Climate change is not a dream, or only the problem of our future generations, it is already happening. Inadequate and traditional methods of food handling causes more than 30 per cent of food to be lost before reaching consumers and forces many to sleep hungry every night(FAO). In addition, climate change is forcing shifts in the agricultural development agenda across the globe. Changes in temperature and precipitation and the rising frequency of extreme climatic events are projected to significantly reduce global food production during the current century. However, effects are expected to vary substantially across even relatively small regions. Sustainable development in agriculture must become climate smart. The approach enhances food security while preserving the natural resource base and vital ecosystem services. It is achieved through a combination of agricultural practices suited for a specific site, with supporting policies, technology and finances.
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to achieving food security in the face of climate change. CSA confronts on three dimensional approaches to achieve the objectives of increasing productivity and incomes, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. But as a matter of fact, it is yet, just a concept and needs much elaboration and demonstration especially for developing economies. The promoters of REDD+ hope that COP20 in Lima will establish the bases for inclusion of CSA in the next international climate agreement. A warm welcome to CSA may result in sustainable increase in agriculture productivity, resilience and capacity building of agriculture making them more adaptive towards climate changes.
Climate-smart agriculture initiates interdisciplinary interactions that are energy smart, crop smart, nutrient smart, water smart and weather smart, livestock forming an integral part of the system, location specifically. It is important to realize that a centralized model developed to strengthen agricultural systems shall not be replicable and hence the nature of interventions will vary both spatially and temporally.
Agricultural production is directly linked to complex food chains and requires many stakeholders to participate in solving the daunting problems of agriculture, food insecurity and climate change simultaneously. Therefore, ensuring stakeholder participation towards climate resilient agriculture is unavoidable to address climatic variability at both micro(local) and macro(global) levels. Working from farm to landscape level and local to regional level with an ecosystems approach, combining forestry, fisheries, crops and livestock systems is crucial for responding to the impacts of climate change and contributing to its mitigation.
By – Prachi Kathuria
Programme Manager – Environment