Low-emissions opportunities in USAID agriculture and food security initiatives

Photo: E. van de Grift (CCAFS)

Project description

Agriculture and related land use change contribute nearly a quarter of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. About 75% of agricultural emissions originate in developing countries, and approximately 33% come from smallholder farmers. As countries aim to fulfill their international climate commitments to reduce emissions from agriculture and related land use change, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CCAFS are partnering to identify opportunities to pursue food security that are compatible with low emissions development. CCAFS conducts country-focused analyses on the agricultural, financial, political and social feasibility of low emission agricultural practices and develops accurate, low-cost monitoring, reporting and verification methods.


  • Analysis on the effects of low-emission agricultural practices on yields, potential climate change mitigation benefits and changes in emissions. Case studies from nine projects in nine different countries are published.
  • Support select countries in ensuring that they are able to track emission reductions using monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) standards that are evidence-based, feasible to implement, and relevant for policy goals in the agroforestry and livestock sectors.
  • Assessing the ambition, feasibility and implementation options – including attracting investments -  for reducing emissions from agriculture, with a focus on the high emission intensity agricultural sectors of livestock and rice.
  • Refinement of the CCAFS Mitigation Option Tool (CCAFS-MOT), which estimates emissions from crops and livestock production systems in different regions and ranks the most effective mitigation options in relation to current management practices, climate and soil characteristics.

Expected outcomes

Results enable country partners, donors and other stakeholders to identify the impact of agricultural development projects on climate change and climate change mitigation and analyze opportunities to increase food security and mitigate climate change. By applying rigorous scientific standards and widely sharing its data, the project increases understanding about the range of emissions that might result from business-as-usual and low-emission agricultural practices when deployed at scale, and it improves confidence in reporting and investing in emission reductions.


With funding from USAID, CCAFS is working with the following partners:

More information

Ambition and feasibility of low emissions opportunities

Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)

Food loss and waste (FLW)

CCAFS Mitigation Options Tool (CCAFS-MOT)

Quantification of the effects of low-emission agricultural practices on yields and emissions 

CCAFS, in collaboration with the FAO and the University of Vermont, published a series of info notes analyzing low emissions agricultural practices in USAID development projects. The notes, published in 2016, are listed below by country and agricultural practice. Description of the methodology used follows.

For more information, please contact Lini Wollenberg, CCAFS (


Funding for this project is provided by: