Climate-smart agriculture: Lessons from Africa, for the World

The world’s climate is changing, and is projected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The impact of climate change will be 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. Simply put, climate change will make food security and poverty reduction even more challenging in the future.

Until recently, agriculture has tended to be on the sidelines of discussions concerning human-induced climate change. However, at the recently concluded UN climate talks in Bonn (COP 23), the sector experienced a step forward, through an agreement among Parties that agriculture should be integrated into the Paris Agreement. The COP 23’s momentous decision is consistent with the growing recognition of agriculture’s contribution to climate change, the need for farming systems to adapt to the changes, and the potential of agriculture to significantly mitigate climate impacts. These ideas are embodied in the concept of ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ – an approach for transforming and reorienting agricultural systems to support food security under the new realities of climate change. Climate-smart agriculture comprises 3 pillars: (1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security and development; (2) adapting and building resilience to climate change from the farm to national levels; and (3) developing opportunities to reduce GHG emissions from agriculture compared with past trends.

photo credit: Rod Waddington


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