Proven and effective climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technological and institutional options, that can be adapted to different site-specific conditions, needs to be developed to maximize value for money of CSA-related interventions and finance. Addressing this need, and seeking to fill knowledge gaps required to stimulate scaling of CSA, CCAFS developed the Climate-Smart Village (CSV) AR4D approach which promotes local, incremental adaptation and transformative options while building local capacities to continue to innovate, experiment, and adapt. A key aspect is to evaluate portfolios of options in addition to individual CSA options, and have robust action research to i) understand the effectiveness of options and ii) develop (no regrets) solutions in anticipation of future climate change impacts. Founded on the principles of participatory action research, the CSV research sites play the role of a platform for multi-stakeholder collaborative work, generate evidence of CSA effectiveness at local scales and inform appropriate incentives and scale-out strategies for greater CSA investment and outcomes. CSVs are “cornerstones” to show where communities test, co-develop and adopt CSA, providing evidence and demonstration of best-bet CSA options that are deserving of investment for scaling up.

Close integration with Agri-Food System CGIAR Research Programs (e.g MAIZE and WHEAT) is envisioned to identify technologies and practices, and perform on the ground testing of model outputs including socioeconomics, crop management and germplasm deployment. Local institutions and communities themselves can also select CSA options that they would like evaluated, and CSA development programs can also incorporate learning in their operations by co-locating CSA options in CSVs.

Beyond the participatory evaluation of CSA options, this research area develops, uses and adapts a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods across a broad set of sites in different biophysical, economic and social contexts Key research questions addressed include: 

  • How do we know if CSA is effective and for whom?
  • What are the relative synergies and trade-offs of different CSA portfolios in terms of productivity, adaptation and mitigation outcomes and their context-dependencies?
  • What are the gender-, social-, health- and nutrition- dimensions of promising CSA options?
  • How can we target and adapt relevant and context specific CSA practices (specific or combinations) for increased synergies and improved adoption?
  • What are the appropriate local-level enabling environment conditions required to increase CSA investment and enhance adoption of technologies and practices, and how might policy, finance and institutional innovations be designed to out-scale effectively?