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Symposium 2012

Promoting Food Security: The Contribution of Climate-Smart Agriculture

The Challenge

The world’s population is expected to grow from the current seven billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. At the same time, consumption patterns are shifting towards diets containing more protein. So the Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that meeting the growing global demand for food requires a 70% increase in total agricultural production.

Land productivity has increased considerably over the past six decades, with food production doubling while agricultural land only increased by 10%. But both agricultural yields and the stability of production are threatened by changes in precipitation, temperature and extreme weather events arising from climate change. Regions with low and stagnant agricultural productivity and therefore high risks of food insecurity, including large parts of Africa, are expected to be the most affected.

How can food security in these regions be improved sustainably in the light of such threatening trends? How can agriculture in climate-vulnerable, food-insecure regions be improved to enable farmers to adapt to a changing climate, while reducing their own contribution to climate change and using scarce resources, such as mineral fertilizer and water, in a sustainable way?

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban in 2011, the need to link efforts to preserve and enhance food security, as well as adaptation and mitigation activities in the agricultural sector, were discussed under the term "climate-smart agriculture." How can climate-smart agriculture systems, techniques and policies practically help to enhance food security in the most climate-vulnerable regions through adaptation and mitigation? And how can they be integrated into existing national and regional agricultural policies and strategies?

Since the relevant regions are dominated by resource-poor smallholders, it is vital to assess whether they are prepared and how they can be enabled to make the transition to climate-smart agriculture. Key questions include how investments in new technologies and methods can be financed, how knowledge gaps can be filled and what institutional support is needed.

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Shift the focus of support away from large-scale projects towards promoting small-scale farmers’ inclusion in markets and value chains, as well as their access to support, extension and credit.

    Shift the focus of support away from large-scale projects towards promoting small-scale farmers’ inclusion in markets and value chains, as well as their access to support, extension and credit.

    Shift the focus of support away from large-scale projects towards promoting small-scale farmers’ inclusion in markets and value chains, as well as their access to support, extension and credit.

    Polity, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Harness the support of the BRICs and the private sector in financing and implementing climate-smart agriculture.

    Harness the support of the BRICs and the private sector in financing and implementing climate-smart agriculture.

    Harness the support of the BRICs and the private sector in financing and implementing climate-smart agriculture.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Promote "sustainable intensification" to ensure productivity increases in harmony with the environment.

    Promote "sustainable intensification" to ensure productivity increases in harmony with the environment.

    Promote "sustainable intensification" to ensure productivity increases in harmony with the environment.

    Polity, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Adopt tailor-made local solutions instead of one-size-fits-all approaches.

    Adopt tailor-made local solutions instead of one-size-fits-all approaches.

    Adopt tailor-made local solutions instead of one-size-fits-all approaches.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Support small-scale farmers in accessing and using existing know-how to improve their productivity sustainably.

    Support small-scale farmers in accessing and using existing know-how to improve their productivity sustainably.

    Support small-scale farmers in accessing and using existing know-how to improve their productivity sustainably.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    Use appropriate technology to bring precision agriculture to Africa and India

    All projections suggest that most of the global population increase to 2050 will occur in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent. While commercial agriculture will expand in both those area ...

    All projections suggest that most of the global population increase to 2050 will occur in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent. While commercial agriculture will expand in both those areas, it is safe to assume that the dominant actor in both African and Indian agricultural landscapes in 2050 will not change: small-scale farmers, working farms with relatively little capital and little institutional support. African and Indian farmers, in 2050 as today, will probably not be able to rely on widespread and capable agricultural extension services. With some exceptions, yields in smallholder farming in Africa - less so in India - are low.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    Establishing a monitoring and evaluation system to ensure socially and environmentally responsible agro-food value chains

    The private sector’s role has recently been receiving increased attention by leaders of both developed and developing nations as exemplified by the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a ne ...

    The private sector’s role has recently been receiving increased attention by leaders of both developed and developing nations as exemplified by the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a new US $3 billion agricultural investment plan in Africa pledged by the G8 leaders at Camp David last May. This new initiative aims to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade in partnership with the private sector, by accelerating the flow of private capital to African agriculture, scaling-up new technologies for sustainable agricultural productivity, and reducing risks borne by vulnerable economies and communities. Given the right

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    Promoting Food Security: The Contribution of Climate-Smart Agriculture

    Consistency of policies: Governments need to take a holistic approach to tackling climate change and ensuring food security by devising appropriate policies and providing the right incentives for farm ...

    Consistency of policies: Governments need to take a holistic approach to tackling climate change and ensuring food security by devising appropriate policies and providing the right incentives for farmers through e.g. land tenure security, access to financial services, and access to markets . Agricultural service providersand private investment into agriculture need to be strengthened  and legal and political barriers for agricultural businesses reduced. This needs to be ensured by consistent policies. Improve productivity sustainably using existing knowledge: Many solutions do exist, but farmers must be enabled to adopt climate-adapted/climate-resilient practices by providing institutional and financial support to enable smallholders to

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2012

    'Climate-Smart' Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation

    Agriculture in developing countries must undergo a significant transformation in order to meet the related challenges of achieving food security and responding to climate change. Projections based o ...

    Agriculture in developing countries must undergo a significant transformation in order to meet the related challenges of achieving food security and responding to climate change. Projections based on population growth and food consumption patterns indicate that  agricultural production will need to increase by at least 70 percent to meet demands by 2050. Most estimates also indicate that climate change is likely to reduce agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity. Developing climate-smart agriculture1 is thus crucial to achieving future food security and climate change goals. This paper examines some of the key technical, institutional, policy and financial responses required to achieve this transformation. Building on case studies from the field, the paper outlines a range of practices, approaches and tools aimed at increasing the resilience and productivity of agricultural production systems, while also reducing and removing emissions. The second part of the paper surveys  institutional and policy options available to promote the transition to climate-smart agriculture at the smallholder level. Finally, the paper considers current financing gaps and makes innovative suggestions regarding the combined use of different sources, financing mechanisms and delivery systems.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society