USAID’s Support of Successful Climate Smart Agriculture

By Joyce-Lynn (Lyly) Njinga, Noel Gurwick

As Climatelinks closes out its climate smart agriculture theme this month, we highlight one example of how USAID is helping to identify how agriculture can be part of the solution to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

USAID’s Office of Global Climate Change (GCC) has partnered with the CGIAR’s Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) flagship program on low emissions agriculture to:

  • Estimate how much, and in what ways, 30 of USAID’s agricultural activities influence greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon storage, in total and relative to production  
  • Support development of the Mitigation Options Tool, a calculator that enables policy makers, project developers, and others to compare GHG emissions among scenarios that use different sets of agricultural practices to protect food security

Looking ahead, GCC will support CCAFS to:

Often, agricultural systems that reduce emissions also increase production or resilience. Increasing resilience of perennial crops like coffee and cacao also delivers climate change mitigation co-benefits because the plants store carbon in biomass and soil.

In a new booklet, CCAFS outlines essential steps to increase climate resilience and reduce agricultural emissions, highlighting success stories and lessons learned. Here is a summary of the booklet, titled Six Steps to Successful Climate Smart Agriculture: Steps to making 500 million farmers climate-resilient in 10 years while reducing agricultural emissions:

  • Step 1: Put the right technology into farmers’ hands - Farmers need appropriate climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies that increase productivity, build farmers’ resilience to climate change and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Success stories covered: The use of laser land levelling technology in India and climate-smart dairy practices in East Africa.
  • Step 2: Get farmers insured - Index-insurance programs in agriculture can reduce risks farmers face in a variable climate. Success stories covered: Weather-index insurance products in India and index-based livestock insurance products in Ethiopia and Kenya.
  • Step 3: Deliver climate forecasts directly - Farmers should receive climate information and advice through effective channels to help them make informed decisions on their farms. Success stories covered: Data-based climate forecasts to rice farmers in Colombia and provision of climate information via mobile phone and radio to farmers across Africa.
  • Step 4: Enhance the national enabling environment - National policies should support climate-smart agriculture. Success stories covered: National policy engagement and action research on climate-smart agricultural interventions in 21 countries, including support to the Government of Vietnam to manage rice irrigation to meet the country’s climate change mitigation targets. 
  • Step 5: Inform global policies and processes - Global policies and processes set the stage upon which country-led agriculture development evolves. Success stories covered: Contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report, facilitating a common strategy for African negotiators to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the development of strong global partnerships.
  • Step 6: Scale up climate investments in CSA - Increase in financial flows support farmer investments in climate smart activities; investments should be guided by sound knowledge of what works where and for whom. Success stories covered: Support of Nicaragua’s national climate policies for coffee and cocoa, and stakeholder engagement for informed climate information services investments in Africa.

Read Six Steps to Success here.

Strategic Objective
Mitigation, Adaptation
Resilience, Partnership, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mitigation, Low Emission Development, Emissions, Adaptation
Latin America & Caribbean, Global, Asia, Africa

Joyce-Lynn (Lyly) Njinga

Lyly is the Community Manager for Climatelinks. She has a background in and passion for addressing challenges at the nexus of climate change and international development. Lyly looks forward to contributing her capacity building, technical content development, and community engagement experience to Climatelinks. Her role includes supporting and growing the communities encompassed in Climatelinks, connecting practitioners with valuable experiences to share, identifying themes for focused engagement and knowledge-sharing activities, connecting practitioners to germane resources, and answering questions about specific resources.

Noel Gurwick

Noel Gurwick

Noel Gurwick is the Sustainable Landscapes Team Lead in the Office of Global Climate Change at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where he focuses on land-based solutions to mitigate climate change.

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