03/12/2014 - Article
People in developing countries are the first to suffer the effects of climate disruption on agriculture and food security. In response to this, climate-smart agriculture is intended to address the parameters of that disruption and changes in agriculture with a view to sustainable development, particularly since such changes will necessarily involve innovative public policies and financial mechanisms. This was demonstrated by the authors of an article published on line in Nature Climate Change on Wednesday 26 November 2014.
According to the latest IPCC reports, climate change will have many effects between now and 2100, notably substantial variations in temperature and rainfall levels, two key parameters for agriculture. This poses a huge threat to agricultural production and to the food security of the people who depend on that production. At the same time, the agricultural sector has been accused of being at least partly responsible for climate disruption.
In this context, there are ever greater calls for climate-smart agriculture. Last September, the French government and CIRAD signed up to the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. While this type of agriculture encompasses various technical options – France and CIRAD have clearly chosen that of agro-ecology – there is but one ambition: to integrate the parameters of climate disruption and agricultural changes with a view to ensuring sustainable development.
In an article published on line by Nature Climate Change on Wednesday 26 November 2014, a group of researchers showed that climate-smart agriculture is not a one-off technical solution but a coordinated set of actions by farmers, researchers and civil society aimed at reorienting agriculture. To be successful, it also requires innovative public policies and revised financial mechanisms .
According the article's authors, climate-smart agriculture has three objectives:
However, there are many challenges. Bringing producers on board, particularly in developing countries, is far from straightforward. To support their capacity to adapt, local and national institutions also have to be strengthened. According to Emmanuel Torquebiau, a CIRAD researcher who was one of the authors of the article, "unless efforts are made soon in terms of public policy and finance, the technical options will not have any long-term effect ".
He feels that the main three challenges are:
The main effects are:
The threat concerns rural as well as urban inhabitants, given the expected effects on access to food and, according to forecasts, the drop in production and incomes.
Agriculture accounts for between 10 and 12% of manmade CO2 emissions, and up to 24% if deforestation and changes in land use are taken into account.
The main agricultural sources of greenhouse gases are:
Leslie Lipper, Philip Thornton, Bruce M. Campbell, Tobias Baedeker, Ademola Braimoh, Martin Bwalya, Patrick Caron, Andrea Cattaneo, Dennis Garrity, Kevin Henry, Ryan Hottle, Louise Jackson, Andrew Jarvis, Fred Kossam, Wendy Mann, Nancy McCarthy, Alexandre Meybeck, Henry Neufeldt, Tom Remington, Reynolds Shula, Pham Thi Sen, Reuben Sessa, Austin Tibu and Emmanuel F. Torquebiau, Climate-smart agriculture for food security, Nature Climate Change 4, 1068-1072 (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2437