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Climate Smart Agriculture, combating climate change across Africa

The World Bank is doing more to foster the adoption of CSA around Africa through the Africa Climate Business Plan

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 20-03-2018 09:24 IST | Created: 20-03-2018 09:18 IST
Climate Smart Agriculture, combating climate change across Africa
Smart agriculture in Africa (representative image)

The impact of global climate change is particularly felt in agriculture, as rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and increased pests and diseases pose new and bigger risks to the global food system.

However, at the UN climate talks, the concept of 'Climate-Smart Agriculture'(CSA), an approach for transforming and reorienting agricultural systems to support food security under the new realities of climate change was introduced and proposed to include agriculture in the 'Paris Agreement'.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines CSA as "agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs (mitigation) where possible, and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals."

The World Bank recently released a booklet showcasing 10 success stories across Africa. The stories indicate how countries have combated drought (Morocco), raised productivity through climate-smart irrigation (Tanzania), and improved coffee farming through public-private partnership (Uganda).

Success Stories across Africa:

  • The establishment of climate-smart villages provided more food and better nutrition options to families in Nyando, West Kenya—81 percent of whom routinely experience one to two hunger months every year. In Nyando, Kenya, CCAFS has been working since 2011 to test a variety of climate-smart practices and technologies to help farmers improve their food security and resilience, while mitigating the effects of climate change. Farmers are now using faster maturing Gala goats, red Maasai sheep and chickens, along with improved cassava varieties that resist a deadly virus. They also are growing high-value crops like tomatoes, onions and watermelons.

Results from the Nyando Climate smart villages (CSVs) show that climate-smart practices and technologies help farmers better respond to climate variability; for example, a shift in farming techniques reduces the number of households eating one or no meals each day, and new livestock breeds provide additional income to farmers.

  • The use of shade trees in Uganda is helping farmers boost their coffee crops—shade trees can reduce the temperature in coffee growing areas by 2°C–5°C and avert crop losses, which could exceed more than USD 100 million per year without adaptation.
  • In West Africa, research is supporting the development of climate-smart varieties of staple crops such as rice (Mali), banana and plantain (Cote d'Ivoire) and maize (Benin). Farmers are also getting access to more efficient water harvesting systems. The Bank's climate-smart agriculture projects in West Africa have improved the livelihoods of more than 7 million farmers and 4 million hectares of land with climate-smart agriculture practices.

These stories clearly illustrate the rising importance of collective action in addressing multiple challenges of climate change and show how Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) implements climate-smart technologies and practices to help farmers cope with climate change in Africa.

This is just the beginning. The World Bank is doing more to foster the adoption of CSA around Africa through the Africa Climate Business Plan.


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