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Basics of climate smart agriculture

This topic provides information about the basics of climate smart agriculture.

Agricultural production systems are facing increasing competition from other sectors for limited natural resources. The availability of these resources and their quality are also being affected by unsustainable management practices and changing climatic and weather conditions. To respond to this situation, the agriculture sectors must improve their sustainability performance and adapt to the impacts of climate change in ways that do not compromise global efforts to ensure food security for all. These challenges are intimately and inextricably related, and need to be addressed simultaneously.

What is climate-smart agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach for transforming and reorienting agricultural production systems and food value chains so that they support sustainable development and can ensure food security under climate change.

Why is CSA needed?

Climate-smart agriculture helps in the following ways.

  • sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes;
  • adapt and build resilience to climate change
  • reduce and/or remove greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

The climate-smart agriculture approach seeks to reduce trade-offs and promote synergies to make crop and livestock systems, forestry, and fisheries and aquaculture more productive and more sustainable.

Climate-smart agriculture is not a new agricultural system, nor a set of practices. It is an innovative approach for charting development pathways that can make the agriculture sectors more productive and sustainable and better able to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

How is climate-smart agriculture implemented?

Climate-smart agriculture relates to actions in fields, pastures, forests, and oceans and freshwater ecosystems. It involves the assessment and application of technologies and practices, the creation of a supportive policy and institutional framework and the formulation of investment strategies.

Climate-smart agricultural systems include different elements such as:

  • the management of land, crops, livestock, aquaculture and capture fisheries to balance near-term food security and livelihoods needs with priorities for adaptation and mitigation;
  • ecosystem and landscape management to conserve ecosystem services that are important for food security, agricultural development, adaptation and mitigation;
  • services for farmers and land managers that can enable them to better manage the risks and impacts of climate change and undertake mitigation actions; and
  • changes in the wider food system including demand-side measures and value chain interventions that enhance the benefits of climate-smart agriculture.

Designing a national climate-smart agriculture approach requires the coordination of activities of a wide range of stakeholders.

Source : FAO- Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

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