By Albert Makendenge
Climate-smart agriculture, abbreviated CSA, is an integrated approach to managing landscapes – cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries in order to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change. It is an approach that helps farmers and the world to transform agri-food systems towards green and climate resilient practices. Simply put, it means implementing agricultural practices that outsmart the changing weather patterns, the changing rainfall and temperature patterns.
A growing global population and changing diets are driving up the demand & need for different foods. On the other, hand the changing climate is driving down the agricultural industry’s capacity to produce enough to meet these increasing food needs. Production is struggling to keep up as crop yields level off in many parts of the world. Ocean health is declining and natural resources (soils, water and biodiversity) are increasingly getting stretched thin. Substantial investments and utter commitment will be required to maintain current yields and to achieve production and food quality increases to meet demand. Enormous work has to be done especially considering the fact that agriculture itself is actually part of the problem given that the industry currently generates 19 to 29% of the total greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change.
CSA strives to achieve the four betters which are better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all. The international agricultural body, the Food and Agriculture Organization recommends that this initiative be implemented through five main action points in order to achieve the four aforementioned betters. These five main action points include expanding the evidence base for CSA, supporting enabling policy frameworks, strengthening national and local institutions, enhancing funding and financing options as well implementing CSA practices at field level. The practices have got to be made to suit the local socio-economic, environmental and climate change factors in a particular area.
When well formulated and successfully implemented through practices such as organic farming, conservation agriculture and plant biotechnology, the initiative will be in a better position to achieve its goals of increased productivity, enhanced resilience and reduction of emissions.