Climate Smart Resilient Agriculture

Climate change is humanity’s biggest challenge and agriculture is particularly affected, given its dependency on weather and functioning ecosystems.

While agriculture is greatly impacted by a changing climate, it is also one of the biggest drivers of climate change.

In response to this urgent challenge, SFSA is including Climate-Smart, Resilient Agriculture (CSRA) as a core component of its renewed strategy. This decision highlights the need – and our determination – to help smallholders to deal better with the consequences of climate change.

Find our CSRA Strategy HERE

chevron_left chevron_right

Preparing farming systems for more extreme weather (Kenya)

Agriculture impacts climate change

Around ¼ of anthropogenic emissions worldwide are caused by agriculture, forestry, and land use changes (IPCC, 2019). More than 30% of food produced is uneaten; food loss and waste cost the global economy $936bn annually and account for 8% of planet-warming GHG emissions (WEF 2020). Smallholder agriculture is relevant in this context: emissions from smallholders in developing countries are estimated to contribute 1/3 of agricultural emissions and 1/3 of emissions from deforestation, representing ~5% of total GHG emissions (Vermeulen & Wollenberg, 2017).

Agriculture is impacted by climate change

Farming activities directly depend on climatic conditions such as rainfall, temperature, and weather predictability. A 1°C increase in average temperatures can lead to a 5-10% decrease in the major food and cash crop yields (Millan et al, 2018), while climate change is already disrupting the production of key crops like rice, wheat, and maize (FAO, 2016). Increasing temperatures also increase plant vulnerability to pests.

Smallholders agriculture and climate change

While this challenge is global, smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are particularly exposed. Already producing low and erratic yields and often disconnected from major input and output value chains and extension services, they are uniquely vulnerable to the risks associated with climate change and the ongoing degradation of agricultural ecosystems. This is confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report, which demonstrates how cereal production is already negatively affected by climate change in many regions. In particular, the IPCC warns that decreases in crop yields of 10 to 25 % and the increased risk of outright failures in individual seasons may be widespread by 2050. This will likely increase price volatility for agricultural commodities and reduce food security.

Meanwhile, there is also potential for mitigation by smallholder farming – not least because early adoption of low-emissions agricultural development provides an opportunity for more efficient use of land, fertilizer, energy, feed and water. However, low-emissions development projects are likely to need substantial investments to provide economic incentives and financial services to smallholder households to adopt new technologies.

Our approach

Core definitions and elements of SFSA’s CSRA

Scratching Acacia trees

Context-specific CSRA practices

Different regions of the world derive different challenges from climate change... the diversity of farming systems we work in and the diversity of challenges they have must be reflected in our Climate Smart Resilience Agriculture practices.

Farmers Hub seedling nursery

Build programs to deliver positive outcomes across the 3 pillars of CSRA

Our CSRA project design is outcome led. We aim to deliver positive outcomes across 3 dimensions. And these dimensions are: Resilience, mitigation, and profitability & productivity.

Indonesian woman planting seeds

Effectively implementing CSRA projects

Resilience benefits tend to take time to materialize. Mitigation benefits society in general, not necessarily individual farmers. On- farm profitability has the potential to drive adoption of CSRA practices.

On the ground

Case Study Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Improving water efficiency for mango farmers

This case study is a good example of bundling multiple techniques to ensure the productivity and profitability gains that will drive farmer adoption of climate-smart practices.
Farmer-centered, market-led crop diversification

Kenya: Farmer-centered, market-led crop diversification

How to convert a situation of low agricultural productivity, degraded soils, and increased pest and disease pressure into a system of high productivity and resilience? Crop diversification may be one answer.
Strengthening of rice cultivation through weather insurance

Indonesia: Strengthening of rice cultivation through weather insurance

Index-based weather insurance has potential to be a commercially attractive proposition for insurance companies, as it offers operational efficiencies.
Case Study rice Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Introducing water-efficient technologies for rice

Alternate Wetting and Drying is a technique that saves water and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making farmers less dependent on declining aquifers and less vulnerable to climate change.
CSRA Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Strengthening Seed Systems of Tef

Our work in Ethiopia aims to enhance Tef productivity, an essential staple crop with high resilience to drought and water-logged soils, by developing and delivering improved varieties.