Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate-smart agriculture should be livelihood-smart too

05.12.2011
Encouraging climate-smart agriculture can lead to climate change adaptation practices in a partnership where the farmer's needs are addressed.

"Climate-smart agriculture has the potential to increase sustainable productivity, increase the resilience of farming systems to climate impacts and mitigate climate change through greenhouse gas emission reductions and carbon sequestration," says Henry Neufeldt the lead expert on climate change at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Agroforestry – the growing of trees on farms – is one such climate-smart agricultural practice, and it has tremendous potential for both climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as providing a source of fuel, food, medicine and supplementing the diets of smallholder farmers.

Tree-based farming systems need to be encouraged as part of a low carbon emissions development pathway and adaptation strategy. For example, in tropical forest margins, agroforestry has been used in several protected area landscape buffer zones and within conservation areas as one way of alleviating pressure on forests for timber, thereby reducing deforestation and the resultant loss of carbon sinks.

Drawing lessons from the Philippines, a newly released policy brief from the ASB Partnership shows that programmes to support such initiatives are more likely to succeed in areas that are already deforested or where remaining forests are effectively protected, and where farmers have secure land tenure.

However, agricultural methods that focus on climate change solely will not be as successful as methods that focus on improving farmer livelihoods. Food security is the central focus for many smallholder farmers. In her work, Tannis Thorlakson, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre discovered that smallholder farmers in western Kenya are aware that their climate-coping strategies are not sustainable because they are forced to rely on actions that have negative long-term repercussions. These include eating seeds reserved for planting, selling assets (livestock, tree poles, etc.) at below market value, or building up debt in order to survive. These are only short-term solutions to drought and poverty.

By 2050 approximately 70 percent more food will have to be produced to feed growing populations, particularly in developing countries. As climate change causes temperatures to rise and precipitation patterns to change, more weather extremes will potentially reduce global food production.

In Africa, where 80 percent of smallholder farmers own less than two hectares of land, there will be 1.2 billion more people to feed. Farmers will have to adapt to these changing conditions in order to feed this growing population.

"Our research shows that when farmers change their farming practices their returns are not immediate and in some cases there is a drop in income. For climate-smart agriculture to work there has to be incentive for farmers to change and maintain new production systems," says Neufeldt, speaking at the ongoing COP17 Climate Change Talks in Durban, South Africa.

"Climate-smart agriculture won't be effective unless it specifically targets food security and livelihoods. Farmers must have sufficient incentives to change the way they manage their production systems," says Neufeldt.

Sayon Kourouma, is a farmer from Guinea, West Africa, who has benefitted from an ICRAF partnership project for peanut tree farmers, that seeks to cater to household needs while improving the way in which local forests are managed.

"I am now earning four times as much as I made in the past," says,Sayon. "If my children are sick, I don't have to ask my husband for money, I can pay for medicines myself."

Other signs of her new-found prosperity include a cow and her mobile phone which she uses to transact business. To cater to her basic necessities, Sayon no longer relies on solutions that bring about deforestation. To her, climate-smart agriculture has helped her adapt to climate change while improving her living standards.

Small or micro-scale farming is the primary source of livelihood for over two-thirds of Africans. With this great number of farmers, climate change adaptation can be enhanced once the farmers have the right incentives to participate in climate-smart agriculture. Farmers in the Thorlakon study believe the most effective way to adapt to climate-related shocks is through improving their general standard of living.

In discussions about how to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change, it will be paramount to first focus on their short-term needs and find mutually beneficial methods that meet these needs and support the push towards climate change adaptation.

About the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is part of the alliance of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres dedicated to generating and applying the best available knowledge to stimulate agricultural growth, raise farmers' incomes, and protect the environment.

About ASB

ASB is the only global partnership devoted entirely to research on the tropical forest margins. ASB's goal is to raise productivity and income of rural households in the humid tropics without increasing deforestation or undermining essential environmental services.

Paul Stapleton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.worldagroforestry.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>