What is Climate Smart Agriculture..?

The Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an Integrated management approach of crop production, livestock, aquaculture, and forests under the climate change risks and food security challenge.

Climate-Smart Agriculture concept practice national and international level to address the challenges in the agriculture sector due to climate change. The CSA includes sustainable agricultural practices to increase agricultural productivity, farmers’ income.

Also, it defines adaptation and mitigation measures for climate change. Approaches, such as policy improvements, increase technical practices, and new investments on environment protection use to build sustainable agricultural production.

Climate-Smart Agriculture concept help to develop a sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural system. Because CSA uses climate-smart agricultural practices to increase production. 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), agricultural production reduces by 15%  if the temperature increases up to 2oC ( if we do not change our current agricultural practices). As well as, food requirements will increase by 60% by 2050 due to population growth (According to Food and Agriculture Organization data).

Maintaining food security is a tough challenge under climate change and population growth. Also, food production practices (agricultural practices) have negative impacts on the environment (due to greenhouse gas emission ). Therefore, the Climate-Smart Agriculture system helps to address these issues.

Why do we need Climate Smart Agriculture..?

Plants need specific climatic requirements for their growth, distribution, and availability in a particular environment. Hence, crops also need specific climatic (environment) requirements for growth and yield. Changes in climate have a direct impact on the agricultural sector.

Researchers said that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions (flood, drought, and storms) have an increasing pattern. As well as, local weather patterns will change in the future. These conditions harm the environment, agriculture, and community. Therefore, we need proper adaptation and mitigation plans.

Global warming is the major climate change threat in the 21st century. Increasing COgas emission is the main reason for global warming.Also, this harms to agricultural production. Due to the industrial revolution, the COgas emission rate increased significantly. Not only CO2 but also the concentration of the other greenhouses gases (N2O, CH4, and CFC) should reduce to minimize climate change.   

Agricultural activities are responsible for about one-fifth of global emissions. Researchers said that about 58% of the N2O gas emit due to the fertilizer application into the soil. Also, a considerable amount of CH4 gas released by the agriculture sector (livestock sector, rice fields). However, the agriculture sector has to improve the production capacity to meet the food security with an increasing global population.

Three Pillars of Climate-smart Agriculture

Sustainable increases in agricultural productivity and income

Climate-smart Agriculture focuses to achieve sustainable improvement of agricultural productivity and income from crop production, livestock production, and aquaculture production.

Sustainable cultivation practices, reducing the greenhouse gas emission, reducing the impact on the environment, and minimize the climatic impacts are the strategies used to achieve this goal.

Improve the resilience to climate change

Climate-smart agriculture focuses to reduce the impact of short-term risks (changes in food pricing, cultivation practices issues) on farmers. It achieves by introducing the short-term adaptation measures to farmers.

This will help to improve the farmers’ livelihood. Also, this pillar focuses on ecosystem protection for all living beings. Improving agricultural productivity and the capacity to adopt climate change is the main objective of this pillar.

Minimize the impact of agriculture on climate change

This pillar mainly focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to agricultural activities. This focuses on sustainable agricultural management practices to reduce emissions. Preventing deforestation, and sustainable soil/crop management methods used to achieve this goal.

Crop Production and Climate-Smart Agriculture

Climatic factors highly affect on growth and production. Temperature, CO2 level, rainfall, light intensity, and humidity are the main climatic factors that affect crop production.

Extreme weather conditions (flood, drought, etc.) during the crop development stages may harm production. As well as, these conditions badly effect on plant pollinators. Because, most plant pollinators unable to tolerate high-temperature conditions. Therefore, agronomic practices should suit for these challenges.

The strategies that use in climate-smart crop production vary with location (climatic problems vary with location), cropping systems, and adaptation capacity of the farmers. The main objective of climate-smart crop production is to increase production sustainably (minimizing negative environmental impacts). Farmers can use the following agronomic practices to achieve sustainable production. They are,

                Use crop varieties that adapt to local climatic conditions

                Development of new varieties that tolerant to extreme conditions

                Use quality planting materials

Use crop rotation, intercropping, and association of different crop varieties/species (crop diversification)

                Maintaining healthy soil (control soil erosion, use organic matter)

                Compost producing and incorporation of plant debris into the soil

                Practice reduce tillage or zero tillage

                Use of integrated pest management system

                Water conservation avoid contamination of water bodies

                Changing the irrigation time, seed sowing time, harvesting time, etc

Responsible application of fertilizer, pesticide, and other chemicals ( better to change application frequency and move towards the sustainable methods)

Sustainably use farm machines ( minimize the impact on the environment and use of renewable energy resources)

                Introduce efficient weather forecasting systems

                Relocated of crops in favorable areas

Also, it’s important to inform farmers about changes in climatic factors and their impact on crop production, new agricultural innovations, and environmentally friendly management practices. Long term crop cultivation in the same area may harm soil conditions. So, changing the crop cultivation area help to minimize climate change risks.

Livestock Production and Climate-Smart Agriculture

Livestock supply a considerable amount of world protein and calorie requirement. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data, the livestock sector contributes about 40% of global agricultural gross domestic product, and 60% of the farming community have livestock. Therefore, the development of the livestock sector is important for keeping food security and the livelihood of the rural community.

Livestock provides a variety of advantages except for food security and livelihood. Such as Providing manure for crop cultivation, draughting for field preparation, transportation, saving account for the rural community, women empowerment, etc.

The livestock sector is highly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which is affects climate change. Also, changes in rainfall and temperature lead to cause heat stress and water stress. This situation negatively impacts on livestock production. So, it’s essential to take necessary actions to mitigate the climate change impact on the livestock sector. As examples,

                Rearing animal species/breeds that suitable for local climatic conditions

Breed animals by using indigenous animals (so, can utilize resistance and tolerance characteristics of indigenous animals)

                Sustainable feed management system (including grazing, pasture improvements)

                Crop-Livestock integration system (On-farm, off-farm diversification)

Climate-Smart Agriculture Techniques for Fisheries and Aquaculture Production

According to FAO data, about 10%-12% of the global population depends on the fisheries and aquaculture sector as their livelihood (especially rural community). Also, this sector provides essential food and nutrition (including protein) for humans.

Oceans and inland water bodies are the most important ecosystems for this sector. Therefore, climate change impacts on these ecosystems directly affect on fisheries and aquaculture sector. Then, it negatively affects on human nutrition and the livelihood of some people.

Human activities are highly responsible for CO2 emission. These emitted gas mainly absorbed by the aquatic ecosystem (especially the ocean). It causes chemical changes in these ecosystems and negatively impacts on distribution and availability of the fisheries resources.

Aquaculture products have a good demand in all around the world. The demand is increasing with population growth. So, people move towards unsustainable harvesting of the fisheries resources which leads to building an unbalanced ecosystem.

Climate change impacts on the aquaculture sector vary with the location. Sometimes, it may affect positively by creating a new ecosystem with beneficial opportunities. However, it’s important to develop strategies to mitigate the climate change impact on the aquaculture sector. As examples,

                Sustainable harvesting practices (without overexploiting the resources)

                Sustainable water management practices (avoid water pollution)

                Use breeds that suitable for local climatic conditions

                Improved genetic conditions of breeds/species

                Efficient feed management system

                Promote adaptation and mitigation strategies within the aquaculture sector

                Conduct awareness program regarding the climate change impact on the fisheries sector

Conclusion

The Climate-smart agriculture concept develops by FAO and world bank in 2010 to overcome climate change risks in the agriculture sector. Crop production, livestock production, and aquaculture production are the main sectors of agriculture. This article summarized some climate change impacts on the above sectors and what kind of strategies can implement to overcome those impacts.

The main objectives of climate-smart agriculture are ensuring food security, increasing agricultural productivity sustainably, reduce the impact of the agriculture sector on climate change, and protecting the natural resources. Also, this concept focuses on forestry management, energy management, water management, land management, etc.

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