Impacts through policies and partnerships

L. E. Pohl (Bread for the World)
Outcomes & Impacts

Climate-proofing agricultural development in Africa

East Africa
West Africa
Climate-Smart Technologies and Practices

The potential effects of climate change threaten agricultural systems in Africa, including subsistence agriculture as well as valuable export crops like cocoa. Investments in agricultural development are increasingly vulnerable to climate change and must take climate impacts into account to ensure long-term sustainability. Recognising this, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is increasingly adopting science from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and CCAFS to guide the introduction of climate-proofing into their project design and implementation.

In 2014, CIAT’s successful collaboration with the Government of Nicaragua’s Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project (NICADAPTA) resulted in the adoption of climate-resilient practices such as water efficiency and crop diversification in the cocoa and coffee sectors in Nicaragua. CIAT climate change models and CIAT maps of suitable regions for continued cocoa and coffee farming were used as underlying research by a variety of stakeholders. As a result, in 2015 CIAT was asked to develop studies that could inform and help prioritise adaptation strategies for agriculture in Liberia, Uganda and Comoros, for eventual use by IFAD through their Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). 

J. Recha (CCAFS)

CIAT research was used to help prioritize USD 75 million of public investment in agricultural development in the 3 countries, and to assist in long-range climate-awareness planning.

In Liberia, CIAT research explored projected climate impacts on cocoa, an important cash crop. In addition to exploring likely climate impacts in 30 years, the researchers suggested adaption strategies according to the exposure of specific regions in Liberia. The study’s recommendations led to a USD 4.5 million IFAD project adopting interventions such as improved varieties and alternative agricultural practices, to make the cocoa sector more resilient to climate change.

In Uganda, researchers used the CIAT-developed Climate-Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal (CSA-RA) Prioritization Tool to provide appraisals of farming systems in four districts. The appraisals offered essential information on current challenges and potential adaptation strategies, as well as recommendations on how to address these. IFAD used this information to design the USD 71 million Restoration of Livelihoods in Northern Uganda (PRELNOR) project, which is being implemented in 6 districts in 2016.

In Comoros, scientists conducted climate and environmental assessments, which fed directly into design of a USD 4 million program IFAD is implementing in 2016.

An independent validation report analysed the impact of CIAT research on IFAD investment decisions. It showed that CIAT-CCAFS climate change research – including the prediction of impacts on specific agricultural sectors like cocoa – has been used by major implementers in the field, such as the World Cocoa Foundation, the World Bank, USAID and World Coffee Research.

“CIAT’s research provided vital information on farming systems, useful for the program design and particularly in defining interventions for scaling out.” Steven Twomolow, IFAD Climate and Environment regional director for East and Southern Africa

Users of the research indicated that scientists should continue and expand this type of institutional collaboration, which allows partners to co-develop knowledge that is demand-driven and applied.

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