by Emily Boone
This week world leaders, advocates, and stakeholders from almost 200 countries came together in Doha for the second week of the annual UNFCC climate negotiations. Among the top priorities this year were climate finance and agriculture, both issues under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) radar.
Though it appears this round of negotiations will not yield a formal work programme on agriculture as hoped, the activities, discussions, and knowledge sharing that takes place in parallel to the formal negotiations at Doha are demonstrative of the efforts and commitments already working to address these policy concerns. One of these all-day events being the Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day (ALL5). The roundtable discussion "Making Climate Finance work for the poor", was hosted in partnership by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), CARE International, and CCAFS. Read more »
By Nancy Moss
"Fewer but better fed animals can make livestock production more efficient." This was said by Mario Herrero at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi. Herrero was speaking on 13 November 2012 in the fourth of a series of science seminars organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The presentation was live-streamed to an online audience of 220 people in front of a live audience of 40.
Herrero, an agricultural systems analyst at ILRI, gave an up-to-date overview of ways the livestock sector in developing countries can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions."We face the challenge of feeding an increasing human population, estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, and doing so in ways that are socially just, economically profitable and environmental friendly," he said. Read more »
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and supply agreements in the agricultural sector have a significant role to play to promote agricultural climate change mitigation and decrease pressure on the earth’s land and climate. Private sector engagement can also promote food security and positively affect the livelihoods of smallholder agricultural producers in developing countries. This states the latest of our working papers “Corporate social responsibility and supply agreements in the agricultural sector: Decreasing land and climate pressures” (PDF) by Gabrielle Kissinger, Lexeme Consulting. Read more »
Science Officer for CCAFS Indo-Gangetic Plains Dr. Gopal Datt Bhatta recently met with his Excellency the President of Nepal, Dr. Rambaran Yadav for an interesting conversation about CCAFS activities in Nepal. Here is a blog post about the meeting, written by Gopal Datt Bhatta.
In December of last year I got the opportunity to meet with the President of Nepal to tell him about CCAFS and our activities in the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Dr Rambaran Yadav really wanted to know more in detail of each intervention that are being implemented, especially in his own home country Nepal. I therefore mentioned different projects that are being undertaken and particularly emphasized climate smart village activities and what CCAFS aims to obtain with these models. Interestingly, His Excellency interconnected each and every activities of CCAFS climate smart village model with his childhood experiences. He gave lots of examples of what is happening in the nature and particularly in the terai and hill areas of Nepal. He observed: ‘’Some two or three decades before, the terai area used to have clear sky and luminous winter but now winter is very gloomy and there is no sign of sunshine throughout most of the winter season. This has resulted in several deaths in terai in recent years". Read more »
They came and met; they discussed, argued, they laughed and they planned, they went around and went away. But they did it all together, and after three days of intensive work, African breeders and modelers came out one step closer to uniting around the challenge of climate-smart crops.
From 6 to 8 December, CCAFS theme 1 organized a workshop staged on the Addis Ababa campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The workshop titled ‘Developing climate-smart crops for 2030 world’ involved over 40 participants from 16 countries, broadly divided along either side of the breeding / modeling continuum. Read more »
As part of ongoing national workshops to support climate change policy in agriculture, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) regional office in New Delhi recently hosted a one-day expert group workshop on low carbon development pathways in agriculture. The workshop was aimed at getting a wide range of policy and research experts from South Asia to assess the current state of low carbon agriculture in India, identify technologies that are ready to take off, and suggest policy and technical support necessary for overcoming the existing barriers in low carbon agriculture. Read more »
“Agriculture as a driver of deforestation” is one of a very select list of topics that the new UNFCCC REDD+ work program will tackle in Bonn this month. Optimistic visions are that financed actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation will benefit not only carbon storage, but also biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and poverty reduction. Experienced practitioners in conservation and development rightly ask whether such idealistic multiple wins are really possible. Read more »
"L'agriculture comme moteur de la déforestation" fait partie de la liste très sélect de sujets auxquels va s’attaquer, ce mois-ci à Bonn, le nouveau programme REDD + de la CCNUCC. Les visions optimistes soutiennent que les actions financées par ce mécanisme dans le but de réduire les émissions résultant du déboisement et des dégradations des forêts, profiteront non seulement le stockage du carbone, mais aussi la biodiversité, l'agriculture durable et la réduction de la pauvreté. Les praticiens expérimentés en matière de conservation et de développement se demandent à juste titre, si ces cas idéalistes á multiples gagnants sont réellement possibles. Read more »
As climate change impacts unfold, compounding the many challenges already faced by smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishers in the developing world, a new challenge emerges for science and policy: finding the right balance between food security, reducing emissions, and ensuring environmental and economic sustainability.
We need better knowledge on these tradeoffs. Priority should be given to identifying sustainable low-carbon options for agricultural development that ensure food security and livelihoods. Synergies between these multiple outcomes are possible – for example, conservation of coastal mangrove forests captures carbon and also buffers against coastal, erosion, storm-surges and the impacts of sea-level rise. Mangroves also enhance fisheries production and support diverse coastal livelihoods. By finding technical and institutional options for mitigation that support livelihoods and food security, we can create benefits for farmers, food systems and the environment.
We also need greater clarity on where investments will have the greatest impact.
Current approaches to managing climate risks – such as mobile pastoralism, community food storage facilities, climate information services, and index-based insurance products –provide a strong starting point for helping women and men in small-scale farming and food industries prepare for increasing variability in the weather. Our challenge is to improve people’s access to established and emerging risk-management solutions.
Even a 2 degree rise will destabilize current farming systems, necessitating major changes. Researchers are already finding adaptation approaches at multiple levels, from adjusting a particular agricultural practice such as the time of planting, to changing crop varieties, switching to new crops, or moving out of crop farming altogether. However, these changes can be difficult, and the challenge is how to enable them without further stressing peoples’ livelihoods. Time is of essence: farmers and agencies involved in food systems must stay ahead of the unprecedented changes that will occur in the coming decades. By adopting an approach of ‘accelerated adaptation’, we can help farming and food systems be ready in advance.
New challenges call for new ways of working. Agricultural science, and research on livelihoods, social institutions and food security, must be better integrated with climate science. We also need to bring the knowledge and perspectives of farmers together with decision-makers at other levels. It is crucial that research in agriculture, food security and climate change continues to improve and deliver, to allow more confident decision-making and allocation of limited resources towards uncertain climatic futures.
Livestock enterprises contribute substantially to the world’s greenhouse gases, largely through deforestation to make room for livestock grazing and feed crops, the methane ruminant animals give off, and the nitrous oxide emitted by manure. Estimates of this contribution vary widely (10-18% (PDF), or more, of global greenhouse-gas emissions) and are still being researched – it’s a complex question and hotly debated.
Whatever the exact figure, many worry these greenhouse-gas emissions will only grow due to increasing livestock production to meet the surging demand for meat and milk in developing countries.
But significant livestock-related greenhouse gas reductions could be quickly achieved in tropical countries by modifying production practices, which were recently detailed in a paper by myself and a colleague published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For example, switching to more nutritious pasture grasses, supplementing diets with even small amounts of crop residues or grains, restoring degraded grazing lands, planting trees that both trap carbon and produce leaves that cows can eat, and adopting more productive breeds can all be employed relatively quickly to reduce emissions.
Such changes could increase the amount of milk and meat produced by individual animals, thus reducing emissions because farmers would require fewer animals.
For example, in Latin America switching cows from natural grasslands to more nutritious sown pastures can increase daily milk production and weight gain by a factor of three. Fewer animals would then be needed to satisfy demand, while farmers’ incomes could be raised substantially. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)