One hundred and nineteen countries included agriculture as a sector for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in international commitments to address climate change. While these countries are committed to reducing emissions from agriculture, they must also support food production goals.
Agricultural management practices can contribute to increased productivity and resilience as well as climate change mitigation. Over the last year, we conducted research to improve understanding of how different management practices impact yields, net greenhouse gas emissions and emission intensity. This is critical to achieving both production and mitigation goals.
In our analyses of nine USAID agricultural projects, we found agricultural management practices that benefit production, provide climate change mitigation co-benefits and have potential for widespread adoption in rice, agroforestry and livestock systems. We describe five particularly promising practices and provide links to all nine below.
In alternate wetting and drying (AWD) farmers periodically dry their irrigated lowland rice fields.
Urea deep placement (UDP) is a fertilizer management technology that improves nutrient use efficiency by placing urea briquettes into soil, instead of broadcasting urea granules on the surface of soil.
Perennial crops and agroforestry remove carbon from the atmosphere by storing carbon in plant biomass and soil.
Herd-size management strategies aim to increase productivity, enabling reduction of herd size while maintaining the level of production of the agricultural product, such as milk or meat for example.
Grassland improvements are accomplished through managing the intensity and timing of grazing, planting or protecting species and/or adding nutrients and water to promote growth.
These analyses are meant to contribute to the understanding of how agricultural development activities contribute to natural resource management and climate change mitigation and of how to quantify and monitor emission changes in agricultural production.
- AAPI in Bangladesh: AWD and UDP in irrigated rice
- ACCESO in Honduras: perennial crop expansion
- Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Activity (ADVANCE) II in Ghana: AWD in irrigated rice
- Better Life Alliance in Zambia: agroforestry expansion
- Chanjè Lavi Planté in Haiti: perennial crop expansion and AWD in irrigated rice
- Pastoralist Resiliency Improvement and Market Expansion (PRIME) in Ethiopia: livestock grassland improvements
- Peru Cacao Alliance in Peru; focus on agroforestry and perennial crop expansion, and soil and fertilizer management
- Resilience & Economic Growth in Arid Lands - Accelerated Growth (REGAL-AG) in Kenya: livestock herd-size management
- Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Project in Rwanda: livestock herd-size management
More information about the project and the methodology used for the case studies are available here.
Blog originally published on Climatelinks on October 15, 2017.
This research was made possible through support provided by the Office of Global Climate Change, U.S. Agency for International Development. CCAFS is carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit https://ccafs.cgiar.org/donors. The views expressed in this document cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of these organizations.
Dr. Julie Nash was, at the time this work was done, a scientist in low emissions agricultural development with CCAFS and a research associate at the at the Gund Institute for Environment and the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. She is now a Senior Manager in Food and Markets for Ceres, Inc.
Julianna White is a communications officer and program manager for CCAFS Low Emissions Development research.