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External Food Security News

Grub's up: roasted crickets to go on sale at London food chain

By Rebecca Smithers from Food security | The Guardian. Published on May 13, 2019.

Part of Abokado’s spring menu, insects claimed to be healthy and sustainable food source

It brings a whole new meaning to grabbing some grub for lunch. Roasted crickets are to go on sale this week at outlets of a London snack brand – the first time in the UK edible insects will appear on the regular daily menu at a takeaway food chain.

The crunchy whole crickets, from Eat Grub, will be available in Abokado shops across London from Tuesday as part of the chain’s new spring menu. The sweet chilli and lime-flavoured snack will join its customisable range of toppings for fresh salads, poke bowls and hotpots, and also be available as bagged snacks alongside nuts, edamame and popcorn.

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NEW STUDY: Teen pregnancy still a major challenge in India, strongly linked to child stunting

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on May 10, 2019.

May 15, 2019
Press Release

NEW STUDY: Teen pregnancy still a major challenge in India, strongly linked to child stunting

Study examines links between teen pregnancy and child undernutrition in India.

 

Urgent need to transform food systems for human and planetary health

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

May 11, 2019
Press Statement

Urgent need to transform food systems for human and planetary health

Statement by Shenggen Fan
Director General, IFPRI
G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting, Niigata, Japan
May 11, 2019

Distinguished guests, 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to commend the G20 Agriculture Ministers for recognizing the need to transform our f…

Research: Cash transfer programs can reduce malnutrition from conflict

By pfowlkes from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Apr 30, 2019.

Apr 30, 2019
Press Release

Research: Cash transfer programs can reduce malnutrition from conflict

Washington, D.C. – Cash transfer programs that provide households support for purchasing food have effectively reduced conflict-driven acute malnutrition in Yemen, according to new research from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).…

For low-income countries, climate action pays off by 2050

By dsample from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Apr 29, 2019.

Apr 29, 2019
Press Release

For low-income countries, climate action pays off by 2050

April 29, 2019, Washington, D.C. – Successful global efforts to substantially limit greenhouse gas emissions would likely boost GDP growth of poorer countries over the next 30 years, according to new research published in Climatic Change.

Researchers …

Cyclone Idai: 'My family needs to eat, I don't know how we will survive'

By Tendai Marima in Buzi and Beira from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Apr 25, 2019.

In Mozambique, where many people rely on crops to live, Idai’s impact on two key agricultural areas has been devastating

Marie Jose stares out at her field of broken maize stalks, the cobs yellow and mouldy from days of excessive water followed by weeks of extreme sun. She should have harvested them last month, but Cyclone Idai struck her village in Buzi district, in central Mozambique, and destroyed them all.

She is still dealing with the trauma of losing her grandparents and niece to the tropical storm. “They couldn’t hold on in the trees where we were sitting and the wind pushed them into the water,” she says. Their bodies are still missing.

Related: 'The water took everything': Buzi evacuees tell of Cyclone Idai ordeal

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'I don't know how my children will survive': Zimbabwe in crisis | Nyasha Chingono

By Nyasha Chingono from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Apr 19, 2019.

Cyclone Idai washed away the crops that survived a savage drought, leaving 70% of the population in dire need of food

Mutemarare, 61, walks through his corn field, desperately looking for remnants of maize.

He’s not expecting to find any, as most of his crop wilted before reaching maturity, the result of the devastating drought that has hit Zimbabwe.

Related: Mozambique: reporting from a disaster zone - podcast

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IFPRI Signs MoU with Indonesia’s Ministry of Planning

By dsample from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Apr 12, 2019.

Apr 12, 2019
Press Announcement

IFPRI Signs MoU with Indonesia’s Ministry of Planning

April 12, 2019, Washington, D.C. – The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) of Indonesia today affirmed their commitment to eliminating hu…

US-China soy trade war could destroy 13 million hectares of rainforest

By Jonathan Watts from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 27, 2019.

Study suggests Brazil likely to rush to fill China’s sudden soy shortfall by boosting farming

The Amazon rainforest could be the greatest casualty of the trade war between the United States and China, warns a new study showing how deforestation pressures have surged as a result of the geopolitical jolt in global soy markets.

Up to 13m hectares of forest and savannah – an area the size of Greece – would have to be cleared if Brazil and other exporters were to fill the huge shortfall in soy supply to China that has suddenly appeared since Donald Trump imposed hefty tariffs, according to the paper published in Nature.

US exports of the commodity, primarily used to feed livestock, to China plummeted by 50% last year, which the authors say is an unusually sharp level of decline between two trading partners outside wartime.

Related: China promises 'necessary response' to US tariffs as trade war fears grow

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2019 Global Food Policy Report: Media Factsheet

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 25, 2019.

Mar 27, 2019
Media Factsheet

2019 Global Food Policy Report: Media Factsheet

The below facts and figures can be of use for reporting on issues on the challenges and opportunities of rural revitalization. The 2019 Global Food Policy Report highlights the urgency of rural revitalization to address the crisis in rural areas. Polic…

'The country could fall apart': drought and despair in Afghanistan

By Rebecca Ratcliffe in Herat from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Mar 25, 2019.

As a funding appeal languishes, conflict, poverty and the worst drought for a decade have left millions facing desperate hunger

Shafiqa watches closely over her six-month-old niece. Lying on a bundle of fabric, Maryam’s legs jut out, thin and pale. When they arrived at hospital two weeks ago, she could hardly breathe. Her body was swollen with malnutrition, her lips and fingers were blue.

There are 24 children being treated at Mofleh paediatric hospital’s malnutrition ward, on the outskirts of Herat city, western Afghanistan. Mothers and aunts lean next to hospital beds, some rocking tiny babies back and forth.

Related: 'Chilling reality': Afghanistan suffers worst floods in seven years

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2019 Global Food Policy Report: Crises in Rural Areas Threatens Progress in Hunger, Poverty Reduction; Urgent Need for Rural Revitalization, Strong Policies and Accountability

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 22, 2019.

Mar 27, 2019
Press Release

2019 Global Food Policy Report: Crises in Rural Areas Threatens Progress in Hunger, Poverty Reduction; Urgent Need for Rural Revitalization, Strong Policies and Accountability

Washington, D.C.: Marked by deepening cycle of hunger and malnutrition, persistent poverty, limited economic opportunities, and environmental degradation, rural areas continue to be in a state of crisis in many parts of the world, threatening to slow t…

Shahidur Rashid appointed Director for South Asia

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 13, 2019.

Mar 13, 2019
Press Announcement

Shahidur Rashid appointed Director for South Asia

Shahidur Rashid succeeds Pramod Joshi as the new Director for South Asia based in New Delhi

Project to Improve Tilapia Seed Launched in Accra

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 08, 2019.

Mar 1, 2019
Press Release

Project to Improve Tilapia Seed Launched in Accra

Washington, D.C.: Over the past decade, Ghana’s tilapia farming has experienced tremendous growth in production, contributing to improved incomes for the industry and animal protein for consumers (according to a 2018 study by the International Food Pol…

NEW STUDY: Air pollution from India’s stubble burning leads to USD 35 billion economic losses, poses significant health risk

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Mar 01, 2019.

Mar 4, 2019
Press Release

NEW STUDY: Air pollution from India’s stubble burning leads to USD 35 billion economic losses, poses significant health risk

  • Three-fold risk increase of respiratory diseases from crop residue burning  
  • Economic loss estimated to be nearly USD 35 billion annually

New Delhi: Living in districts with air pollution from intense crop residue burning (CRB) is a leading risk factor…

World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity

By Jonathan Watts Global environment editor from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 21, 2019.

Plants, insects and organisms crucial to food production in steep decline, says UN

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates.

The stark warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world as farms, cities and factories gobble up land and pump out chemicals.

Related: The way we eat is killing us – and the planet | Felicity Lawrence

Related: Climate change driving up malnutrition rates in Pacific, UN warns

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How the vegan food trend made a star of the pungent jackfruit

By Michael Safi from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Feb 16, 2019.

The easy-to-grow crop has the potential to be much more than just a fashionable alternative to meat in the west

Lush, densely forested Kerala, the exuberantly green south Indian state sometimes called “God’s own country”, is exactly the kind of place you would expect to produce a superfood. It just wouldn’t be the jackfruit.

Covered in spikes and emitting a stench of rotting onions, jackfruit can balloon to an ungainly 45kg, and its inside is coated in a thick gum that stains axes, machetes or whatever heavy-duty tool is employed to attack its leathery shell.

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Supermarkets say Brexit could empty shelves. That's a risk they chose to run | Andrew Simms

By Andrew Simms from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jan 31, 2019.

The big retailers’ business model has made food shortages more likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit

“The shops will be empty” and “the lights will go out” are the staple warnings of commercial interests that have an axe to grind or are looking for public support. But the letter this week from store bosses sounding an alert about the impact of a no-deal Brexithas added irony when delivered by some of Britain’s biggest supermarket retailers, whose centralised business model has done much to hollow out the economy, making it so vulnerable in the first place.

Related: No-deal Brexit would mean shortages and price rises, say retailers

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The miracle method for sustainable rice – and bigger harvests | John Vidal

By John Vidal in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jan 30, 2019.

A technique developed by a Jesuit priest is producing bumper crops – and reducing emissions of a grain responsible for 1.5% of greenhouse gases

The fragrant jasmine rice growing on the left side of Kreaougkra Junpeng’s five-acre field stands nearly five feet tall.

Each plant has 15 or more tillers, or stalks, and the grains hang heavy from them. The Thai farmer says this will be his best-ever harvest in 30 years and he will reap it four weeks earlier than usual.

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‘It’s God’s plan’: the man who dreams of bringing intensive chicken farming to Africa

By John Vidal from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Dec 27, 2018.

A US mega-farm, a Christian backer and Africa’s oldest industrial chicken producer are bringing the world’s super birds to reform central Africa’s food market and feed the poor

On the evening of 7 August 2018, a KLM charter flight left Amsterdam, landing 11 hours later at Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania. Its young occupants were nodded through immigration and driven 50 miles to their new home, close to some of Africa’s most famous game parks.

These were no tourists hoping to see lions in the nearby Serengeti. The 2,320 little cockerels and 17,208 hens on the plane were a flock of European-bred pedigree Cobb 500 chickens, the world’s most popular breed. Their destination: a remote 200-hectare mega-farm under construction in the windy foothills of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.

There are probably far more Cobb 500s alive than there are humans

Irvine’s $20m farm and hatchery in Dar es Salaam

From top left: young Cobb chicks drink from a mechanical water dispenser; each room contains about 9,000 birds; herding chicks to keep them from crowding in groups; repairing the mechanical chicken feeder

Locally grown chickens in a market in Arusha, Tanzania

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'This is hell': devastated Congolese village embodies country's crisis

By Jason Burke in Cianciamka from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Dec 19, 2018.

Wracked by disease and hunger, and forgotten by the state, survivors of a rebel raid on Cianciamka struggle to survive

At the end of the gravel road is a dirt track. At the end of the track is a muddy trail leading through the scrub. At the end of the trail is the village – or, more accurately, the place where the village was before the rebels came.

There was little warning, just shouts and shots shortly after dawn. Most of the thousand or so inhabitants of Cianciamka grabbed their children, a spoon and a cooking pot and escaped into the forest. Some were too slow and were killed, or forcibly enlisted as fighters and porters.

Related: The 10 places in crisis the world chooses to ignore – in pictures

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Invest in Africa's youth before migration to Europe doubles, says UN official

By Hannah Summers from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Dec 05, 2018.

With continent’s population set to soar, agriculture chief Gilbert Houngbo stresses need to make rural life profitable

Economic migration from Africa to Europe driven by poverty could double in the next decade unless urgent investment is made in job creation for young people in rural areas, the head of a UN financial body has warned.

The global population is forecast to reach 9.9 billion by 2050 – a 29% increase – with most of that growth in Africa, where the population is expected to double to 2.6 billion.

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Take back control – could self-sufficiency be the answer to a no-deal Brexit?

By Rebecca Schiller from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Dec 03, 2018.

I moved with my husband and kids to rural Kent to try to grow our own food to alleviate even the harshest crisis next year. Unfortunately, crops are as complicated as the latest withdrawal agreement

In January 2017, my husband, Jared, and I moved our family from a semi in Ramsgate to a ramshackle house in rural Kent that came with two acres of mud. Our desire for change was born of the political, social and environmental turmoil. There was certainly a naive pursuit of the good life, but we were also reeling from the outcome of the Brexit referendum and feeling sick about Trump’s presidency. We needed a personal survival plan.

In the face of a world shifting in a direction we could no longer understand, predict or rely on (and despite having no practical skills or experience), we sought a shared vocation that was less tied to systems and structures that appeared to be wobbling. We planned to grow and raise some of our own food and – as wildfires, floods and landslides hinted at the impact of climate change – move towards a more sustainable way of life. It felt like a personal resistance that would be good for our family life and physical and mental health, as well as teaching us new skills.

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UK pledges £35m to Afghanistan as food crisis worsens

By Rod Austin from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Nov 27, 2018.

Severe food insecurity is predicted to affect almost half of the country’s rural population by early next year

The UK government has announced £35m of new funding to help the growing crisis in Afghanistan as a new report warns that almost half of the rural population – 10.6 million people – are likely to be affected by severe food insecurity.

The report, by independent multi-agency body the IPC, highlighted the spread of conflict and the ongoing drought which has displaced over 250,000 people, impacting Afghan incomes and leading to widespread malnutrition among children. Coupled with high food prices, there is significant cause to believe that extensive suffering could lead the country deeper into a humanitarian crisis. In a country where 20 million people rely on farming, the drought has caused a 45% drop in agricultural output this year, according to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture.

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Goatlanta: why exactly are there so many goats here anyway?

By Arwa Mahdawi from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Oct 25, 2018.

Hint: it has a lot to do with invasive plant life and Atlanta’s infamous ‘food desert’ problem. And yoga

Romeo would not take his eyes off me. This was flattering to begin with but then he kept trying to rub his head against my leg. Which would also have been cute except for the fact he stank. “He’s in rut and wants to breed,” his owner informs me. “Don’t get too close. When goats are in rut they urinate all over themselves and you really don’t want to get that smell on you.”

I hadn’t expected to meet a horny goat called Romeo during my visit to Atlanta. I hadn’t expect to meet any goats at all. Atlanta is, after all, famous for things like hip-hop and Coca-Cola, not cloven-hoofed mammals. But that may be changing. Atlanta is intent on transforming itself into a truly sustainable city and a rapidly growing city farms movement is afoot in the southern metropolis. “By 2025, we want to develop a resilient local food system and institutionalize urban agriculture,” says Amol Naik, Atlanta’s chief resilience officer. Goats, it turns out, are playing an important part in helping Atlanta achieve these goals.

Related: Atlanta's food deserts leave its poorest citizens stranded and struggling

Romeo will not be participating in the next goat yoga session, Evans informs me, 'because of his incredible stank'

Related: #weloveatl: how Instagram fell in love with Atlanta – in pictures

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Plague of caterpillars threatening food crisis may be halted with safe pesticides

By Rebecca Ratcliffe from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Oct 23, 2018.

Study suggests biopesticides should be trialled to control the march of armyworm that’s destroying crops across the continent

Experts have identified safer, effective pesticides they believe can control a plague of caterpillars that is devastating crops across Africa.

Many farmers are attempting to control armyworm – a pest that feasts on maize, rice and sugarcane – through the use of highly hazardous pesticides. But researchers warn such chemicals risk severe harm to health and to the environment, and that farmers should be offered sustainable alternatives.

Related: Armyworms: The hungry caterpillar threatening a global food crisis

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UK appoints food supplies minister amid fears of no-deal Brexit

By Sarah Butler from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 26, 2018.

MP David Rutley, an ex-Asda and PepsiCo executive, will oversee protection of supplies

The government has appointed a minister to oversee the protection of food supplies through the Brexit process amid rising concerns about the effect of a no-deal departure from the European Union.

Related: Customs delays of 30 minutes will bankrupt one in 10 firms, say bosses

Related: May to face pressure to ditch Chequers plan in cabinet showdown

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Climate change driving up malnutrition rates in Pacific, UN warns

By Ben Doherty from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 12, 2018.

Climate-sensitive region the only in the world where rate of undernourishment has risen over the past 12 years

Climate change is making people hungry – with nearly 100 million people across the world needing humanitarian food aid because of climate shocks last year – and a growing number of people are malnourished across the Pacific, a new United Nations report says.

Last week, the Pacific Islands Forum stated formally that climate change represented the “single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific” – a declaration Australia ultimately signed but had spent much of the forum attempting to undermine.

Related: Australia relationship with Pacific on climate change 'dysfunctional' and 'abusive'

Fighting the causes of climate change are crucial in the global effort to reduce hunger

Related: Australia’s authority in Pacific 'being eroded by refusal to address climate change'

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Starvation: a weapon of war that could kill 590,000 children by the end of 2018

By Karen McVeigh from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 10, 2018.

Save the Children says two thirds of infants in conflict zones are not being treated for life-threatening hunger

Starvation being used as a weapon of war has become the new normal, according to Save the Children. Its analysis shows more than half a million infants in conflict zones could die of malnutrition by the end of the year if they do not receive treatment, the equivalent of one every minute.

The charity makes its own estimates using UN data, and projects that 4.5 million under-fives will need treatment for life-threatening hunger this year in the most dangerous conflict zones – an increase of 20% since 2016. At current rates, only one in three will receive treatment, and 590,000 could die as a result.

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Food waste: alarming rise will see 66 tonnes thrown away every second

By Rebecca Ratcliffe from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 20, 2018.

New analysis warns food loss is set to increase by a third by 2030 unless urgent action is taken

The amount of food that is wasted each year will rise by a third by 2030, when 2.1bn tonnes will either be lost or thrown away, equivalent to 66 tonnes per second, according to new analysis.

The report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) warns that the global response to food waste is fragmented and inadequate, and that the problem is growing at an alarming rate.

Related: Want to save the world from hunger? Start by not wasting food, shoppers told

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Fracking industry advances with phase one exploratory applications in South Africa

By SusanClark from News. Published on Oct 20, 2017.

Fracking industry advances with phase one exploratory applications in South Africa
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SusanClark 20th October 2017
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What the closure of a small Suffolk factory says about the future of the automotive industry

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 30, 2017.

What the closure of a small Suffolk factory says about the future of the automotive industry
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brendan 30th August 2017
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Digging yourself a hole: how Australia is keeping coal current

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 30, 2017.

Digging yourself a hole: how Australia is keeping coal current
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brendan 30th August 2017
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How a circular economy can help prevent a global water crisis

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 29, 2017.

How a circular economy can help prevent a global water crisis
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brendan 29th August 2017
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Is Hurricane Harvey a harbinger for America’s future?

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 29, 2017.

Is Hurricane Harvey a harbinger for America’s future?
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brendan 29th August 2017
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New report says electric cars will dramatically improve Britain's energy security

By SusanClark from News. Published on Aug 25, 2017.

New report says electric cars will dramatically improve Britain's energy security
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SusanClark 25th August 2017
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Climate change could tarnish the flavour of cava, study suggests

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 23, 2017.

Climate change could tarnish the flavour of cava, study suggests
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brendan 23rd August 2017
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How to win the climate wars – talk about local ‘pollution’ not global warming

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 23, 2017.

How to win the climate wars – talk about local ‘pollution’ not global warming
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Ecologist Special Report: The Al Hima Revival

By SusanClark from News. Published on Aug 22, 2017.

Ecologist Special Report: The Al Hima Revival
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Dealing with climate migration: 'what matters are our actions'

By brendan from News. Published on Aug 21, 2017.

Dealing with climate migration: 'what matters are our actions'
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brendan 21st August 2017
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Fin del Mandato: Una mirada retrospectiva y prospectiva

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Jun 04, 2014.

[3 de junio de 2014] GINEBRA – El 30 de mayo, Olivier De Schutter finalizó su segundo mandato como Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre el derecho a la alimentación. Olivier asumió el cargo el 1 de mayo de 2008 y su mandato fue renovado por otros tres años en 2011.

Unhealthy diets greater threat to health than tobacco; UN expert calls for global regulation

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on May 19, 2014.

[19 May 2014] GENEVA – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, called today for a new global agreement to regulate unhealthy diets.

Governments should use public purse to ‘buy justice’ in food systems – UN right to food expert

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on May 15, 2014.

[15 May 2014] GENEVA – Governments must exploit the full potential of public food purchasing in order to make food systems fairer and more sustainable, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, urged Thursday.

La democracia y la diversidad pueden subsanar sistemas alimentarios rotos

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Mar 09, 2014.

[10 de marzo de 2014] GINEBRA – El Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre el derecho a la alimentación, Olivier De Schutter, hizo hoy un llamamiento para que se rediseñen de forma radical y democrática los sistemas alimentarios mundiales de forma que garanticen el derecho humano a una alimentación adecuada y el derecho fundamental de toda persona a no padecer hambre.

Registration opens for landmark conference on the transition to sustainable societies: EU5P

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Jan 28, 2014.

[29 January 2014] BRUSSELS – Olivier De Schutter is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Francqui International Conference on "Europe's Fifth Project" (EU5P), taking place on 8-9 May 2014 at the Palais des Académies in Brussels. Those interested in attending are invited to consult the full programme, which is now available.

UN right to food expert: “As Malaysia rises to ‘high-income status’, it must focus on the most vulnerable”

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Dec 17, 2013.

[18 December 2013] KUALA LUMPUR – “As it moves towards becoming a high-income country, Malaysia must ensure that growth is not achieved at the expense of the environment and the rights of vulnerable groups in society, such as the indigenous communities and migrant workers,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, said today at the end of his first official visit to the country.

“Bali package must allow ambitious food security policies” – UN expert on WTO Summit

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Dec 02, 2013.

GENEVA (2 December 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, today called for developing countries to be granted the freedom to use food reserves to help secure the right to food, without the threat of sanctions under current World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

The EU's Fifth Project: Transitional Governance in the Service of Sustainable Societies

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Nov 19, 2013.

[19 November 2013] BRUSSELS – "We need alternatives to GDP growth as the goal of public policy, and we need alternatives to work and wealth accumulation as the driving forces in our lives. A genuine transition in the way we live is the only true path to sustainability. But it must be accompanied by a transition in the way we govern. This is Europe’s fifth project.”

UN expert praises Africa’s commitment to “the right to adequate food”

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Oct 30, 2013.

[30 October 2013] GENEVA – The African Union is sending an important signal by using this year’s Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (Africa Day) to buttress the concept of the “right to adequate food” as an organizing framework for policies and strategies to address food and nutrition insecurity in Africa.

"El derecho a la alimentación ya no es un derecho olvidado" – el Relator Especial de la ONU elogia una década de progreso

By nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be (Nick Jacobs) from Biocombustibles - Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Published on Oct 24, 2013.

[25 de octubre de 2013] NEW YORK / GINEBRA – En su informe final ante la Asamblea General de la ONU, el Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho a la Alimentación, Olivier De Schutter, ha acogido con satisfacción "el resurgimiento de los derechos" que ha podido seguir atentamente en todo el mundo durante la última década.

Policies of hope: Promoting climate resilient technologies

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on May 09, 2019.

Lush green farms of paddy or wheat, although a much-desired scenery for an agrarian economy like India, are one of the prime causes of increased vulnerability in the agricultural sector. This irony arises from their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which in turn increases the likelihood of warming temperature, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events. These changes in turn directly impact agricultural systems.

This two-way relationship, where agricultural activities contribute to climate change and climate change in turn adversely impacts agricultural production and farmers’ income, has also been recognized by the Paris Agreement. In the agreement, as part of a mitigation strategy, agricultural emissions are proposed to be curtailed, while agricultural adaptation mechanisms are promoted to enhance adaptive capacities and ensure sustained food production. To fulfil this twin role, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has emerged as an inevitability for India where more than 20% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Ray of hope

India, being a developing country, has not made any commitments to the Conference of the Parties (COP) on reducing its agricultural GHG emissions. Yet, its agricultural policies over the last few years have been striving to enhance the resilience of agriculture to climate change.

A recent analysis of nine agricultural policies in India, conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as a part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), points out that the Government of India (GoI) has been inadvertently spending 15% of the total agricultural expenditure on climate-smart agriculture. The government of India unintentionally committed an investment of 12.12 billion USD between 2012 and 2017 towards the promotion of CSA, as part of their agricultural programs. This budgetary allocation might set precedent to promoting CSA centered policies in the future as well as supporting the GoI to fulfill its commitment made at COP21.

An in-depth review of programs, such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Plan, PMKSY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and Rasthrya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), highlights that significant support is being offered to the promotion of climate-smart technology adoption. A total of nine such centrally sponsored agricultural programs of the Government of India were evaluated.

These nine programs together save almost 2% irrigation water, 3% fossil fuel, 6% fertilizer as compared to the usage while employing traditional agricultural practices and they also increase farmers’ income by 8.4%. Cumulative effect of these polices results in 3% reduction in GHG emissions. Present data has been brought to surface by a review of these nine centrally sponsored schemes of GoI, in accordance with the six pillars of CSA namely; water-smart, energy-smart, nitrogen-smart, crop-smart, knowledge-smart and weather-smart. The review also shows policy implications for both adaptation to climate change and mitigation of GHG emissions by means of savings done in water use, energy use, fertilizer use, farmers’ income and GHG emissions from the agriculture sector.

Upholding support and investment

Substantial financial support as part of the centrally sponsored schemes strives to work at the junction of all three aspects of CSA; increasing farm productivity and farmers’ income; adapting agriculture to changing weather patterns; and capitalizing on mitigation options available in the agricultural sector. It is being speculated that this investment will further attract investments from other stakeholders, though, the question of efficient use of these allocated resources always worries the practitioners.

In addition, policy visioning, rationalizing and converging these centrally sponsored programs with the state programs becomes vital for a diverse country like India, where nearly half the population depends on climate-sensitive occupations, like agriculture, as the source of livelihood. Furthermore, expanding or at least sustaining existing financial commitments to promote CSA should become an imperative action plan for the Government of India.

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Trees in Latin American silvopastoral systems are a powerful mitigation resource

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on May 08, 2019.

Silvopastoral systems are land-use practices in which trees are integrated into livestock production. Their potential for carbon sequestration has long been recognized in principle, but much neglected in practice. A recent report by 31 leading Latin American specialists in silvopastoral systems and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) framework now offers guidance on how to fill this gap.

The lead author, World Agroforestry’s (ICRAF) Marta Suber, comments, “in Latin America, silvopastoral systems are widespread and traditional way of land-use. We believe that our report will be key to ‘putting them on the map’ with regard to countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement. Right now, they’re pretty much invisible.” 

“The problem is two-fold,” adds Juan David Turriago, designer of the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) MRV system for the greenhouse gases national inventory of Colombia for the Institute of Environmental Studies (IDEAM) in charge of the national MRV. “First, a lot of the time these systems and the trees in them are simply not taken into account. Second, even when they are recognized, the guidance on how to account for them is not up to the job.”

Most Latin America countries have identified the livestock sector as a priority for mitigation actions. However, effective action will depend very much on correction of the deficiencies in the MRV of silvopastoral systems.

If you can’t define it, then you can’t ‘MRV it’

Only five Latin American countries have official definitions of silvopastoral systems. Furthermore, some officially recognized land use types may or may not include them, adding to the potential for both omissions and double-counting. A key priority for the report was therefore to establish criteria for the inclusion of silvopastoral systems in national MRV systems. Two conditions were identified:

  • The inclusion of animals, pastures, and trees in the same productive area
  • The areas in question must be ‘transformed ecosystems’, i.e. not natural, pristine forests

The report provides guidance on the ‘how to’ of MRV of silvopastoral systems, including a decision-tree and a region-specific roadmap outlinining the choices and steps required to include them within national MRV systems.

Early impact

The report’s findings were already put to use in a high-level workshop on the design of the national Land Covers, Land Uses and Ecosystems Monitoring System (SIMOCUTE) in Costa Rica. Workshop participant Mauricio Chacón, leader of the national Low Emission Livestock Strategy and the Livestock Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) of Costa Rica, comments, “the report was really useful to us—we’ve already agreed on a follow-up workshop to work on descriptors that we can use for the Costa Rican Livestock NAMA and, under the same MRV principles applicable also to agroforestry, expand to the Coffee NAMA too.”

Looking to the future

The co-authors of the report, together with other experts, have come together in a regional network of technical experts interested in ensuring that their countries’ climate-change strategies take into account the contribution of silvopastoral systems to mitigation.

In this regard, Jacobo Arango, scientist from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and leader of the LivestockPlus project, said: "We are very pleased with the collective product of this MRV network in Latin America we have established and we are aiming to continue the work during 2019 and beyond with the support of the Livestock project and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)".

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Acknowledgments

The report Mitigation with Silvopastoral Systems in Latin America is the product of a participatory, multi-actor process led by World Agroforestry (ICRAF) scientists as part of the LivestockPlus of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Árboles en los sistemas silvopastoriles latinoamericanos son un poderoso recurso de mitigación

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on May 08, 2019.

Los sistemas silvopastoriles son prácticas de uso de la tierra en las que los árboles se integran en la producción ganadera. Su potencial para el secuestro de carbono ha sido reconocido en principio, pero muy descuidado en la práctica. Un reciente informe realizado por 31 especialistas latinoamericanos líderes en sistemas silvopastoriles, en el marco de Monitoreo, Reporte y Verificación (MRV) de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC), ofrece una guía sobre cómo llenar este vacío.

La autora principal del estudio, Marta Suber, del Centro Mundial de Agroforestería (ICRAF), comenta que “en América Latina, los sistemas silvopastoriles son de uso generalizado y tradicional de la tierra. Creemos que nuestro informe será clave para "ponerlos en el mapa" con respecto a los compromisos de los países en virtud del Acuerdo de París. En este momento, son prácticamente invisibles”. 

"El problema es doble", agrega Juan David Turriago, diseñador del sistema de Agricultura, silvicultura y otros usos de la tierra (AFOLU) MRV para el inventario nacional de gases de efecto invernadero de Colombia del IDEAM a cargo del MRV nacional. “Primero, muchas veces estos sistemas y los árboles en ellos simplemente no se toman en cuenta. En segundo lugar, incluso cuando son reconocidos, la guía sobre cómo tomarlos en cuenta no está a la altura del trabajo”.

La mayoría de los países de América Latina han identificado el sector ganadero como una prioridad para las acciones de mitigación. Sin embargo, la acción efectiva dependerá mucho de la corrección de las deficiencias en el MRV de los sistemas silvopastoriles.

Si no puedes definirlo, entonces no puedes "MRV"

Sólo cinco países latinoamericanos tienen definiciones oficiales de sistemas silvopastoriles. Además, algunos tipos de uso de la tierra reconocidos oficialmente pueden incluirlos o no, lo que aumenta el potencial tanto de omisiones como de conteo doble. Por lo tanto, una prioridad clave para el informe fue establecer criterios para la inclusión de sistemas silvopastoriles en los sistemas nacionales de MRV. Se identificaron dos condiciones:

  • La inclusión de animales, pastos y árboles en la misma zona productiva.
  • Que las áreas en cuestión deben ser 'ecosistemas transformados', es decir, no bosques naturales, prístinos

El informe proporciona orientación sobre el "cómo" del MRV de los sistemas silvopastorales, incluido un árbol de decisiones y una hoja de ruta específica de la región que describe las opciones y los pasos necesarios para incluirlos en los sistemas nacionales de MRV.

Impacto temprano

Los hallazgos del informe ya se utilizaron en un taller de alto nivel sobre el diseño del Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo de Coberturas, Usos de la Tierra y Ecosistemas (SIMOCUTE) en Costa Rica. El participante Mauricio Chacón, líder de la Estrategia Nacional de Ganadería de Baja Emisión y el NAMA Ganadero de Costa Rica, comenta: "El informe fue realmente útil para nosotros; ya hemos acordado un taller de seguimiento para trabajar en los descriptores que podemos usar para el NAMA de Ganadería de Costa Rica y, bajo los mismos principios de MRV aplicables también a la agrosilvicultura, se expande también al NAMA de Café".

Mirando hacia el futuro

Los coautores del informe, junto con otros expertos, se han unido en una red regional de expertos técnicos interesados en asegurar que las estrategias de cambio climático de sus países tengan en cuenta la contribución de los sistemas silvopastoriles a la mitigación.

En este sentido, Jacobo Arango, científico del Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) y líder del proyecto LivestockPlus, dijo: "Estamos muy satisfechos con el producto colectivo de esta red de MRV en América Latina que hemos establecido y apuntamos a continuar el trabajo durante 2019 y más allá con el apoyo de los CRP de Ganadería y del Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS)”.

Más información:


Reconocimiento

El informe Mitigación con sistemas silvopastoriles en América Latina es el producto de un proceso participativo y de múltiples actores liderado por científicos de World Agroforestry (ICRAF) como parte del proyecto LivestockPlus del Programa de Investigación de CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS).

Why ’gender mainstreaming’ isn’t sufficient for advancing gender equality

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

The declaration of the 4th World Conference on Women, known as the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, instituted ‘gender mainstreaming’ as the new standard that governments and organizations would follow to address gender issues globally. It has been widely adopted in national policies.

Agriculture is a fundamental part of women’s livelihoods globally, most markedly in least developed countries, where four-fifths of economically active women report agriculture as their primary economic activity. At the same time women farmers have less access to productive inputs and resources to improve returns from their farming activities and to meet the challenges of climate change. Policies, institutions and services to help farmers develop new approaches to deal with climate change will need to produce results for women farmers as well as men (Huyer et al. 2015).

Using Uganda as a case study, we examined what happens to gender issues in agriculture and climate change adaptation when they are mainstreamed and domesticated in different governance levels (i.e. national, district and sub-county). The findings suggest that it's fundamental to focus on policy discourses and instruments that are being implemented in national and sub-national governance levels. This way we can understand their links to the global discourse and how they can produce policy change.

Absence of gender in the climate discourse

We looked at national and sub-national policy documents that are in line with international norms on gender mainstreaming. All of these documents incorporated certain references to gender issues. In the sub-national development plans reviewed, gender issues were listed as one of the development priorities and were given a prominent place throughout the document.

The domestication of gender mainstreaming in the climate change discourse in Uganda involved instances of neglecting certain gender discourses in sub-national policy documents. We found a progressive disappearance of gender in climate change discourse as it translated to lower governance levels. The discourse was prominent in Uganda's national policies, with key national policies including gender connotations. At the same time, in the district policies, the climate discourse, which was generally present, presented very limited gender connotations. The sub-county development plans presented a total absence of any gendered climate change discourse: only 38% of the plans considered climate change issues, and in none of these instances was gender mentioned. When climate change was acknowledged as a constraint to sub-county development and a matter that needed urgent adaptation and mitigation strategies, it was disentangled from gender; farmers were mentioned in general without consideration of gendered effects or the need to consider gender issues when designing climate change policies. Gender issues in climate change adaptation and mitigation processes were in this way neglected from sub-county policymaking processes.

Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Uganda's Parliament, at a CCAFS high-level meeting held in 2016 to present findings on gender and climate change. Photo: O. Nansamba (IITA)

The absence of gender considerations in the climate change discourse at sub-county level and the very limited gendered discourse at district level exemplify the disconnect between national and sub-national policymaking. The translation of gender mainstreaming in climate change discourse was in this way neglected as the norm advanced through the different levels of policy-making. At the local level, where climate-specific interventions are to be implemented, the gendered discourses largely disappeared. Here, gender issues were left unproblematized and excluded from policy considerations and this way rendering gender in climate change discourse unpoliticized.

Dealing with local gender dynamics

The global norm of gender mainstreaming has over the years influenced national policymaking and has been helpful in gaining legitimacy and public awareness on gender equality. However, the study shows that the formulation of the global strategy is not sufficient in dealing with highly localized and context-specific gender dynamics and structurally embedded gender inequalities. Governments and development organizations will likely need to put in place other strategies for its success, such as placing a stronger focus on promising practices already shaping gender relations in specific territories, increasing the attention to women's rights movements or establishing stronger monitoring and evaluation processes of gender transformative programs. However, for this to succeed, it will require willingness for gender transformative change and strong gender analysis capabilities from policymakers at all levels.

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Maize productivity must increase four-fold to meet growing demand in Africa; implications for low emissions development?

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Apr 25, 2019.

Using data from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria in West Africa and from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in East Africa, our research shows that average production of 1.7 t/ha of maize in 2010 must increase to 6.8 t/ha to meet estimated demand in 2050.  

To achieve this, per-hectare maize output must grow by about 3.5% per year, a rate never witnessed at national or supra-national scales anywhere in the world in rainfed agriculture.

Corresponding nutrient inputs must grow by over 7% annually to prevent further soil depletion and degradation.

Are such yield increases possible? 

Our answer is a resounding yes. Using the Global Yield Gap Atlas, we calculated an average rainfed yield ceiling of 9.2 t/ha for maize across the nine countries, with area-weighted country averages ranging from 6 t/ha in Tanzania to over 12 t/ha in Ethiopia.

On average, current maize yields are 20% of rainfed potential. They need to increase to 75% of rainfed potential to achieve regional self-sufficiency by 2050.

In one of our scenarios, we presume that countries trade maize within West or East Africa; and that maize would replace other cereals in the diet in cases where production of those cereals cannot meet consumers’ demand, as shown in the figure below. Management of maize will need to radically increase in efficiency.

Scenario in which maize target yields and corresponding nitrogen input requirements meet self-sufficiency in 2050 for West Afica and East Africa. (Adapted from Figure 4 in ten Berge et al.

Target yields and corresponding minimum nutrient input requirements 

Conventional maize production techniques in much of the nine countries rapidly deplete soil nutrients. Future food demands will aggravate this. Even sustaining 2010 average yields into the future will require at least three times more nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) input than is currently used, according to statistics from FAO. Current average potassium inputs are negligible, and must increase steeply to avoid future soil depletion. 

Figure 4 in the article, simplified above, summarizes target yields for West and East Africa and corresponding N input requirements. Required N input varies according to the level of N use efficiency. If farmers minimize N losses and manage crop, soil, and nutrients to build soil fertility over the years, in the long they will need only the ‘minimum N requirement’ (shown in green). This presumes a high N use efficiency of about 50 kg grain per kg N input. Failing to build up soil fertility will increase annual input requirements (in yellow). Today, however, N use efficiency is very low at only 14 kg grain per kg N input. At this level, even higher inputs would be required (in blue), but it remains very doubtful that the high target yields can be attained without drastic improvements of today’s soil and crop management. Hence, under current management, such high N rates should be regarded as wasteful. 

Trade-offs with greenhouse gas emissions

We all know that over-use of nitrogen fertilizer costs farmers money and causes environmental problems, including greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. This is not the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where insufficient use of agricultural inputs causes poor yields, loss of soil fertility and consequent soil degradation.

In sub-Saharan Africa, increased use of nitrogen fertilizer is associated with meeting sustainable development goals to end poverty and hunger. 

Our goal is to identify optimal nutrient and fertilizer requirements. We also aspire to improve integrated soil fertility management to realize productivity gains while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts. 

Without investment in soil fertility, existing croplands will degrade further. This will  increase pressure to convert natural lands to croplands, at the expense of the immense carbon stocks and biodiversity value in natural lands.

We are now analyzing the impacts of increased nutrient use on greenhouse gas emissions. Then we will compare these with emissions associated with conversion of forests and grasslands into croplands.

Time to act and to scale

Farmers cannot achieve such ambitious productivity increases alone. They require supportive national and regional policies that enable cost-effective integrated soil fertility management. For example, improved physical infrastructure and financial mechanisms are necessary to ensure widespread availability and affordability of farm inputs. Government, development agencies and private sector agricultural extension efforts must intensify support for crop and soil management and associated risk management. Their action should span from planting (adapted genotypes, sanitized seed, timely soil preparation, and proper seed rate) to healthy growth (weed control and protection from pests and diseases) to harvest and post-harvest technology. But they also need to tackle grain storage facilities that prevent waste or farmers being forced to sell at rock bottom prices. 

The Global Yield Gap Atlas contains maps and data assessing yield potential for different crops using local weather and soils data and locally validated crop growth models. The resources and methods described in our paper can be applied to other countries to help refine yield targets and nutrient requirements for several key crops. Likewise, instead of relying on extrapolations, scientists can use the explicit mechanisms and assumptions available in Global Yield Gap Atlas to improve integrated assessment studies (using models such as IMPACT, IMAGE, etc.) 

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Agricultural practices supported by IFAD reveal potential mitigation benefits

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Mar 07, 2019.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) aims to eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries by investing in small-scale agriculture and connecting smallholder farmers and their communities to markets. Most agricultural practices promoted by IFAD are designed to help farmers increase productivity and income, but what impact do they have on climate change? 

It depends on the agricultural practice.
 

In an ex-ante analysis of activities in IFAD’s 2011-2014 portfolio using the Climate-Smart Agriculture Compendium, scientists found that the following practices contribute to climate change mitigation: promoting agroforestry, use of organic fertilizers and green manures, periodic drainage of rice paddies and pasture management. Synthetic fertilizers also have mitigation potential through soil carbon sequestration, though they increase nitrous oxide emissions (see Figure 6 in the report, also shown at the top of this page).

 

Climate change is already a reality for smallholder farmers. In smallholder agriculture, we realize that although clima​te change adaptation is a priority to ensure long-term sustainable development, it has significant synergies with mitigation actions."

Aslihan Arslan, co-author an​d Senior Research Economist, IFAD

Agricultural practices with mitigation co-benefits represent a significant commitment by IFAD. IFAD spent about $2 billion on projects that included these practices from 2011-2014, and another $1.6 billion on water harvesting and irrigation investments, with more than 1 million smallholder farmers targeted. 

Climate change mitigation potential

Total effect on GHG emissions of improved agricultural practices within IFAD’s investment portfolio during the FAD9 period (2011-2014). Source: IFAD report

As shown in the figure, the combined mitigation potential of agricultural practices in the IFAD 2011-2014 portfolio was 0.7 – 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year (the lower and upper bounds reflect the 95% confidence intervals). This is the equivalent to the mitigation of emissions of 1.6 – 3.9 million barrels of oil consumed, or removing 158,000 – 372,500 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

The majority of mitigation potential comes from the contribution of agroforestry and organic fertilizers to soil organic carbon (SOC) and biomass carbon sequestration. While minimum and no-tillage have comparatively small mitigation potential on a per-hectare basis, the total potential impact of the practices is high because the practice is widely promoted. The authors note that the final impact on SOC could not be estimated without knowing whether concurrent increases in organic matter inputs, such as from residue retention or cover crops, were realized.

In contrast, reduced irrigation of rice, for example through alternate wetting and drying (AWD), saves water and has high per-hectare mitigation potential, similar to organic fertilizers and agroforestry, although IFAD’s portfolio contained relatively few projects that were designed to promote water-saving irrigation techniques.

The future of agriculture in the context of climate change is to produce more food with fewer emissions. This analysis showed that it is possible for practices promoted on the basis of agri​cultural productivity to contribute to climate change mitigation."

Meryl Richards, lead author of the study and scientist, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agri​culture and Food Security (CCAFS) and University of Vermo​nt. 

Constraints

The mitigation potential of livestock-related interventions was not analyzed due to lack of data. In other studies, productivity-enhancing practices tend to decrease emissions per unit of meat or milk (emission intensity) but increase emissions per animal, so IFAD’s agricultural development interventions are unlikely to reduce net emissions unless herd sizes are also reduced. 

The mitigation potential resulting from investments in biogas and alternative energy sources will be assessed between the current and next IFAD cycles. The mitigation potential of investments in irrigation are mixed or difficult to anticipate as information on the energy sources used or replaced by their implementation is needed.

Next steps

Moving forward, the authors suggest incorporating mitigation objectives into project monitoring systems to enable more robust and transparent assessment of climate change mitigation. To avoid dramatically increasing monitoring burdens, project design teams could identify practices likely to have the largest impact on emissions or carbon sequestration during the design phase and then monitor the adoption of focus practices. 

IFAD is already moving in this direction; it is planning to incorporate the Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) in its project design and monitoring cycle.

This study shows agricultural development is helping farmers with adaptation and contributing to climate change mitigation. Although IFAD investments were driven by adaptation, we are increasingly incorporating mitigation objectives and plan to scale it up in the future. 

We need to scale practices that will prepare smallholder farmers to have a food secure, resilient and low emissions future."

Romina Cavatassi, co-author and Senior Economist, IFAD 

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An eleven-step program: Roadmaps for measurement, reporting and verification of climate-smart agriculture

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Feb 28, 2019.

New country-driven assessments on national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) provide rich insights into the needs, systems and opportunities for tracking progress and impacts of CSA interventions.

The research, carried out with funding from Vuna by scientists at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Unique Forestry and Land Use, and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), in collaboration with the governments of Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, aimed to set out country-specific roadmaps for developing harmonized systems for monitoring and reporting on CSA.

 

Insights from Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

The CSA measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) profiles used a country-driven approach to document stakeholders’ information needs, uses and capacities, exploring how to build on and align CSA M&E with existing M&E systems and international reporting frameworks. The scientists engaged more than 100 representatives of government institutions, development partners, NGOs, institutions of higher learning and research, and the private sector in the four countries. Here we share three key findings for the development of national M&E systems for CSA and similar targeted initiatives in developing countries (such as land restoration under the Bonn Challenge).

1. CSA M&E can fill critical information gaps. Stakeholders’ needs for and uses of M&E differ. Government ministries use M&E in policymaking, providing support or finance, planning, guiding implementation, and reporting. Donors, research institutes and NGOs use information for tracking progress and designing new interventions. Nearly everyone uses M&E to measure success. Yet, almost half of the stakeholders indicated that information is not readily available to meet their needs, which constrains their abilities to meet their policy, programming or reporting goals. Information gaps are found across various domains of the CSA-specific results framework, from inputs (e.g. budget allocated to CSA), activities (e.g. number of actors/institutions carrying out CSA activities), to outputs (farmers adopting CSA practices) and outcomes (impacts of CSA interventions on livelihoods and environmental indicators). Identifying and targeting these demand-driven gaps will help CSA M&E support multiple uses.

2. Indicators are only one essential component of CSA M&E. Aligning information flows across scales is necessary for maximizing efficiency and designing a shared pathway towards change. There are at least four levels at which CSA M&E plans need to be aligned:

  1. subnational (as local interventions usually come with their own M&E plans);
  2. national (e.g. programs and policies each having their own sets of indicators);
  3. regional (established reporting mechanisms such as the CAADP Results Framework); and
  4. international (e.g. communications to the UNFCCC).

There are many competing M&E frameworks within one country, setting up sometimes complementary and sometimes contradictory demands for time and resources. For instance, in Tanzania, the nearly 600 indicators used in different M&E systems illustrate significant overlaps, complementarities, and divergences among project, subnational and international systems. The abundance in frameworks reflects a rather disintegrated work on the emerging topic of CSA; different NGOs and donors have embedded their M&E needs into own systems, without necessarily linking them to existing governmental development frameworks. At the same time, it presents a major opportunity to create coherence among programs, so that the collected data can serve multiple purposes and reporting needs.

This abundance of frameworks and plans is partly explained by previously disintegrated work on the emerging topic of CSA, which has been more or less linked to existing government development frameworks and which has been promoted by different NGO and donor initiatives, each with their own M&E needs and systems.

3. Inadequate resource allocation has led to limited action on M&E of CSA; to push this forward, national capacity needs to be strengthened. The most significant constraints mentioned within existing M&E systems relate to inadequate budgets, outdated technology and a shortage of trained staff. M&E activities are often relatively poorly funded, which jeopardizes the quality of data because the amount of information requested often exceeds what is financially feasible. For instance, stakeholders in Zimbabwe noted that data collection procedures increase the likelihood of data quality problems, while Malawi’s Agriculture Sector Wide Approach M&E continues to use paper-based forms, slowing down the delivery of information and increasing chances of errors.

Throughout the region, capacity building should target both the front-line extension agents and others who collect field data, and also the back-end staff who compile and analyze information. Technical capacity must include acquiring software and computers needed to store and analyze data and data-literacy. Building multi-stakeholder platforms for sharing data and experience may help create institutional trust and collaboration. Investments in CSA M&E present an opportunity to reinforce and commit to institutional and human capacity in countries.

A roadmap towards coherent M&E of climate-smart agriculture

A general consensus across government ministries, development partners and NGOs in each country suggested that a national integrated system would provide a broad picture of national progress and fill critical institutional information needs. Looking across the four countries, 11 steps emerged for developing an internally consistent MRV system that could also be aligned with regional and international reporting requirements. In short, these steps will create effective systems by deciding on a limited set of key indicators that can be monitored to meet stakeholders’ priority information needs; creating a database that could be integrated with existing systems to track progress; building the human capacity to collect the required data and operate the M&E systems; and securing reliable sources of financing so that the crucial information can be collected and analyzed.

Eleven steps toward nationally integrated CSA MRV based on the lessons from four country assessments. Some countries have undertaken significant efforts on these steps, but much more work is needed. Source: CSA MRV profiles

Fulfilling all of these requirements will be a challenge. A fully functioning, coherent M&E system requires time and money. However, investment in improved M&E would bring significant benefits to national stakeholders, including building the evidence base on CSA; better prioritization of CSA investments; promotion of CSA awareness among stakeholders; improved information flows and coordination of CSA activities; and improved quality of information generated.

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¿Qué aspectos socioeconómicos influencian la adopción de prácticas Agrícolas Sostenibles Adaptadas al Clima?

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

Para entender mejor los aspectos socioeconómicos que favorecen o dificultan la adopción de prácticas sostenibles adaptada al clima en comunidades de pequeños agricultores, un nuevo marco metodológico fue desarrollado y piloteado por investigadores del Programa del CGIAR en Cambio Climático, Agricultura y Seguridad Alimentaria (CCAFS) y del Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), en el contexto de la implementación del enfoque AR4D de los Territorios Sostenibles Adaptados al Clima (TeSAC) en Colombia que se desarrolla en el departamento del Cauca, con apoyo de la Fundación Ecohabitats.

Una metodología en tres pasos

El working paper presentado recientemente contiene una metodología en tres pasos que permite evaluar:

  • Qué opciones específicas de Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima (ASAC), promovidas en los TeSAC han sido adoptadas por los agricultores.
  • Quiénes dentro de la comunidad están adoptando qué opciones de ASAC, en otras palabras, qué diferentes tipos de agricultores existen según su perfil de adopción.
  • Cuáles son las motivaciones y los factores habilitadores/limitantes de la adopción para cada tipo de agricultor.

Metodología en tres pasos.

El principal valor agregado de este trabajo es doble:

Establece un marco analítico integral que va más allá de la evaluación de los múltiples factores habilitadores/limitantes de la adopción - (activos, flexibilidad, conocimiento y aprendizaje, organización social y agencia) al agregar nuevas dimensiones, como la influencia de las percepciones de los agricultores sobre el cambio climático y la eficiencia de las prácticas ASAC.

No aplica un lente "socialmente ciego" sino un enfoque diferenciado que identifica los tipos de agricultores asociados con la adopción.

Los resultados de este estudio piloto ilustran el uso de métodos mixtos, con base en datos cuantitativos recopilados a través de entrevistas semidirigidas a beneficiarios directos del programa CCAFS y a agricultores no relacionados con CCAFS.

Adopción de prácticas ASAC

El cumplimiento de cualquiera de los siguientes tres criterios definió que una práctica promovida por ASAC pudiese considerarse como adoptada:

  1. La práctica ASAC se implementó durante más de una temporada de cultivo.
  2. El agricultor invirtió algunos recursos para implementarla, y / o
  3. El agricultor realizó cambios en la práctica promovida (extensión, modificación).

La frecuencia de adopción de prácticas ASAC por parte de beneficiarios directos de CCAFS y agricultores no relacionados con CCAFS en el TeSAC Cauca.

Construcción de una tipología de agricultores según adopción

Un análisis multifactorial (MFA ) y un análisis de conglomerados  condujeron a la identificación de tres tipos diferentes de agricultores en el TeSAC de Cauca, cada uno presentando un nivel diferente de adopción de ASAC:

  • Tipo 1: adoptantes mayores desplazados, con las fincas más grandes.
  • Tipo 2: adoptantes no desplazados de mediana edad en mediana escala.
  • Tipo 3: no adoptantes, con fincas pequeñas que perciben los riesgos del cambio climático y no se sienten preparados.

Adopción de opciones ASAC por tipo de agricultor.

La proporción de agricultores que adoptaron una práctica ASAC fue mayor en el grupo de “agricultores mayores desplazados con las fincas más grandes” (tipo 1) que para los otros tipos.

En los tres tipos de agricultores, las prácticas más adoptadas fueron el abono orgánico (13% a 30%), la cosecha de agua (13% a 28%) y el huerto adaptado al clima (23% a 30%). Sin embargo, los frijoles mejorados fueron adoptados principalmente por el tipo 1 (28%) y no adoptados en absoluto por el tipo 3.

Motivaciones y factores habilitadores/limitantes

El trabajo también examinó las motivaciones que llevaron a la adopción de prácticas ASAC específicas entre los dos tipos de agricultores adoptantes y los factores habilitadores o limitantes asociados. 

Motivaciones más frecuentes de agricultores Tipo 1 y Tipo 2 para adoptar abono orgánico, cosecha de agua y huertas caseras.

Factores socioeconómicos habilitando/limitando la adopción del abono orgánico.

Resultados claves

En el caso del TeSAC Cauca la adopción parece asociada a los agricultores que se sienten mejor preparados para enfrentar el cambio climático y tienen fincas más grandes y diversas. Por el contrario, se encontró menor adopción  en agricultores de menor escala  (< de 1 ha) que sienten los riesgos, perciben cambios en la intensidad de los eventos climáticos, pero también se sienten poco preparados para los impactos futuros.

Las motivaciones que llevaron a la adopción fueron específicas a cada práctica más que específicas al tipo del agricultor y se relacionaron principalmente con el interés en garantizar la seguridad alimentaria y mejorar la productividad, destacándose el hecho de que en el sitio del estudio, estas preocupaciones a corto plazo son más importantes para los agricultores que desarrollar resiliencia o aumentar la capacidad de adaptación a los impactos climáticos.

Los activos físicos, naturales, el conocimiento y el aprendizaje fueron los tres factores más mencionados que facilitaron/limitaron la adopción de prácticas ASAC, apoyando la idea de que los procesos de adopción están estrechamente relacionados con un conjunto de múltiples cambios; en conocimiento, actitudes y habilidades de los agricultores.

Los procesos de adopción pueden fomentarse mediante la priorización de prácticas específicas ASAC que también tiengan una conexión directa con las necesidades más urgentes (a corto plazo) de los agricultores.

Conclusiones y aprendizajes

Al generar recomendaciones concretas sobre cómo ajustar las intervenciones actuales y futuras para que sean más inclusivas desde el punto de vista social, esta nueva metodología respalda la planificación, implementación, monitoreo y aprendizaje sobre ASAC derivados de la investigación participativa A4D en los TeSAC hecha por  CCAFS y sus socios.

Su implementación piloto muestra que la adopción de la ASAC es un arreglo complejo (factores socioeconómicos, habilitantes y limitantes, percepciones y motivaciones), y destaca la necesidad de estrategias específicas que tengan en cuenta la diversidad de los agricultores y las prácticas a la hora de diseñar intervenciones que tengan como objetivo fomentar la adopción.

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Why planting trees on farms benefits farmers under a changing climate

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jan 23, 2019.

Agroforestry, the practice of planting trees and crops in the same area, may serve as a sustainable climate-smart agriculture (CSA) initiative that enhances the climate resilience of farms, reduces their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and increases their productivity. For instance, trees on farms improve micro-climates and absorb carbon dioxide, a potent GHG that contributes to climate change.

Trees alone bring several benefits to the people and the environment. Fruit-bearing trees generate additional incomes for the farmers. They improve biodiversity in a certain area, reduce soil erosion, and improve the capacity of soil to hold water. Integrating trees on farms is beneficial for farmers, especially those struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change. These impacts, which include stronger typhoons and longer droughts, can critically damage farms threatening the food security and livelihoods of farmers.

Realizing the potential of trees-on-farms to achieve climate change adaptation and mitigation targets, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) launched a small agroforestry project in Guinayangan, a Climate-Smart Village (CSV) in Quezon Province, Philippines. Launched in 2013, the project was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA) and the local government through the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist.

Diversified farmlands

Through this project, various fruit trees were planted under coconut trees and beside other food crops. The fruit trees include guyabano, rambutan, mangosteen, cashew, jackfruit, and durian. Two trees are prioritized: jackfruit, due to its tolerance for drought in the uplands and saline conditions in coastal areas and cashew, because of its capacity to serve as a bioshield in coastal areas. Planting coffee with cacao in the country and in Guinayangan CSV is also a focus. Through the project, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Quezon co-invested and distributed more than 25,000 seedlings of coffee and cacao.

The suitability of coffee for certain higher elevation barangays and the interest among the farmers led them to establish the Asosasyon ng Responsible at Organikong Magkakape (AROMA). Established in 2016, AROMA consists of 35 members across the following barangays: Magsaysay, Dungwan Central, Sta. Cruz, Ermita, San Pedro I, Dungawan, Paalyunan, and San Roque. Farmers in lower elevations formed a group as well to harness the benefits of cacao. They meet once a month with the experts from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist. For both coffee and cacao, the conservation of agro-biodiversity and product quality is emphasized.

Demonstration on proper drying of coffee seeds. Photo: IIRR 

The agroforestry project extends to coastal areas, where root crops, livestock, and shrubs were introduced to households. The adaptation and mitigation potentials of agroforestry systems are now planned to be scaled through a climate-smart coastal agriculture initiative in the future.

CCAFS SEA, IIRR, and the local government of Guinayangan were able to provide evidence on the potential of agroforestry as an adaptation and mitigation option. What started as a small agroforestry project in the villages of Magsaysay, San Pedro I, and Himbubulo Weste has expanded to nine upland and four coastal villages in the province. Years after the project was launched, a few research institutions are now exploring ways to support the local municipality. For instance, the National Coffee Research and Training Center under the Cavite State University and De La Salle University are working with the farmers to improve their coffee production. And the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center and the DA Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture program now work with the local government to improve the CCAFS SEA-supported initiatives that were piloted and tested in Guinayangan.

Moving forward with climate-smart agroforestry

This CCAFS SEA-supported project, as well as others implemented worldwide, is beginning to demonstrate that agroforestry is a viable CSA option for the Philippines. Building from this project, the local government and its partners at the national and international levels will continue to explore the viability of tree-based mixed farm systems integrated with livestock. They will specifically pilot and test such systems in coastal and upland communities, this time doing more systematic research to further study the potential of agroforestry as a climate change adaptation and mitigation option in the context of the impacts of wind, climate variability and droughts. The ecosystems services and the nutritional and livelihood contributions of agroforestry systems will be further studied. The potential for small municipalities to dovetail both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation objectives will be studied and documented to support future scaling and advocacy efforts.

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What are the socioeconomic factors that influence CSA adoption?

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jan 21, 2019.

To better understand the socioeconomic factors that foster or slow down the adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices within smallholder farming communities, a new methodological framework has been developed and piloted by researchers in Colombia from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The work was carried out in the context of the implementation of the Climate-Smart Village (CSV) agricultural research for development (AR4D) approach.

A three-step methodology

The recently published working paper presents a three-step methodology for assessing:

  1. Which specific CSA options promoted in the CSV site have been adopted by farmers?
  2. Who within the community is adopting which CSA option(s) or, in other words, what different types of adoption profiles can be identified among the farmers at the site?
  3. What are the motivations and enabling/constraining factors for adoption of CSA for each type of farmer?

The three-step methodology.

The main added value of this work is twofold:

  • it establishes a composite analytical framework that goes beyond assessing multi-dimensional enabling/constraining factors (assets, flexibility, knowledge and learning, social organization, and agency) by adding new dimensions such as the influence of farmers’ perceptions of climate change and CSA efficiency; and
  • it does not apply a “socially blind” lens but rather a socially differentiated approach, identifying farmers’ types associated with adoption.

The results of the pilot study illustrate the use of mixed-methods that builds on quantitative data gathered through semi-structured interviews of direct CCAFS beneficiaries and non-CCAFS-related farmers.

CSA adoption

The fulfillment of any of the following three criteria defined a CSA practice as adopted:

  1. The CSA practice was implemented for more than one cropping season
  2. The farmer invested some resources to implement it
  3. The farmer made changes in the promoted practice (extension, modification)

The frequency of adoption of CSA options by CCAFS direct beneficiaries and not CCAFS related farmers in the Cauca CSV.

Construction of farmer adoption typology

A multiple-factor analysis (MFA) and a cluster analysis led to the identification of three different farmer types in the Cauca CSV, each one presenting a different level of CSA adoption.

  • Type 1: Older large-scale displaced adopters
  • Type 2: Middle-age medium-scale non-displaced adopters
  • Type 3: Smaller-scale non-adopter who perceive climate change risks and feel unprepared

Adoption of CSA options per farmer type.

The proportion of farmers adopting a given CSA practice was higher for the older larger-scale displaced farmers (type 1) than for the other types.

In the three types of farmers the most adopted practices were compost (13% to 30%), water harvesting (13% to 28%) and home-garden (23% to 30%). Improved beans, however, were mainly adopted by type 1 (28%) and not adopted at all by Type 3.  

Motivations, enabling and constraining factors

The work also examined the motivations that lead to the adoption of specific CSA practices among the two types of adopting farmers, as well as associated enabling and constraining factors.

Most frequent motivations for Type 1 and Type 2 farmers to adopt compost, water harvesting or home gardens.

Socio-economic factors enabling and/or constraining adoption of compost.

Key findings

In the case of the Cauca CSV adoption seemed associated with farmers that feel more prepared against climate change and have larger and more diverse farms. On the contrary, fewer on no-adoption was found in smaller-scale farmers (less than 1 ha) that feel the risks, perceive changes in the intensity of climate events, but also feel unprepared to future impacts.

Motivations leading to adoption were practice-specific rather than farmer-type-specific and mainly related to ensuring food security and improving productivity, highlighting that at the study site those concerns are more important to farmers than building resilience or increasing adaptive capacity.

Physical and natural assets and knowledge and learning were the two most mentioned factors that facilitated/slowed down CSA adoption, supporting the idea that adoption processes are very closely linked with a mix of changes in farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Adoption processes can be fostered by prioritizing specific CSA practices that have a direct connection with farmers’ most urgent short-term needs. 

Conclusions and learnings

By generating concrete recommendations on how to adjust current and future interventions to be more socially inclusive, this new methodology supports CCAFS' and its partners’ CSA planning, implementation, monitoring and learning emerging from the CSV participatory AR4D.

The piloting of this framework demonstrates that CSA adoption is complex (involving socioeconomic, enabling, and constraining factors, perceptions, and motivations), and stresses the need for specific strategies that account for the diversity of both the farmers and their practices when it comes to the design of CSA interventions that aim to foster adoption.

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