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Climate-Smart Agriculture Key to Food Security

New Delhi (ABC Live): Climate-smart agriculture (CSA); Between now and 2050, the world’s population will increase by one-third. Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, as per estimates that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed.

Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction.

Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture, requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.

To achieve food security and agricultural development goals, adaptation to climate change and lower emission intensities per output will be necessary. This transformation must be accomplished without depletion of the natural resource base.

Climate change is already having an impact on agriculture and food security as a result of increased prevalence of extreme events and increased unpredictability of weather patterns. This can lead to reductions in production and lower incomes in vulnerable areas.

These changes can also affect global food prices. Developing countries and smallholder farmers and pastoralists in particular are being especially hard hit by these changes. Many of these small-scale producers are already coping with a degraded natural resource base.

They often lack knowledge about potential options for adapting their production systems and have limited assets and risk-taking capacity to access and use technologies and financial services.

Enhancing food security while contributing to mitigate climate change and preserving the natural resource base and vital ecosystem services requires the transition to agricultural production systems that are more productive, use inputs more efficiently, have less variability and greater stability in their outputs, and are more resilient to risks, shocks and long-term climate variability.

More productive and more resilient agriculture requires a major shift in the way land, water, soil nutrients and genetic resources are managed to ensure that these resources are used more efficiently. Making this shift requires considerable changes in national and local governance, legislation, policies and financial mechanisms.

This transformation will also involve improving producers’ access to markets. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions per unit of land and/or agricultural product and increasing carbon sinks, these changes will contribute significantly to the mitigation of climate change.

The concept Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), as defined and presented by FAO at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, contributes to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

It integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by jointly addressing food security and climate challenges.

It is composed of three main pillars: 1. sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes;

  1. adapting and building resilience to climate change;
  2. reducing and/or removing greenhouse gases emissions, where possible.

Climate-smart agriculture is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change. The magnitude, immediacy and broad scope of the effects of climate change on agricultural systems create a compelling need to ensure comprehensive integration of these effects into national agricultural planning, investments and programs.

The Climate-smart agriculture approach is designed to identify and operationalize sustainable agricultural development within the explicit parameters of climate change. FAO and its partners are aware that achieving the transformations required for CSA and meeting these multiple objectives requires an integrated approach that is responsive to specific local conditions.

Coordination across agricultural sectors (e.g. crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries) as well as other sectors, such as with  CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE SOURCEBOOK energy and water sector development is essential to capitalize on potential synergies, reduce trade-offs and optimize the use of natural resources and ecosystem services.

About Dr. Sriniwas Vasudeva

Dr. Sriniwas Vasudeva has completed his Research in Agriculture in 2006 and Reports Agriculture News for ABC Live.

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