chance for Africa to shape the agenda and establish an agriculture work program that is informed by science and covers adaptation and mitigation. And even for some `No agriculture, No deal’.

And today these voices are being heard. Continue reading

Climate Smart Agriculture is the Term to Remember

by David Lansley and Kristin Donaldson, World Vision Australia

Spent Saturday at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day (that’s OK – I don’t mind giving up my  Saturday for a good cause). The line-up of speakers was impressive, including Sir John Beddington, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.

The point was made very clearly from lots of different directions that agriculture has a big role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and poverty reduction. Growth in the agriculture sector is estimated to be three times more effective in raising incomes than growth in any other sector.

The term to remember for agriculture is climate smart agriculture. (Please don’t call it CSA – if acronyms were greenhouse gases, the world would already be at 60 degrees and rising fast.) Continue reading

Adapt or Die, Say Small Farmers

by Caitlin Corner-Dolloff, Oxford ECI. This post has also been published on the CCAFS blog.

Adapt or die is a resonating reality that is coming out of Agriculture and Rural Development Day and many of the COP17 side events. Farmers, especially subsistence farmers in Africa, have already started adapting. A coordinated effort on adaptation initiatives is needed. The challenge then is figuring out what information is needed to make adaptation decisions. This inevitably provokes the questions of whose knowledge in included and whose perspectives are predominant.

A number of organizations, including AFPAT, CTA, and IPACC, are voicing the imperative need to combine Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with atmospheric science, especially in the case of pastoralists facing climate change. Mosses Ndiyaine, a Maasai pastoralist from Tanzania, spoke about how his community utilizes knowledge about their local environment to predict when the rain will come. He pointed out the use of changes in visible star patterns, behavioral cues from goats, and monitoring the flowering patterns of specific local trees as indicators of coming rains. For pastoralists this means when they decided to move. Continue reading

Building Momentum for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Support farmers' efforts to adapt to climate change. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)

by Nathan Russell, CIAT

Before the closing session of Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Durban, South Africa, a high-Level Panel of experts charted the way forward with climate-smart agriculture. Summarized below are their main conclusions from a discussion facilitated by Laurie Goering, editor of the Thomas Reuters Foundation’s AlertNet Climate, which acted as media sponsor for the day.

Mamadou Goita, Executive Secretary, West African Network of Farmers’ Organizations (ROPPA, its acronym in French): Start where farmers are today. Support their efforts to adapt to climate change through research that genuinely responds to their needs, while rapidly scaling up the best practices. Continue reading

Food Security: A Climate Justice Approach

Speech by Dr. Mary Robinson, President, The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice

Thank you for inviting me to speak here today – over lunch I had the opportunity to hear about the discussions you had in the working sessions this morning and I look forward to learning more from you all this afternoon.

COP17 is a vital test of the international community’s willingness to tackle the issues that result from the impact of climate change, including the most fundamental issue of food security. We are having these discussions on the continent of Africa – where hunger and under nutrition are ever present threats. The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 925 million people in the world go hungry every day. And every year 3.5 million children die from under nutrition, while 11% of the total disease burden is attributable to maternal and child under nutrition. Continue reading

Who knows what about climate change?

Bringing rural farmers and herders to bring them into the scientific fold. Photo: ILRI/ Dave Elsworth

by Jeremy Cherfas, Bioversity International

Climate science is of great value to pastoralists; they can use it to avoid and manage risks. And long before there were climate scientists, pastoralists were making use of what they knew to decide when to move and to where. What can scientists learn from traditional knowledge? And how might pastoralists benefit from climate science?

“Often our traditional knowledge is ignored,” Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim told the audience at a Learning Event on the integration of traditional knowledge with atmospheric science during Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2011. Continue reading