Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has been found as solution to the growing global population and changing diets – driving up the demand for food.
Production is struggling to keep up as crop yields level off in many parts of the world, ocean health is declining, and natural resources are being stretched dangerously thin.
This is affecting many lives across the globe and the 2020 report by the World Bank found that nearly 690 million people (or 8.9 percent of the global population) are hungry, up by nearly 60 million in five years. The food security challenge is becoming more difficult.
Advocating for CSA, The Chief Executive Officer of ASPASSION Farms, Robben Asare is asking the government of Ghana to invest more in climate-smart agriculture to help drive increased productivity, enhanced resilience, and reduced emissions across the country.
Mr Asare explained that climate-smart agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.
He adds that the growing global population and changing diets are driving up the high demand for food.
Farmer Asare made these remarks in an interview with this reporter on Ghana’s Agricultural Sector and how Climate-Smart Agriculture can help increase production.
He said the discussion had been that the youth could find employment in Agriculture but we are not embracing new innovations, the very sector that could employ a majority of the youth of Ghana.
“Production is struggling to keep up as crop yields are going down across the continent, ocean health declines, and natural resources including soils, water, and biodiversity are stretched dangerously thin.
“A 2020 report by the United Nations found that nearly 690 million people of the global population are hungry. The food security challenge will only become more difficult, as the world will need to produce about 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people,” he indicated.
According to him, the challenge is intensified by agriculture’s extreme vulnerability to climate change.
“Climate change’s negative impacts are already being felt, in the form of increasing temperatures, weather variability, shifting agroecosystem boundaries, invasive crops and pests, and more frequent extreme weather events.
“On farms, climate change is reducing crop yields, the nutritional quality of major cereals, and lowering livestock productivity.
“Substantial investments in adaptation will be required to maintain current yields and to achieve production and food quality increases to meet demand in Ghana and across the continent,” he indicated.
Farmer Asare explained that while there is the need to build on existing knowledge, technologies, and principles of sustainable agriculture, CSA is distinct in several ways.
“We all know that CSA systematically considers the synergies and trade-offs that exist between productivity, adaptation, and mitigation.
“CSA aims to capture new funding opportunities to close the deficit in investment,” the 2019 national best Agroforestry farmer emphasised.
Climate-smart agriculture and the World Bank
Climate-smart agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries–that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.
In other words, CSA is an approach to help adapt agricultural methods, livestock and crops to the ongoing human-induced climate change and, where possible, counteract it by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time taking into account the growing world population to ensure food security
The World Bank Group (WBG) is currently scaling up climate-smart agriculture. In its first Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2020), as well as the forthcoming update covering 2021-2025, the World Bank committed to working with countries to deliver climate-smart agriculture that achieves the triple win of increased productivity, enhanced resilience, and reduced emissions.
In 2020, 52 percent of World Bank financing in agriculture also targeted climate adaption and mitigation.
The World Bank Group also backs research programmes such as the CGIAR, which develops climate-smart technologies and management methods, early warning systems, risk insurance, and other innovations that promote resilience and combat climate change.
CSA aims to simultaneously achieve three outcomes:
1. Increased productivity: Produce more and better food to improve nutrition security and boost incomes, especially of 75 percent of the world’s poor who live in rural areas and mainly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
2. Enhanced resilience: Reduce vulnerability to drought, pests, diseases, and other climate-related risks and shocks; and improve capacity to adapt and grow in the face of longer-term stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns.
3. Reduced emissions: Pursue lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced, avoid deforestation from agriculture and identify ways to absorb carbon out of the atmosphere.
While building on existing knowledge, technologies, and principles of sustainable agriculture, CSA is distinct in several ways. First, it has an explicit focus on addressing climate change.
Second, CSA systematically considers the synergies and trade-offs that exist between productivity, adaptation, and mitigation. Finally, CSA aims to capture new funding opportunities to close the deficit in investment.
Find out more about CSA basics, planning, financing, investing, and more in the online guide to CSA developed in collaboration with the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) of the CGIAR.