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2020 Global Food Policy Report: Inclusive Food Systems Needed to Boost Development, Resilience

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Apr 07, 2020.

Apr 7, 2020
Press Release

2020 Global Food Policy Report: Inclusive Food Systems Needed to Boost Development, Resilience

Washington, D.C. – The rapid spread of COVID-19 and efforts to contain it are generating growing concerns that food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty may escalate, particularly among marginalized people in the developing world. To build more resili…

'We will starve': Zimbabwe's poor full of misgiving over Covid-19 lockdown

By Nyasha Chingono in Harare from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

Unable to access state benefits, food and even running water as the country shuts up shop, people in Harare fear the worst

Nelson Mahunde, 70, trudges along the deserted streets of Harare’s central business district to collect his monthly pension.

In one hand, he clutches a pension letter; with the other, he hold on firmly to his walking stick.

How can we wash our hands regularly when there is no running water?

Related: Zimbabwe's president appeals for help to end country's 'financial isolation'

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Off our trolleys: what stockpiling in the coronavirus crisis reveals about us

By Bee Wilson from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

There is plenty of food to go round, which means there is no need for panic buying. But who said our relationship with food was fully rational? By Bee Wilson

This is a piece about panic buying in the time of coronavirus, and maybe I should stop right there. None of us needs more panic in our lives right now. If there’s one thing psychologists can agree on, it’s that panicky behaviour is contagious. Every time we read an article telling us not to be selfish and ransack the supermarkets, it triggers the thought that food is running out and we must urgently get to the nearest Tesco and buy five packets of pasta and as many tinned tomatoes and lentils as we can carry.

These are certainly unsettled times in which to feed ourselves. Over the past month, we have been exposed to an uncanny sight that has been almost unknown in Britain for decades: empty supermarket shelves. When you are not used to it, this sight does strange things to your insides.

Related: ‘We can’t go back to normal’: how will coronavirus change the world?

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Coronavirus measures could cause global food shortage, UN warns

By Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 26, 2020.

Exclusive: Protectionist policies and shortage of workers could see problems start within weeks

Protectionist measures by national governments during the coronavirus crisis could provoke food shortages around the world, the UN’s food body has warned.

Harvests have been good and the outlook for staple crops is promising, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the virus crisis and a move towards protectionism – tariffs and export bans – mean problems could quickly appear in the coming weeks, Maximo Torero, chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, told the Guardian.

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Diet, health, inequality: why Britain's food supply system doesn't work

By Jay Rayner from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 22, 2020.

Tim Lang, the UK’s leading expert on food policy, says we already faced a challenge unmatched since the war. And things just got worse…

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  • Tim Lang likes to take the long view. A conversation with the internationally renowned professor of food policy at London’s City University will roam in detail from the repeal of the Corn Laws, through Brexit and back again, the narrative seasoned with detailed facts and figures. It’s why he has been a consultant to the World Health Organization, special adviser to four House of Commons select committee inquiries and a food policy adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. So when he says in his new book, Feeding Britain, that, “although not officially at war, the UK is, de facto, facing a wartime scale of food challenge”, it’s worth paying attention. We are, he says, in serious trouble.

    Lang, who established the pioneering Centre for Food Policy at City University in 1994, makes no apologies for the bluntness of the statement. “I did not write that lightly,” he says, when we meet in central London. “I sat in my study, reviewing all the data. Things have just got worse.” Even so, he recognises how it looks. Panic buying aside, our supermarket shelves are usually full. We have access to a greater range of ingredients at better prices than at any time in human history. The conversation around how and what we eat often feels like it sits front and centre of the culture. “I like my food,” he says. “More joy around food has come into our lives.”

    There’s a staggering gap between rich and poor in terms of wealth and income and therefore access to food

    When the new agriculture bill was introduced in January, it had almost nothing about food

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    Locust crisis poses a danger to millions, forecasters warn

    By Kaamil Ahmed from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 20, 2020.

    Experts fear swarms like those seen in Africa will become more common as tropical storms create favourable breeding conditions

    The locust crisis that has now reached 10 countries could carry on to endanger millions more people, forecasters have said.

    Climate change created unprecedented conditions for the locusts to breed in the usually barren desert of the Arabian gulf, according to experts, and the insects were then able to spread through Yemen, where civil war has devastated the ability to control locust populations.

    Related: Scientists turn to tech to prevent second wave of locusts in east Africa

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    Don't panic, Australia. The coronavirus doesn't mean we'll run out of food | David Littleproud

    By David Littleproud from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 18, 2020.

    Our farmers produce enough for 75m people. Stop stockpiling, writes the agriculture minister

    The scenes in some supermarkets around the country of shoppers fighting over produce and products is ridiculous.

    I appreciate people are worried about Covid-19 but those fighting in the aisles are more in danger of catching the disease by their actions than we ever are of running out of food.

    Related: Coronavirus Australia latest: at a glance

    What is Covid-19?

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    How to help food banks during the coronavirus outbreak

    By Sirin Kale from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 17, 2020.

    The need for supplies is greater than ever. From donating goods and money to volunteering, there are many ways to contribute

    Away from the stockpiling hordes, food bank workers are toiling tirelessly to make sure that no one goes hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “It’s really concerning,” says Emma Revie, the chief executive of the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks. “We are anticipating a significant increase in users as more people are unable to work.”

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    UN under fire over choice of ‘corporate puppet’ as envoy at key food summit

    By Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Kaamil Ahmed from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 12, 2020.

    Organisation accused of kowtowing to big business by appointing former Rwandan agriculture minister with links to agro-industry

    A global summit on food security is at risk of being dominated by big business at the expense of farmers and social movements, according to the UN’s former food expert.

    Olivier De Schutter, the former UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said food security groups around the world had expressed misgivings about the UN food systems summit, which is due to take place in 2021 and could be crucial to making agriculture more sustainable.

    Related: UN sounds alarm over unprecedented levels of hunger in southern Africa

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    Muddled thinking on food production | Letter

    By Letters from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 06, 2020.

    The World Food Programme policy of buying and redistributing surplus food from rich countries has left millions without enough to eat, writes Benny Dembitzer – and we should be pushing for each country to be self-sufficient instead

    Unfortunately, the approach of Wageningen (Backlash as Dutch go from famine to feast, 5 March) is the one that dominates world thinking and policy about food production.

    That approach permeates the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – the UN agency set up after the war to prevent famine recurring in the postwar period. That policy was destroyed by the cold war.

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    Scientists turn to tech to prevent second wave of locusts in east Africa

    By Karen McVeigh from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 04, 2020.

    Researchers use supercomputer to predict potential breeding areas as food security fears grow

    Scientists monitoring the movements of the worst locust outbreak in Kenya in 70 years are hopeful that a new tracking programme they will be able to prevent a second surge of the crop-ravaging insects.

    The UN has described the locust outbreak in the Horn of Africa, and the widespread breeding of the insects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia that has followed, as “extremely alarming”.

    Related: Uganda's 'locust commander' leads the battle against a new enemy

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    IFPRI Response to the Spread of COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 04, 2020.

    Mar 19, 2020

    IFPRI Response to the Spread of COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)

    IFPRI response to the spread of Covid-19 for travel and public events to safeguard the health & safety of staff, their families, partners & stakeholders, and local communities.

    China will not send ducks to tackle locusts in Pakistan, says expert

    By Agencies in Beijing from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 27, 2020.

    Beijing academic rejects local news report that 100,000 ducks would be sent to fight plague

    China will not be sending ducks to Pakistan to chomp through a plague of locusts after all, an expert from Beijing’s troubleshooting team has said.

    A report in the Ningbo Evening News had said 100,000 ducks would be sent from Zhejiang province to Pakistan to deal with its worst locust invasion in two decades, generating 520m views on China’s Weibo social media platform on Thursday and thousands of comments.

    Related: The five: things you need to know about locusts

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    Uganda's 'locust commander' leads the battle against a new enemy

    By Sally Hayden in Soroti and Orom from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 26, 2020.

    The army has been called in to eliminate the insects swarming across Africa, but their mission is dangerous and unending

    • Photographs by Edward Echwalu for the Guardian

    Sitting at a plastic table in the garden of Timisha hotel in Soroti, eastern Uganda, Major General Samuel Kavuma takes a drag of his cigarette and looks down at his phone, which has barely stopped ringing for the past hour.

    A military figure for nearly 40 years, Kavuma fought the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgent group. Now, he’s become the “locust commander”, the man leading the fight against the country’s worst locust outbreak in decades.

    Related: Food fears grow as swarms of locusts reach Uganda and Tanzania

    Related: A humanitarian crisis looms in Africa unless we act fast to stop the desert locust

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    Ato Newai Gebre-Ab

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Feb 25, 2020.

    Feb 25, 2020
    Press Statement

    Ato Newai Gebre-Ab

    IFPRI and the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program (ESSP) are saddened by the passing of Ato Newai Gebre-Ab, a champion of IFPRI's work who made many contributions to Ethiopia's development.

    Against the grain: why millet is making a comeback in rural India

    By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues in Nagaland from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 25, 2020.

    Nagaland farmers are bringing back the ancient crop – said to have near-miraculous powers – as a less water-intensive alternative to rice

    • Photographs courtesy of NEN Nagaland

    Whülü Thurr is a staunch believer in ancient farming traditions. “There is an old adage,” she says, “which goes ‘even a single stalk of millet can revive a dying man’.”

    The 65-year-old farmer, from New Phor village in Nagaland state, north-east India, is a devotee of the ancient grain millet, and is well versed in its nutritional benefit. She is one of the few farmers here who has stayed with the traditional crop over the decades. Many other farmers in Nagaland, the majority of whom are women, have stopped growing it due to a lack of demand.

    Related: 'The dates are drying': profits shrivel for farmers as the heat rises in Tunisia

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    Huge locust swarms raise fears of food shortages in South Sudan

    By Peter Beaumont from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 20, 2020.

    UN warns 25 million people in east Africa region could be affected as wartorn country is beset by fresh wave of insects

    Swarms of desert locusts, which have been ravaging crops and grazing land across east Africa, have now crossed the border into South Sudan, a country already struggling from widespread hunger and years of civil war.

    The UN has warned that an imminent second hatch of the insects could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region.

    Related: 'Food prices shot up': floods spark a scramble for survival in east Africa

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    A humanitarian crisis looms in Africa unless we act fast to stop the desert locust

    By Qu Dongyu and Mark Lowcock from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 12, 2020.

    The destructive migratory pest threatens catastrophe as it swarms through countries already plagued by food insecurity

    A colleague at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tells a terrifying story about the desert locust.

    In 2005 she visited farmers in Niger as they prepared to harvest their crops. Just hours later, a swarm of locusts swept through the area and destroyed everything. One month later, truckloads of families were forced to leave their homes because they had nothing to eat.

    Related: Food fears grow as swarms of locusts reach Uganda and Tanzania

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    Food fears grow as swarms of locusts reach Uganda and Tanzania

    By Jason Burke Africa correspondent from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 10, 2020.

    Outbreak in east Africa has already devastated crops across a swath of Kenya and Somalia

    Massive swarms of locusts sweeping across much of east Africa have reached Uganda and Tanzania, the United Nations has said, threatening millions more people with hunger in an already fragile region.

    Tanzania has detected swarms in its northern border areas close to Mount Kilimanjaro and hired three planes to spray pesticide, a tactic seen as the most effective means of countering the spread of the insects.

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    Drought and hunger: why thousands of Guatemalans are fleeing north

    By José García Escobar and Melisa Rabanales in Jocotán from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 07, 2020.

    The threat of famine and the battle for dwindling natural resources are increasingly being recognised as major factors in the exodus

    Martina García grinds just enough maize kernels to make a handful of tortillas which she serves to her children and grandson for breakfast with a sprinkling of salt.

    García, 40, must ration the family’s last few sacks of tiny corncobs after drought and prolonged heatwaves linked to the climate emergency devastated crops across Guatemala.

    Related: 'People are dying': how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the US

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    Securing the Harvest: A Forum on Improved Grain Storage for Smallholder Agriculture

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Feb 06, 2020.

    Jan 24, 2020
    Press Release

    Securing the Harvest: A Forum on Improved Grain Storage for Smallholder Agriculture

    According to the FAO, each year about 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption is lost after harvest and before reaching consumers. Postharvest losses not only reduce quantity but also the quality of stored grain and are amplified by cha…

    Drought leaves tens of thousands in Lesotho ‘one step from famine’

    By Silence Charumbira in Maseru from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jan 30, 2020.

    Rural areas worst hit as massive fall in food production causes severe hunger for a quarter of country’s population

    Tšepo Molapo gazes into space, worrying about where the next meal will come from. Next to him, his two-year-old granddaughter plays, oblivious of their desperate situation.

    Molapo’s children all died at illegal mines in neighbouring South Africa, where they had trekked in search of work.

    Related: UN sounds alarm over unprecedented levels of hunger in southern Africa

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    Africa is humanitarian 'blind spot': the world's top 10 forgotten crises – report

    By Karen McVeigh from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jan 28, 2020.

    Climate emergency is fuelling drought, food poverty and disaster in the global south but humanitarian crises under-reported

    The African continent is a “blind spot” for coverage of the humanitarian crises that are being fuelled by the climate emergency, according to a new analysis [pdf].

    Madagascar’s chronic food crisis, where 2.6 million people were affected by drought in 2019, came top of the list of 10 of the most under-reported crises last year, Care International’s annual survey found.

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    Calls for global ban on wild animal markets amid coronavirus outbreak

    By Sarah Boseley from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jan 24, 2020.

    Experts say wildlife sold for human consumption raises risk of new epidemics

    Wild animal markets must be banned worldwide, say experts in and outside China, warning that the sale of sometimes endangered species for human consumption is the cause both of the new coronavirus outbreak and other past epidemics.

    The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, which has been closed down as the source of the infection, had a wild animal section, where live and slaughtered species were on sale. An inventory list at the Da Zhong domestic and wild animals shop inside the market includes live wolf pups, golden cicadas, scorpions, bamboo rats, squirrels, foxes, civets, hedgehogs (probably porcupines), salamanders, turtles and crocodiles. In addition, it offered assorted parts of some animals, such as crocodile tail, belly, tongue and intestines.

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    NEW STUDY: Can avocado exports bring prosperity to Kenya’s smallholder farmer?

    By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Jan 14, 2020.

    Dec 19, 2019
    Press Release

    NEW STUDY: Can avocado exports bring prosperity to Kenya’s smallholder farmer?

    Exporting avocados to the high-value European market can raise incomes of smallholder avocado farmers in Kenya by nearly 39 percent, according to a new study.

    PRESS RELEASE: National Nutrition Meeting to share evidence to tackle hunger and malnutrition in Ethiopia

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Dec 13, 2019.

    Dec 12, 2019
    Press Release

    PRESS RELEASE: National Nutrition Meeting to share evidence to tackle hunger and malnutrition in Ethiopia

    A national nutrition conference to present new research for ending malnutrition through the National Food and Nutrition Policy.

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Despite progress, many children in Ethiopia remain stunted, diet diversity continues to pose a chall…

    NEW BOOK: Africa’s “youth bulge” presents opportunity to advance rural development

    By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Dec 02, 2019.

    Dec 3, 2019
    Press Release

    NEW BOOK: Africa’s “youth bulge” presents opportunity to advance rural development

    The share of Africa’s young population is growing rapidly, presenting an opportunity to generate inclusive development benefiting African countries, particularly in rural areas.

    New modeling will shed light on how policy decisions affect migration from sea level rise

    By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Nov 26, 2019.

    Nov 26, 2019
    Press Release

    New modeling will shed light on how policy decisions affect migration from sea level rise

    New modeling will shed light on how policy decisions affect migration from sea level rise

    New report highlights need for gender equality to achieve agricultural growth goals in Africa

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Nov 08, 2019.

    Nov 11, 2019
    Press Release

    New report highlights need for gender equality to achieve agricultural growth goals in Africa

    Lomé, Togo, - Many African governments have committed to promoting inclusive agricultural growth in recent years, but their efforts often neglect the key role played by gender, according to a new report. Evidence shows that gender differences are affec…

    NEW STUDY: Intended to help human & planetary health, EAT-Lancet diet too costly for 1.58 billion people

    By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Nov 07, 2019.

    Nov 7, 2019
    Press Release

    NEW STUDY: Intended to help human & planetary health, EAT-Lancet diet too costly for 1.58 billion people

    At an estimated $2.84 per day, the cost of diet for human and environmental health exceeds daily per capita income in many low-income countries

    Nov 7, 2019, Washington, D.C./Boston: — A diet meant to improve both human and planetary health would be una…

    Why should we care about the gender dimension of climate change?

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Nov 11, 2019.

    Women farmers encounter a great deal of challenges that constrain their agricultural activities. Differing societal roles, unequal access to and control of resources, and women’s lack of participation in decision-making processes have created a gap between men and women in farming communities. Often the voices of women farmers are not heard and their contributions to the household finances or at the farm are absent from official records. This prevents them from having the chance to address the issues that are negatively affecting their activities.

    Climate change will further widen this gap, and the situation of women farmers will likely worsen. Unless they get enough exposure to climate actions, they will remain vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Several studies conducted in Southeast Asia noted that to improve the adaptive capacity of women against climate change impacts, gender must be embedded at the core of climate actions. For example, gender integration was evident in a climate change project in the Philippines. In this project, women were engaged in climate-smart options that catered to their situation and needs. Included in these options was a low-cost and practical livelihood for women, which not only enhanced their adaptive capacity, but also improved their economic status in their communities.

    Therefore, to further explore the potential of gender integration in the research for development (R4D) sector, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) published a book on gender studies in Southeast Asia. Titled “Gender dimension of climate change research in agriculture: Case studies in Southeast Asia,” the book aims to guide R4D organizations to develop climate actions that consider the plights of both men and women in agriculture.

    Studying climate change and agriculture with a gender lens

    Divided into 11 chapters, the book features quantitative and qualitative studies to present various ways on how to integrate gender in R4D efforts. Most of the studies explore the gender-based vulnerabilities of farmers in various settings.

    These include three Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs): Tra Hat CSV in Vietnam, Pailom CSV in Laos, and Guinayangan CSV in the Philippines. CSVs serve as platforms for multi-stakeholder collaboration and as field sites for developing climate-smart technologies and practices. Alongside vulnerabilities, the studies identified the gender-specific adaptation strategies of farmers.

    Among the gender-based vulnerabilities covered in the studies are the lack of education, low literacy rates, and lack of available financial platforms among women in communities. This means that the less educated they are, the more they are prone to different forms of exploitation. Women can be exploited by informal moneylenders who will enforce high interest rates, pushing them to work harder to pay their debts.

    These gendered vulnerabilities can be addressed by giving women access to relevant information and services. Moreover, they should be provided with opportunities to join trainings and livelihood programs that will enhance their adaptive capacity against climate change.

    Recommendations for gender-based research

    The chapters were compiled and edited by Dr. Thelma Paris, gender advisor for CCAFS Southeast Asia and retired socioeconomic gender specialist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Dr. Maria Fay Rola-Rubzen, Associate Professor at the School of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

    “Most of the researchers were locals who went to the fields and gathered first-hand information from the communities” noted Dr. Paris as she discussed the contents of the book. “Those researchers were able to hear the voices of men and women who narrated their experiences on the ground.”

    Witnessing and experiencing the situation on the ground allowed the researchers to display the “human” aspect of gender studies, instead of seeing people only through a quantitative lens. Dr. Paris continued: “these experiences are authentic and shared by people themselves. They must be considered in addressing climate change.” Such experiences should not be transformed into mere numbers and statistics only, she emphasized.

    The book lists specific recommendations to develop gender-sensitive and socially inclusive CSA portfolios. For instance, the book recommends to apply integrated methodologies in gender-based research. These include mixed methods approach, participatory action research, and action research with emphasis on “co-learning.”

    The way forward

    The book presents several ways to integrate gender in climate actions. However, the key takeaway is the same in each case: women farmers may be the victims of climate change at the moment, but with the right resources, they can transform into agents of change and become CSA champions. This transformation can be achieved once the disempowering societal roles are challenged, women farmers gain access to information, services, and resources, and they are allowed and encouraged to participate in major decision-making processes.

    Read more:

    CCAFS integrates gender and social inclusion into its four flagship programs. The publication of this book will help in implementing CSA options in vulnerable communities all over Southeast Asia. CCAFS partnered with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to co-publish the book.

    Immediate action needed to improve soil carbon sequestration: key messages for decision-makers

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Sep 18, 2019.

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) protection and sequestration in agriculture could contribute to the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation needed to achieve the 2050 global policy targets. According to some estimates, 18 to 38 billion tons of carbon could be stored in croplands globally over the next 20 years by implementing best practices for soil organic carbon sequestration.

    However, it is difficult to be confident about these numbers until we have more evidence of what is possible. This research highlight summarizes several key publications that scientists affiliated with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and partners have recently co-authored. The findings put forward by these publications could help decision-makers  better manage policy ambition, emission trade-offs, measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) options, and achieve large scale impacts for soil carbon sequestration.

    Soil organic carbon in the Nationally Determined Contributions

    Current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) indicate that more than 40 countries have committed to practices relevant to SOC protection or sequestration, but have not specified SOC targets. Only ten countries currently refer explicitly to SOC in their agricultural NDC targets. This Info Note suggests that without explicit commitments to SOC targets, estimates of NDC contributions to mitigation will be difficult to assess.

    Soil carbon and related practices under agriculture in the NDCs. (Wiese et al. 2019)

    In addition, the countries with the most potential to protect or store more SOC are not necessarily the ones that have made commitments. There is thus a gap between ambition and potential for SOC targets. If more countries are to set SOC targets, practical and cost-effective monitoring systems will be needed to better quantify and report on SOC.

    A key recommendation of this Info Note is that quantifying SOC-related NDC targets should be discussed as an opportunity for countries to leverage support for relevant national policies and technical capacity development, leverage access to climate finance, and increase transparency for global SOC accounting.

    Read the Info Note: Enhancing Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ambition for soil organic carbon protection and sequestration 

    Mineral fertiliser use: a mitigation strategy

    A major research and policy question is how different agricultural management practices affect soil carbon sequestration. One of our recent publications focuses on the impact of mineral fertiliser use on soil carbon sequestration, including synergies with the use of organic inputs (for example crop residues, animal manure) and trade-offs with GHG emissions.

    Mineral or organic fertilisers can increase soil carbon stocks by: 

    • Increasing crop yields, which can lead to an increase in the availability of organic residues that can be returned to the soil either directly, after composting, or after feeding to animals, as animal manure. 
    • Improving the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio) when crop residues are incorporated into the soil, thereby increasing the rate at which soil organic carbon forms. 

    The increase in soil organic carbon can also offset some of the emissions from mineral nitrogen fertiliser to help mitigate climate change. However, the effect of nitrogen fertiliser use requires attention to potential trade-offs and the scale of assessment. At the field level, net emissions from nitrogen fertilizer can be higher than the level of carbon sequestered, according to several reviews. Also, once an equilibrium is reached for soil carbon, nitrogen fertilizer emissions will continue, yielding net emissions annually. Best management practices for nitrogen use efficiency can help to minimize emissions. At global scales, increased productivity due to fertilizer use can help avoid expansion of agricultural land, for example in high carbon landscapes.

    Climate change mitigation policies focusing on fertiliser use and soil carbon sequestration should distinguish between regions with low yields and low fertiliser use, where net emissions are likely to increase if agricultural productivity is to increase, and regions with high mineral fertiliser use, where increasing the efficiency of fertilizer use is a priority. Generally, a combination of both mineral fertiliser and organic fertiliser is most promising for increasing crop yields, increasing nutrient use efficiency and soil carbon sequestration.

    Read the Info Note: Fertiliser use and soil carbon sequestration    

    Measuring, reporting and verifying soil carbon change

    Since soil organic carbon content of soils cannot be easily measured, a key barrier to implementing programmes to increase soil organic carbon at large scale, is the need for credible, low-cost and reliable measurement/monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) platforms, both for national reporting and for emissions trading. Without such platforms, investments could be considered risky. 

    This paper led by Pete Smith at the University of Aberdeen reviews methods and challenges of measuring SOC change directly in soils, as well as examines some recent novel developments that show promise for quantifying SOC. The authors lay out a new vision for a global framework for MRV of soil organic carbon change to support national and international initiatives.

    Read the full article: How to measure, report and verify soil carbon change to realise the potential of soil carbon sequestration for atmospheric greenhouse gas removal  

    Achieving large-scale action to improve soil health 

    CCAFS is soon launching its transformation action plan covering a variety of challenges to be addressed in our agricultural and food systems, including maintaining soil health in croplands for regenerative agriculture. We propose that to reach transformational scales, national government, the private sector and international development partners will need to commit to mainstreaming practices for improved soil health and soil organic carbon in croplands as a key element of sustainable farming and to fostering the necessary enabling environment and policy, including through giving these actions prominence in NDCs.

    For more information, visit the Transformation Initiative website.

    Read more:

    Plataforma de innovación: espacio clave para la implementación de la ASAC

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Sep 05, 2019.

    El cambio climático genera diferentes desafíos para las comunidades rurales. Los cambios en las temperaturas y las precipitaciones ya han comenzado a afectar al departamento de Cauca, Colombia, y a sus comunidades rurales, que han visto cómo sus sistemas productivos se han transformado y su seguridad alimentaria se ha visto amenazada.

    La Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima (ASAC), y su propósito de aumentar la productividad, reducir la emisión de gases efecto invernadero (GEI) y lograr la seguridad alimentaria, fue propuesta como una solución para las comunidades rurales del noreste de Cauca, donde está localizado el Territorios Adaptado al Clima (TeSAC), a través de diferentes prácticas ASAC como las huertas caseras, cosechas de agua lluvia, abono orgánico, semillas resistentes a sequías, entre otras.

    En el TeSAC Cauca, científicos del Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS), analizaron, en el marco de una plataforma de innovación, cómo agricultores, autoridades civiles, asociaciones y una ONG local, construyeron una red que buscaba alcanzar el objetivo común de alcanzar participativamente, y de manera contextualizada, los pilares de la ASAC en este territorio amenazado por el cambio y la variabilidad climática.

    Las plataformas de innovación son espacios para aprender, construir conjuntamente estrategias y transformar diferentes situaciones a través de la mejora de las interacciones entre los miembros y el entorno local.

    En el artículo científico, “Can an innovation platform support a local process of climate-smart agriculture implementation?”, los investigadores destacaron cómo una plataforma de innovación puede fomentar y proporcionar una base para la colaboración de múltiples actores para permitir la implementación de la ASAC a nivel local. Los investigadores también exploraron las dinámicas sociales y técnicas que se dieron dentro de la plataforma de innovación al observar las interacciones entre los diferentes actores. Asimismo, exploraron prácticas técnicas comunes y cómo estas han cambiado y evaluaron el incremento en el conocimiento de los agricultores. 

    Gracias a la combinación de varias metodologías, que van desde el análisis de las redes sociales, análisis del conocimiento tácito y explícito, hasta el análisis del efecto técnico-económico de la adopción de prácticas ASAC. De esta forma, los investigadores pudieron combinar una amplia gama de indicadores sociales y técnicos en su análisis de las dinámicas de la plataforma de innovación.

    Es exactamente esta combinación de diferentes aspectos sociales y técnicos lo que permite la implementación exitosa de las prácticas ASAC. Como Nadine Andrieu, autora principal del estudio, explica: “la innovación no es la tecnología en sí misma; es el proceso socio-técnico que favorece la adopción de una nueva tecnología en una comunidad determinada. Este documento describe los primeros pasos de este proceso de innovación en el que los agricultores están adoptando diferentes tecnologías en sus huertas familiares."

    La plataforma de innovación facilitó la adopción de nuevas prácticas ASAC, ya que sirvió como un espacio para el aprendizaje y la colaboración estratégica entre los diferentes actores. Las discusiones semanales, capacitaciones, experimentos en campo y la colaboración de múltiples actores clave ayudaron a promover el proceso socio-técnico que Andrieu describe anteriormente.

    Cambios en las vidas de los agricultores

    La participación proactiva de los agricultores en las reuniones de la plataforma y la expansión de su conocimiento ha resultado en la implementación exitosa de las prácticas ASAC. Según los resultados del monitoreo, el 90% de los agricultores continuaron realizando las prácticas priorizadas durante la primera etapa del proceso.

    La asistencia a las sesiones de capacitación también aumentó significativamente del 55% de las mujeres y el 37% de los hombres en 2015, al 66% de las mujeres y el 47% de los hombres en 2016. Esta amplia adopción de prácticas ASAC ha aumentado significativamente su resiliencia a los desafíos planteados por cambio climático y los eventos extremos resultantes.

    Acerca de los cambios en el conocimiento de los agricultores, los diferentes conceptos aprendidos durante las sesiones de capacitación, tales como "planificación agrícola" y "vulnerabilidad climática", no tuvieron cambios en su comprensión, mientras que para otros conceptos la percepción inicial paso de baja a intermedia y alta. El concepto de "eventos extremos" mostró un cambio significativo, pasando de un nivel bajo a un nivel intermedio.

    Es importante destacar que este enfoque de plataforma de innovación se puede replicar en otros contextos. El elemento más importante es la facilitación de interacciones entre personas con diferentes orígenes, antecedentes e intereses, para aprender, compartir ideas y concebir conjuntamente soluciones alternativas a sus problemas. Los espacios virtuales pueden proporcionar una base para estas interacciones.

    "El desafío en tales procesos locales es ampliar la difusión y avanzar hacia una adopción más amplia de prácticas. Crear un entorno propicio para el cambio requiere una institucionalización más formal del proceso con el apoyo de los responsables políticos, los donantes, las instituciones de desarrollo y otros actores clave," concluyó Andrieu


    Este trabajo fue financiado por el programa FONTAGRO, la Fundación Agropolis y el Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS), que se lleva a cabo con apoyo de los donantes del Fondo CGIAR y mediante acuerdos de financiación bilaterales. Para más detalles, visite 

    Los puntos de vista y opiniones expresadas en este documento son las de los autores y no reflejan necesariamente las posiciones oficiales de las organizaciones patrocinadoras. CCAFS está dirigido por el Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). Reconocemos a los actores clave que participaron en el proceso, especialmente a los agricultores involucrados en el proyecto por su tiempo, conocimiento y paciencia.

    Socios locales

    Innovation platforms: key spaces for CSA implementation

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Sep 05, 2019.

    Climate change creates different challenges for rural communities. Changes in temperatures and rainfall have already begun to affect the department of Cauca, Colombia, and its rural communities, which have seen how their production systems have been transformed and their food security has been threatened.

    Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), a strategy to increase productivity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve food security, was proposed as a solution for rural communities in northern Cauca, where a Climate-Smart Village (CSV) is located. CSA includes practices such as home gardens, rainwater harvesting, composting, and beans, among others.

    In Cauca, researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) analyzed how farmers, civil authorities, farmers associations and a local NGO built a network in order to enable participatory implementation of CSA, tailored to an area that struggles with climate change and climate variability. The key to their success? An innovation platform.

    An innovation platform is a space to learn, jointly conceive strategies and transform different situations through the improvement of interactions between platform members. 

    A recent journal article, ‘Can an innovation platform support a local process of climate-smart agriculture implementation?’, highlights how this innovation platform fostered collaboration among multiple actors, enabling the successful implementation of CSA at a local level. The researchers explored the social and technical dynamics within the innovation platform by observing the various interactions among the different actors. They also explored common technical practices and how these changed, and assessed the increased knowledge of farmers. 

    The study combined several methodologies, ranging from social network analysis and the analysis of tacit and explicit knowledge, to the analysis of the technical-economic effects of the adoption of CSA practices. In this way, the researchers were able to combine a wide range of social and technical indicators in their analysis of the innovation platform dynamics.

    It is exactly this combination of different social and technical aspects that allows for the successful implementation of CSA practices. As Nadine Andrieu, lead author of the study, explains, “The innovation is not the technology itself; it’s the socio-technical process that favors the adoption of a new technology in a given community. This paper describes the first steps of this innovation process where farmers are adopting different technologies in their home gardens.

    The adoption of new CSA practices was facilitated by the innovation platform, as it served as a space for learning and strategic collaboration among the different actors. The weekly discussions, trainings, on-field experiments and multi-stakeholder collaboration helped to promote the socio-technical process that Andrieu describes above. 

    Changes in farmers' lives 

    The researchers found that farmers’ proactive participation in the platform meetings and the expansion of their knowledge resulted in successful implementation of CSA practices. According to the monitoring results, 90% of the farmers continued to perform the practices prioritized during the first stage of the process. Attendance rates for training sessions also increased significantly from 55% of women and 37% of men in 2015 to 66% of women and 47% of men in 2016. The study concludes that this wide adoption of CSA practices has significantly increased their resilience to the challenges posed by climate change and the resulting extreme events.

    Farmers' knowledge of different topics changed in different ways. For some concepts discussed during the training sessions, including “farm planning” and “climate vulnerability”, farmers demonstrated no change in their understanding. For other concepts, such as “extreme events,” farmers demonstrated a significant change, improving from a low to an intermediate level.

    Importantly, this innovation platform approach can be replicated in other contexts. The most important element is the facilitation of interactions between people with different origins, backgrounds, and interests, to learn, share ideas, and jointly conceive alternative solutions to their problems. Virtual spaces can provide a basis for these interactions.

    "The challenge in such local processes is to broaden dissemination and move towards wider adoption of practices. Creating an enabling environment for change requires a more formal institutionalization of the process with the support of policy makers, donors, development institutions and other stakeholders,” concluded Andrieu.


    This work was funded by the FONTAGRO program, Agropolis Foundation, and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit 

    The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the sponsoring organizations.

    We thank the stakeholders who participated in the process, especially the farmers involved in the project, for their time, knowledge, and patience.

    Local partners

    Desarrollando una nueva teoría de escalamiento

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jul 11, 2019.

    ¿Cómo podemos estimular la adopción de prácticas, tecnologías e información sobre la Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima (ASAC) para apoyar una transición hacia una agricultura más sostenible bajo las nuevas realidades del cambio climático?

    Científicos del Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS) han conceptualizado e implementado la escala de las intervenciones ASAC de varias maneras, intentando superar los desafíos conceptuales, metodológicos y prácticos. Esto no ha sido fácil, como se puede aprender del nuevo documento de trabajo 'Climate-smart-agriculture: in need of a theory of scaling' que examine críticamente cómo CCAFS ha teorizado sobre escalamiento aplicado en la práctica.

    Desde el inicio del programa CCAFS, los agricultores e investigadores han trabajado juntos en todo el mundo para probar las prácticas y tecnologías ASAC a pequeña escala en los llamados Territorios Sostenibles Adaptados al Clima (TeSAC). Se esperaba que estas soluciones locales pudieran escalarse, a través del apoyo de diferentes mecanismos financieros e institucionales, a muchos más agricultores a adoptar las prácticas ASAC.

    Vías de escalamiento

    En términos generales, se han utilizado dos mecanismos de escalamiento: horizontal y vertical. En el escalamiento horizontal, las prácticas ASAC comprobadas en uno o más TeSAC se transfieren de agricultor a agricultor y se promueve una mayor adopción a través de políticas, programas y proyectos. En el escalamiento vertical, los logros de la investigación y las lecciones aprendidas sobre las prácticas ASAC en los TeSAC se transfieren directamente a los tomadores de decisiones con el objetivo de influir en las políticas o lograr cambios institucionales. 

    Estas dos vías de escalamiento se ven muy sencillas en el papel, pero en la práctica, los procesos de implementación están lejos de ser lineales, funcionales y de responder al enfoque de ofertas (de prácticas ASAC). El documento de trabajo proporciona una revisión detallada de los métodos, herramientas y mecanismos de escalamiento de CCAFS utilizados en las vías horizontales y verticales, entre los que se incluyen: fondos comunitarios, análogos, campañas en los medios, estrategias de desarrollo de capacidades, creación de alianzas y el uso de diferentes plataformas.

    “Hasta la fecha, los investigadores de CCAFS parecen haber hecho uso de una visión demasiado simplista del escalamiento (un enfoque simple, lineal y orientado a la oferta) que ignora el hecho de que el desarrollo, la adopción y la adaptación de las tecnologías ASAC son parte de un proceso social y político incrustado en configuraciones y procesos sociales más amplios”, comenta Ronnie Vernooy, uno de los autores del documento de trabajo.

    Es importante tomar en consideración que el escalamiento está influenciado por las competencias existentes, los conflictos y las luchas por los recursos, como la tierra, el capital, las semillas y el conocimiento. Para crear formas innovadoras de escalamiento serán necesarias nuevas formas de acción colectiva, coordinación y cooperación. 

    Diferentes estrategias

    Por lo tanto, el documento de trabajo recomienda "desarrollar una teoría más coherente de escalamiento basada en la sociología, las ciencias políticas y los estudios de género", ofreciendo algunos elementos para el desarrollo de dicha teoría. Por ejemplo, para distinguir un camino a escalar o una fase de diseño, una respuesta a escala o fase de cambio, y una fase de evaluación. En las tres fases, la interacción, la colaboración y la convergencia con y entre los socios durante el escalamiento son esenciales.

    Los investigadores recomiendan que más allá de intervenciones escalables lo que se necesitan son diseños de escalamiento que puedan ser utilizados en situaciones específicas del contexto por grupos que estén interesados y comprometidos a trabajar hacia objetivos comunes. Y que, en lugar de optar por una única estrategia, se podrían incluir múltiples estrategias de escalamiento complementarias.

    Más información:

    Developing a more coherent theory of scaling

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jul 11, 2019.

    How can we stimulate the adoption of practices, technologies and information on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to support a transition to a more sustainable agriculture under the new realities of climate change?

    Researchers of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have conceptualized and implemented the scaling of CSA interventions in a number of ways, attempting to overcome conceptual, methodological and practical challenges. This has not been easy, as can be learnt from the new working paper 'Climate-smart-agriculture: in need of a theory of scaling' that critically examines how CCAFS has theorized about and applied scaling in practice. 

    Since the start of the CCAFS programme, farmers and researchers have worked together across the world to test CSA practices and technologies on a small scale in Climate-Smart Villages (CSV). It was expected that these local solutions could be scaled through the support of different financial and institutional mechanisms, leading to many more farmers adopting CSA practices.

    Scaling pathways

    Broadly speaking, two scaling mechanisms have been used: horizontal and vertical. In horizontal scaling, proven CSA practices in one or more CSVs are transferred from farmer to farmer and further uptake is promoted through policies, programs and projects. In vertical scaling, research achievements and lessons learned about CSA practices in CSVs are transferred directly to key decision-makers with the aim to influence policies or achieve institutional changes. 

    Both these scaling pathways look straightforward on paper, but in practice, implementation processes are far from linear, functional and responsive to the requirements for implementing CSA practices. The working paper provides a detailed review of CCAFS methods, tools and scaling mechanisms used in horizontal and vertical pathways, among which are: community funds, climate analogues, media campaigns, capacity development strategies, alliance building and the use of different platforms.

    “To date, CCAFS researchers seem to have made use of a sometimes overly simplistic view of scaling, that is, a simple, linear, supply driven approach, ignoring the fact that technology development, adoption and adaptation are part of social and political processes embedded in larger societal configurations”, observes Ronnie Vernooy, one of the authors of the working paper.

    It is important to take into consideration that scaling is influenced by existing competition, conflicts and struggles for resources, such as land, capital, seeds and knowledge. To create innovative forms of scaling, new forms of collective action, coordination and cooperation will be necessary.

    Different strategies 

    Therefore the working paper recommends to “develop a more coherent theory of scaling informed by sociology, political science and gender studies", offering some elements for the development of such scaling theory. One recommendation is to distinguish a path to scale or design phase, a response to scale or change phase, and an evaluation phase. In all three phases, interaction, collaboration and convergence with and among scaling partners are essential.

    The researchers recommend that beyond scalable interventions there need to be replicable design principles that can be used in context-specific situations by groups that are interested and committed to work toward common goals. In that case, instead of opting for a single strategy, multiple complementary scaling strategies could be included.

    Read more:

    Participación: clave para la creación de nuevos sistemas agrícolas

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jul 01, 2019.

    Con los desafíos que ha traído el cambio climático a la agricultura, la Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima (ASAC) como posible solución, se ha visto en la necesidad de construir sistemas agrícolas innovadores para favorecer las sinergias entre adaptación, mitigación y un crecimiento sostenible de la productividad.

    Construir espacios que promuevan la interacción entre los agricultores y los actores que sostienen los sistemas agrícolas, se convierte en uno de los puntos clave para facilitar el cambio y hacer posible la innovación a través de procesos participativos que les permitan diseñar y adoptar prácticas para hacerle frente al cambio climático. 

    En un nuevo artículo científico, investigadores del Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS), presentan una nueva metodología para co-diseñar sistemas agrícolas junto a actores clave que les permita alcanzar un escalamiento más amplio.

    Este artículo se basa en las lecciones aprendidas durante una investigación participativa llevada a cabo en Honduras y Colombia, financiado por CCAFS, Fontagro y la Fundación Agropolis.

    Este nuevo método consta de siete pasos para involucrarse en un proceso de co-diseño de sistemas agrícolas adaptados al clima que podrían permitir la implementación a escala:

    Paso 1 - Exploración de la situación inicial Identifica a actores clave locales potencialmente interesados en participar en el proceso, sistemas agrícolas existentes y limitaciones específicas para la implementación de la Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima (ASAC)
    Paso 2 – Co-definición de una plataforma de innovación Define la estructura y las reglas de funcionamiento de una plataforma que favorece la participación de los actores locales en el proceso
    Paso 3 - Diagnóstico compartido Define los principales desafíos que debe resolver la plataforma de innovación
    Paso 4 - Identificación y evaluación ex ante de nuevos sistemas de cultivo Evalúan los rendimientos potenciales de soluciones priorizadas por los miembros de la plataforma de innovación bajo los pilares ASAC
    Paso 5 - Experimentación Prueba las soluciones priorizadas en la granja
    Paso 6 - Evaluación del proceso de co-diseño de sistemas agrícolas adaptados al clima Valida la capacidad del proceso para alcanzar sus objetivos iniciales, particularmente en términos de nuevos sistemas agrícolas, pero también en términos de creación de capacidad
    Paso 7 - Definición de estrategias para ampliar / reducir Aborda el escalamiento del proceso de co-diseño

    Esta metodología les permitirá a los agricultores co-diseñar y adoptar sistemas agrícolas ASAC para abordar los efectos del cambio climático a través de una plataforma de innovación abierta, esto significa definir participativamente los sistemas de cultivo y ganadería e incluirlos en las fincas con las prácticas de manejo asociadas. Al mismo tiempo, trata de abordar la especificidad de un proceso destinado a diseñar sistemas agrícolas adaptados al clima al reducir las compensaciones entre los tres pilares de la ASAC.

    “Dichas concesiones pueden surgir a nivel de finca cuando las prácticas de priorización abordan un pilar y no los otros" (Torquebiau et al. 2018). También pueden surgir en diferentes etapas del proceso de producción y transformación cuando se aplican buenas prácticas de CSA, pero sin considerar las emisiones que pueden ocurrir al transformar tales productos. "Estas compensaciones también pueden ocurrir a nivel de agroecosistema cuando, por ejemplo, la disminución de las emisiones de Gases Efecto Invernadero se realiza a expensas de otros impactos ambientales”, explica Nadine Andrieu, la autora principal del estudio.


    El co-diseño de sistemas agrícolas adaptados al clima requiere de cambios en el conocimiento, cambios técnicos y a nivel institucional pues todo hace parte de un proceso multidimensional y complejo que requiere de un enfoque participativo y de sistemas donde la plataforma de innovación se convierte en el núcleo del proceso. En esta plataforma, se debe tener claro los actores clave que la conforman, sus roles y los objetivos acordados comúnmente.

    “La generación de conocimiento local y científico es un factor clave para identificar soluciones adecuadas para enfrentar el cambio climático, garantizar que el proceso esté en el camino correcto y convencer a los nuevos interesados de ampliar o mejorar sus resultados”, concluye Nadine Andrieu.

    Más información: 

    Participation: key to the creation of new farming systems

    By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jul 01, 2019.

    With the challenges that climate change has brought to agriculture, climate-smart agriculture (CSA)a possible solutionhas seen the need to build innovative farming systems favoring synergies between adaptation, mitigation and sustainable increase in productivity. 

    Building spaces that promote interaction among farmers and the actors that support farming systems, becomes one of the key points to facilitate change and make innovation possible through participatory processes that allow them to design and adopt practices that can address climate change.

    In a new journal article, researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), present a new methodology to co-design farming systems with key actors that allow them to reach a higher scale. This article is based on the lessons learnt during a participatory research carried out in Honduras and Colombia funded by CCAFS, Fontagro and the Agropolis Fondation.

    This new method consists of seven steps to get involved in a process of co-designing climate-smart farming systems that could allow implementation at scale:

    Step 1 - Exploration of the initial situation Identifies local stakeholders potentially interested in being involved in the process, existing farming systems, and specific constraints to the implementation of climate-smart agriculture
    Step 2 – Co-definition of an innovation platform Defines the structure and the rules of functioning for a platform favoring the involvement of local stakeholders in the process
    Step 3 - Shared diagnosis Defines the main challenges to be solved by the innovation platform
    Step 4 - Identification and ex ante assessment of new farming systems Assess the potential performances of solutions prioritized by the members of the innovation platform under CSA pillars
    Step 5 - Experimentation Tests the prioritized solutions on-farm
    Step 6 - Assessment of the co-design process of climate-smart farming systems Validates the ability of the process to reach its initial objectives, particularly in terms of new farming systems but also in terms of capacity building
    Step 7 - Definition of strategies for scaling up/out Addresses the scaling of the co-design process

    This methodology will allow farmers to co-design and adopt CSA farming systems in order to address the effects of climate change through an open innovation platform. This involves defining participatory cropping and livestock systems and including them in their farms with the associated management practices. At the same time, it seeks to address the specification of a process intended to design climate-smart farming systems by reducing the trade-offs between the three pillars of CSA.

    “Such trade-offs may arise at the farm level when prioritizing practices address one pillar and not the others'' (Torquebiau et al. 2018). They may also arise at different steps of the production and transformation process when good CSA practices are applied without considering emissions that may occur when transforming such products. "These trade-offs may also occur at the agroecosystem level when, for example, the decrease in GHG emissions is made at the expense of other environmental impacts”, explains Nadine Andrieu, the lead author of the article.


    The co-design of climate-smart farming systems requires technical changes and changes to the institutional environment, since everything is part of a multidimensional and complex process that requires a participatory approach and systems where the innovation platform becomes the core of the process. In this platform, it’s necessary to be clear about the key actors that comprise it, their roles and the commonly agreed objectives.

    “Generating local and scientific knowledge is a key factor to identify appropriate solutions to tackle climate change, ensure that the process is on the right track, and convince new stakeholders of scaling out/up their results”, concludes Nadine Andrieu.

    Read more:

    Re-assessing the impact assessment of global climate change

    By Sakshi Saini from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jun 18, 2019.

    Read any daily newspaper or follow any news channels, you will surely stumble upon a piece on emerging technology. Each passing day, millennials are being exposed to new innovations, from Elon Musks’ Space X, or machine-learning tools based in the cloud, fostering Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a major factor behind rapid change in lifestyles, technological advancements are making a mark on the ‘information age’. With technological advancement playing such an enormous role in shaping our future, isn’t it imperative to consider technological growth while conducting impact assessments of climate change on agriculture? Or have we just assumed that the impact of climate change will be immune to technological growth?

    A recent study conducted as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), strives to address some of these concerns.

    The study carries out a systematic global review and compares published projections of climate change impacts from 34 studies for the 2020s for maize, rice and wheat at country level with observed and forecasted national crop yields for the same period based on available global crop statistics. Large discrepancies were observed between actual yield changes of 2016 and projected yield changes of 2020. Much to our comfort, the actual yield losses were substantially lower than the projected yield loses. For instance, the projected yield loss without adaptation and technology was calculated as (minus) 9%, but in fact the observed yield shows a steep increase of +106%.

    What are the reasons for this discrepancy? In part, technological improvements appear to have a large yield-enhancing impact compared with the negative effects of climate change, at least in the short term. Confidence in this statement arises from the yield change projections made by International Food Policy Research Institution (IFPRI), which consider technology growth. These projections (+87%) are more in line with the observed yield change (+106%).  

    Caveats to climate change impact assessment

    Highlighting the importance of technology growth as an important factor to be considered while conducting impact assessments of climate change, Pramod Aggarwal, CCAFS South Asia Regional Program Leader and lead author of the paper, said, “most assessments of climate change impacts on crop yields show low-latitude, low and middle-income countries as highly vulnerable, but these countries have shown the largest growth in observed yields over the same reference time period. One of the prime reasons for these discrepancies is incomplete consideration of technological growth in climate impact assessments”. Uncertainties associated with the methodologies used, and regional variations in adaptation options, further add to the incongruities.  

    As the world upholds technological advancement, understanding and making explicit assumptions about technology and technological change in impact assessment of climate change is increasingly important. Climate change in isolation will surely decrease the worlds’ food security, though its impacts will be different depending upon adaptation levels in different places. Technology growth is further enhancing this adaptive capacity. Thus, linking impact assessments to an improved understanding of likely future technological changes and their enabling mechanism is crucial for predicting future impacts accurately. Shalika Vyas, Research Consultant for CCAFS and co-author of the paper, reiterates the importance of integrated impact assessment: "Impact assessments have triggered global climate action. Including likely technological change will make these assessments even more useful for future predictions and scaling-up of much needed adaptation efforts”.

    Read more:

    Will climate change make us go hungry by 2050?

    By Sakshi Saini from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jun 07, 2019.

    May it be a lawsuit filed by 21 young plaintiffs against the United States or the call for a Green New Deal, masses are demanding for concrete action to curb climate change. The world is rallying together for climate action, from school strikes to public awareness campaigns. In the recently released BBC programme “Climate Change - The facts”, Sir David Attenborough highlights the future crisis the world will face if climate change is not tackled. With climate change threatening human existence, this uproar is very well understood; especially when humankind is already struggling for survival due to the lack of resources.  

    Globally, 844 million people lack access to clean water and around 821 million people in the world still lack sufficient food to live a dignified life. Unequal distribution of resources, social constraints, governance challenges and political limitations further add to this plight. In the future, vulnerabilities in agricultural production will exacerbate due to climatic changes. Warming temperature, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events are expected to reduce food production, while rising population will put pressure on the agricultural sector to meet the food demand of the world.  

    To better understand these vulnerabilities and streamline climate action, scientists have been trying to quantify this vulnerability of agriculture to climate change through impact assessments, since the 1980s. Periodic release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have generated huge public interest and influenced policies globally. Many research studies have proliferated since then, quantifying projected climate impacts on agriculture at diverse spatial scales, using various climate and crop models.

    Is adaptation a game changer?

    A recent publication has comprehensively summarized this large body of workdone over last 40 yearsfor the most consumed cereals globally (wheat, rice and maize), with important takeaways for food security. The authors analyzed more than 150 studies published since the 1980s, using meta-analysis technique. The results, highlighting high impacts of climate change on the productivity of rice, wheat and maize, with respective area-weighted global losses reaching up to minus 12%, minus 15% and minus 20% by 2080s, are pressing enough to rally the world to move towards adaptive measures.

    Adaptive measures such as change in planting date, cultivating improved variety, increased nutrient and water application are known to dramatically decrease the negative impacts of climate change. The results after adaptation point out a much smaller net reduction in the productivity loss of rice (-6%), wheat (-4%) and maize (-13%) by 2080, if adaptive measures are employed. Adaptation also brings a level playing field for tropics and developing regions, by equalizing the impacts from climate change across different regions.

    What does this mean for future food security?

    Implemented adaptive measures will lessen productivity losses. However, the paradox might be that global reduction in projected climate impacts after adaptation may invite complacency on the part of nation’s food security policies. It is crucial to understand that even such small impacts may have a disruptive effect on the global food supply. To underline this, the article identified global hotspots of potential food insecurity, by analyzing projected future food demand for the 2050s along with the national food supply. Consequently, most of Africa, South and Central Asia, along with temperate countries in South America and Scandinavia were found to be vulnerable due to both food production gap and the projected negative impacts of climate change.

    These regions have immense food security problems. They have a two-fold crisis: a) their growth rate of food production already lags behind the projected demand and b) future climate change will further disrupt their food supply.”

    Pramod Aggarwal, Regional Program Team Leader, CCAFS

    Figure 1: Hotspots of climate change based on assessments of impacts after adaptation on crop yield at country scale for the 2050s and the food production gap (the difference between 2050 food demand and current food supply)

    Where are we headed?

    Impact assessments on agriculture underline the considerable potential of adaptation in moderating the negative effects of climate change. However, these processes are hard to implement and come with a cost. 

    These adaptation strategies are constrained by the economic, institutional and ecological costs involved. Massive science-guided investments and policy support is required to scale-out adaptation globally. Pathways to sustainable development like climate-smart agriculture may prove to be a more viable alternative than intensive agricultural practices.”

    Bruce Campbell, Program Director, CCAFS

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