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External Food Security News

A fifth of UK fresh food imports from areas at risk of climate chaos, MPs warn

By Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 17, 2019.

Committee calls for ministers to spell out how supplies can be protected from climate crisis

About a fifth of the fresh food the UK imports comes from areas threatened with climate chaos, putting people’s health and diets at risk, MPs have found.

The environmental audit committee called on ministers to set out a clear plan for how the UK’s food supplies could be protected from the climate emergency and to publish information on how food may be affected by Brexit.

Related: What will it take for the UK to reach net zero emissions?

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My daughter and I have eco-anxiety – will building a bunker help? | Suzanne Moore

By Suzanne Moore from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 16, 2019.

People are stockpiling for Brexit, while my youngest and I are frightened by the climate emergency. We have to remember: fear is fuel for tyranny

I am not stockpiling for Brexit – that seems wildly melodramatic. Instead, I find myself waking up in the night, wondering whether to arm myself. By dawn, of course, this seems a little extreme, too. Somehow, by breakfast, I have reminded myself I am not in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, feasting on a foetus, and that in fact I live near a well-stocked Tesco Metro.

Yet, if Brexit is a vast psychodrama that is never about what it says it is about (no one is that emotionally invested in tariffs, whatever they suggest), then it is bound to provoke some deeply peculiar feelings. Some of my friends have become very anxious – about food supplies, medicines, civil unrest. We had some of this before 2016: food banks and riots, anyone? But the media ramps up these feelings by the hour. The message is that democracy has toppled and everything will close down on 1 November; in truth, this is the day negotiations will start for real.

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Criminal gangs will cash in on no-deal Brexit, police warn

By Martin Beckford from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 13, 2019.

Report predicts hidden market in medicines, rising theft and possible riots amid officer shortage

Criminals will profit from a no-deal Brexit as they take advantage of shortages of food and medicine, according to one of Britain’s biggest police forces.

Gangs could exploit the demand for scarce drugs from worried patients and create hidden markets for goods held up at ports, an official report warns. Shoplifting and theft could also soar if people fear shelves becoming empty, leading to riots across the country.

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Yellowhammer: no-deal chaos fears as secret Brexit papers published

By Heather Stewart and Peter Walker from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Sep 12, 2019.

Ministers forced to publish documents predicting public disorder, rising prices and disruptions to food and medicines

A no-deal Brexit could result in rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder on Britain’s streets, according to secret documents the government was forced by MPs to publish on Wednesday.

A five-page document spelling out the government’s “planning assumptions” under Operation Yellowhammer – the government’s no-deal plan – was disclosed in response to a “humble address” motion.

Related: Brexit: government publishes Operation Yellowhammer documents – live news

Related: Merkel warns of danger to EU of Singapore-style UK on its border

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IFPRI Board Announces New Director General

By dsample from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Sep 05, 2019.

Sep 5, 2019
Press Release

IFPRI Board Announces New Director General

September 5, 2019, Washington, D.C. - The Board of Trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) announced today the appointment of Johan “Jo” Swinnen as the institute’s next Director General. Swinnen will begin his tenure on Jan…

NEW BOOK: Raising Ghana’s Land Productivity Can Transform National Economy, Boost Incomes

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Aug 21, 2019.

Aug 22, 2019
Press Release

NEW BOOK: Raising Ghana’s Land Productivity Can Transform National Economy, Boost Incomes

Washington, D.C.: Urbanization in Ghana has spurred growth in nonfarm jobs in rural areas with little impact on agricultural intensification, defined by higher land productivity. Simultaneously, neglect of public investments, low even by African standa…

No-deal Brexit: key points of Operation Yellowhammer report

By Rowena Mason Deputy political editor from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 18, 2019.

From cross-Channel transport disruption to public disorder – the predictions in the leaked document

A government report on Operation Yellowhammer was leaked on Sunday, revealing the probable consequences of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, which is due to happen on 31 October. Here are the key points:

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Why tiny Belize is a world leader in protecting the ocean | Jo Griffin

By Jo Griffin in Punta Gorda from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 14, 2019.

Fish stocks are stable and reef health improving, in part thanks to Belize’s substantial ‘no-take’ zones. Now greater legislation is needed to secure progress

Across the turquoise water by the mangrove, ranger Allan Halliday spots a fishing skiff. “We’re going over to say hello,” he says, before abruptly changing the boat’s direction. But his real task is to check the couple on board have the licence to fish in this part of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, one of nine designated zones in Belize.

“We aren’t complaining but others do,” says Alonzo Reymundo, of the rules that now restrict Belize’s 3,000 commercial fishers to two geographic areas each. He and his wife Anselma have been fishing off southern Toledo for 30 years and their boat is laden with 50 or so pounds of shrimp – more than enough, he says, flashing his licence. Today’s catch will be sold as bait and fetch around 330BZ$ (£135), he says.

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How a no-deal Brexit threatens your weekly food shop

By Josh Holder from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 13, 2019.

UK reliance on EU food imports is a major risk if the country crashes out of the union

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World's largest urban farm to open – on a Paris rooftop

By Caroline Harrap from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 13, 2019.

The 14,000m² farm is set to open in the south-west of Paris early next year

It’s a warm afternoon in late spring and before us rows of strawberry plants rustle in the breeze as the scent of fragrant herbs wafts across the air. Nearby, a bee buzzes lazily past. Contrary to appearances, however, we are not in an idyllic corner of the countryside but standing on the top of a six-storey building in the heart of the French capital.

Welcome to the future of farming in Paris – where a whole host of rooftop plantations, such as this one on the edge of the Marais, have been springing up of late. Yet this thriving operation is just a drop in the ocean compared to its new sister site. When that one opens, in the spring of 2020, it will be the largest rooftop farm in the world.

Related: Can 'agritecture' make cities self-sufficient? – in pictures

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Britons have spent £4bn stockpiling goods in case of no-deal Brexit

By PA Media from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 12, 2019.

Research suggests one in five people have a food, drinks and medicine hoard worth £380

Britons have spent £4bn stockpiling goods in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit, new research suggests.

One in five people are already hoarding food, drinks and medicine, spending an extra £380 each, according to a survey by the finance provider Premium Credit. The survey found that about 800,000 people have spent more than £1,000 building up stockpiles before the 31 October Brexit deadline.

Related: Food Standards Agency struggling to prepare for Brexit, say auditors

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Eating and drinking in Africa's largest slum – in pictures

By Tracy McVeigh in Kibera from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 10, 2019.

Despite poverty, lack of refrigeration and a constant battle for cleanliness, the residents of Kibera are resourceful with the food they eat and sell. Fried fish, samosas, and bean dishes are all on the menu, reflecting the cultural mix of those who call the area home

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No-deal Brexit: pause competition law to avoid food shortages, say manufacturers

By Jasper Jolly and Rebecca Smithers from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Aug 07, 2019.

Companies want guarantee they won’t be fined for working together to direct supplies

Britain’s food and drinks industry has asked the government to suspend competition law in the event of a no-deal Brexit so that firms can work together to avert food shortages without facing large fines for collusion.

Collaboration between large companies is controlled to prevent cartels harming consumers’ interests. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told the BBC the government had not yet confirmed whether companies would be able to work together to direct food supplies to the areas of greatest need if there were delays as a result of crashing out of the EU.

At 11pm UK time on 31 October the UK would, by default, become a “third country” in terms of relations with the EU, with no overarching post-Brexit plan in place and no transition period. The UK would no longer be paying into the EU budget, nor would it hand over the £39bn divorce payment.

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Research shows high prices of healthy foods contribute to malnutrition worldwide

By dsample from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Jul 19, 2019.

Jul 22, 2019
Press Release

Research shows high prices of healthy foods contribute to malnutrition worldwide

Washington, D.C.: Poor diets are the now the leading risk factor for the global burden of disease, accounting for one-fifth of all deaths worldwide. While the causes of poor diets are complex, new research finds the affordability of more nutritious foo…

Rising CO2, climate change projected to reduce availability of nutrients worldwide

By dsample from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on Jul 17, 2019.

Jul 17, 2019
Press Release

Rising CO2, climate change projected to reduce availability of nutrients worldwide

Washington, D.C.: One of the biggest challenges to reducing hunger and undernutrition around the world is to produce foods that provide not only enough calories but also make enough necessary nutrients widely available. New research finds that, over th…

Wiping out hunger in Africa could cost just $5bn. What are we waiting for? | Feike Sijbesma

By Feike Sijbesma from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jul 15, 2019.

Ripping off the bandage of food aid and investing in self-sufficiency is the only way to fight malnutrition

Billions are spent on humanitarian aid, yet nearly 60 million children across Africa go to bed hungry.

Efforts to alleviate the constant cycle of droughts, poverty and war have caused new problems. The biggest of these is a crippling dependency on food aid that is undermining much of the continent’s efforts to feed itself.

Feike Sijbesma is CEO of global life sciences company Royal DSM. AIF is a partnership between Royal DSM, the Dutch development bank FMO, the UK development finance CDC Group, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the Rwandan government

Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

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I’m a farmer, and no-deal Brexit would put me out of business | Will Case

By Will Case from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jul 09, 2019.

Crashing out of the EU would not end uncertainty and would be a dark day for agriculture and food in Britain

Here in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, the sun is out, our grass is growing and the sky is blue. Sheep are busily nibbling the pasture while cattle are basking in the summer warmth. These are perfect conditions for farming. The animals are content and the farmers are working hard.

Everything should be fine, but there is a big, dark cloud lurking on the horizon: the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. This is a threat to everything we do. The uncertainty around Brexit and the prospect of trade tariffs that would cripple our business is a real worry. The future direction of UK-produced food is simply unknown.

Related: The UK can’t accept backward US food standards – or chlorinated chicken | George Eustice

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New Study: How much do climate fluctuations matter for global crop yields?

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

Jul 8, 2019
Press Release

New Study: How much do climate fluctuations matter for global crop yields?

Washington D.C.: The El Niño-Southern Oscillation has been responsible for widespread, simultaneous crop failures in recent history, according to a new study from researchers at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Soc…

The Indian state where farmers sow the seeds of death

By Vivek Chaudhary from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jul 01, 2019.

Cancer rates are the highest in the country, drug addiction is rife, and 900 farmers have killed themselves in two years. How did Punjab turn toxic?

The road to Langroya village weaves its way through fields rich with crops that offer a vivid snapshot of India’s kitchens. There is wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize, mustard seed and a rich variety of vegetables that have made this corner of the country India’s most important agricultural region.

Like the majority of their compatriots in Punjab, Langroya’s residents rely on farming for their existence. About three-quarters of the state’s 30 million-strong population is involved in agriculture, with wheat the number one commodity. But while Punjab is known as “India’s bread basket”, there are challenges amid the abundance.

Related: Childhoods lost: disabilities and seizures blight India's endosulfan victims | Amrit Dhillon

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Yemen's Houthi rebels accused of diverting food aid from hungry

By Karen McVeigh from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jun 17, 2019.

Head of UN’s World Food Programme threatens suspension of food aid if safe delivery not assured

The head of the United Nations food agency has accused Yemen’s Houthi rebels of diverting food from the country’s hungriest people and threatened to suspend food aid.

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the agency had found “serious evidence” that food supplies had been diverted in the capital, Sana’a and other Houthi-controlled areas in the country, which is in the midst of a four-year civil war. He called on the Houthis to implement agreements that would allow the UN agency to operate independently.

Related: Devastation of shelling in Hodeidah: 'My daughters died hungry' | Rod Austin and Karl Schembri

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Two million people at risk of starvation as drought returns to Somalia

By Rebecca Ratcliffe from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jun 06, 2019.

Agencies sound the alarm over ‘climate crisis’ after devastation of crops and livestock

More than 2 million people could face starvation by the end of the summer, unless there are urgent efforts to respond to the drought in Somalia.

Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said the country is facing one of the driest rainy seasons in more than three decades, and a “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation”.

Related: 'We're excluded from the table': Somali UN staff say they struggle in 'two-tier' aid sector

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Nearly half of all child deaths in Africa stem from hunger, study shows

By Saeed Kamali Dehghan from Food security | The Guardian. Published on Jun 05, 2019.

Almost 60 million children deprived of food despite continent’s economic growth, in what is ‘fundamentally a political problem’

One in three African children are stunted and hunger accounts for almost half of all child deaths across the continent, an Addis Ababa-based thinktank has warned.

In an urgent call for action, a study by the African Child Policy Forum said that nearly 60 million children in Africa do not have enough food despite the continent’s economic growth in recent years.

Related: Sub-Saharan Africa can only grow if it solves hunger crisis – UNDP

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2019 Global Food Policy Report: Improved Regional Ties and Agricultural Reforms Offer Promising Opportunities for Rural Revitalization and Improved Food and Nutrition Security in Central Asia

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on May 31, 2019.

May 31, 2019
Press Release

2019 Global Food Policy Report: Improved Regional Ties and Agricultural Reforms Offer Promising Opportunities for Rural Revitalization and Improved Food and Nutrition Security in Central Asia

Tashkent: To meet growing demand for employment in rural areas and improve food security, Uzbekistan needs to strengthen the role of the private sector in its economy by accelerating reforms, improving institutional framework, and exploring opportuniti…

Childish Gambino choreographer urges fans to step up for young rural Africans

By Hannah Summers from Food security | The Guardian. Published on May 29, 2019.

Sherrie Silver, who was behind acclaimed video This is America, launches virtual dance ‘petition’ to promote investment in farming

She made a name for herself as the choreographer behind one of the most controversial yet critically acclaimed music videos of last year.

Now Sherrie Silver, the creative force behind the dance moves in Childish Gambino’s This Is America, is using her success to drive a social media campaign promoting investment in young people in rural Africa.

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2019 Global Food Policy Report: Improved Regional Ties and Agricultural Reforms Offer Promising Opportunities for Rural Revitalization and Improved Food and Nutrition Security in the Eurasian Region

By saggarwal from IFPRI Updates: News Releases RSS Feeds. Published on May 28, 2019.

May 28, 2019
Press Release

2019 Global Food Policy Report: Improved Regional Ties and Agricultural Reforms Offer Promising Opportunities for Rural Revitalization and Improved Food and Nutrition Security in the Eurasian Region

Moscow: To meet growing demand for employment in rural areas and improve food security, countries in Eurasia need to strengthen the role of the private sector in their economies by accelerating reforms, improving their institutional frameworks, and exp…

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).…

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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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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brendan 23rd August 2017
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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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SusanClark 22nd August 2017
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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.

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 net effect of nitrogen fertiliser use is typically an increase in net emissions

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


Agradecimientos

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 https://ccafs.cgiar.org/donors. 

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.


Acknowledgments

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 https://ccafs.cgiar.org/donors. 

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.

Conclusiones

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.

Conclusions

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

Read more:

How will climate change impact rangelands in the next few decades?

By from CCAFS Research highlights. Published on Jun 03, 2019.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding the effects of climate change on rangelands, not only because of uncertainty in future climate projections but also because of limitations to current knowledge of some of the key interactions between climatic, atmospheric and biological variables. 

Possible future system changes

We undertook a tentative analysis to see if ‘hotspots of change’ could be identified in the global rangelands, along with possible responses.

Projected changes in aboveground live biomass in the rangelands for the 2050s categorised into 10 combinations of population, access and precipitation CV (see footnotes to the table below for details).

We categorised the rangelands into 10, based on combinations of human population in 2050 for Shared Socio-Economic Pathway 2 (‘Middle of the Road’) (Murakami and Yamagata 2016); market access in terms of travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 inhabitants or more in 2000 (Nelson 2008); and the coefficient of variation of precipitation, estimated for the 2050s using an empirical relationship between annual rainfall and rainfall CV (Jurkovic and Pasaric 2013). Here we assume climate stationarity to the 2050s, which may well not be the case, although no change in this relationship was found over the second half of the twentieth century (Jurkovic and Pasaric 2013). These 10 categories are mapped in the figure, and characterised in the table below in terms of projections of their aboveground live biomass changes to 2050s, using an ensemble of seven climate models, RCP 8.5 (a high emissions scenario), and the dynamic rangeland model G-Range (Boone et al. 2018). While the ensemble mean biomass changes to the 2050s are projected to be positive for each category, there is considerable spatial variability in these biomass changes; these are explored in the Boone et al. (2018) paper.

The table also includes a qualitative assessment of possible responses in each category. For example, category 1 is characterised by low population density, good market accessibility (a livestock keeper being able to travel to the market and back within one day), and low rainfall variability. In this category, modest increases in aboveground live biomass are projected to the middle of the century, although there may be significant spatial variation. In such places (parts of southern-central USA, SE Brazil, and parts of the African humid tropics, for instance), non-livestock-based livelihoods may well be possible, as well as specialisation in, and intensification of, production. There are likely to be fewer options for places in category 8 (parts of central Australia, much of the Sahara, and NE China, for instance): low population densities, far from markets, with high annual rainfall variability; percentage changes in live biomass may be large, but the baseline is very low. In such places, the provision of social safety nets will be the priority, or livelihoods not based on livestock. Interestingly, a large proportion of category 9 sites are located across the wetter zones of West and East Africa (medium populations, close to urban markets, with low rainfall variability), suggesting that there may be substantial opportunities for intensification, diversification, and specialisation of land use in some of these areas.

Enablers of change and the unpredictability of the future

A key question is whether change in agricultural systems to the middle of the century is in any way predictable, allowing technological, informational, and policy interventions and investments to be targeted at the relatively small scales appropriate to addressing local context. In our chapter, we discussed this in relation to three overlapping enablers (or dis-enablers) of change: governance, economics, and innovation.

  • Governance: The vulnerability of pastoralists to global change is particularly affected by property and grazing rights. While government protection of proprietary rights can reduce conflict between communities over natural resources, this protection needs to be unbiased rather than producing assymetries between pastoralist groups. Identifying the winners and losers from changes in land ownership and use of pastoral lands in the coming decades is a key challenge for the research agenda.
  • Economics: In many pastoral systems, cash transfers from social protection programmes and remittances from pastoralists who migrate out of pastoral areas for wage labour in towns and cities will become increasingly important.
  • Innovation: Innovations in collaborative governance, such as community-based rangeland management, hold out promise for achieving socially just, economically viable and environmentally sustainable management of rangelands and the biodiversity they support.

Regarding the predictability of systems’ change, the uncertainities are very large, even as the rate of change accelerates. There is a need for more analyses that could contribute subtantially to increased understanding of the impacts of key change drivers in the rangelands, thereby improving the targeting of appropriate technological and policy-related interventions.


From Boone et al. 2018, showing mean and spatial standard deviation for baseline in 2000, and projected change into 2050 based on RCP 8.5 and production modified by increased CO2 concentration.

From Murakami and Yamagata 2016, for SSP 2 (‘middle of the road’) human population in 2050. Thresholds, in millions of people per km2 for categories Low, Mid, and High, were 0–0.163, 0.164–0.653, and 0.654 or greater.

Adapted from Nelson 2008, representing travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 or more in 2000. Thresholds, in minutes of travel time, used for categories Low, Mid, and High, were 0–200, 201–600, and greater than 600.

Calculated using a regression equation from Jurkovic and Pasaric 2013 and summed monthly precipitation from seven global circulation model results listed in Boone et al. 2018. Thresholds, in percent forecasted coefficient of variation for categories Low, Mid, and High, were 15.56–17.68, 17.69–21.92, and greater than 21.93.

Sixteen classes that included fewer than 1000 half-degree cells each (mean, 247 cells) were merged into this class.


References:

Boone RB, Conant RT, Sircely J, Thornton PK, Herrero M. Climate change impacts on selected global rangeland ecosystem services. Global Change Biology. 2018;24(3):1382–93.

Jurkovic RS, Pasaric Z. Spatial variability of annual precipitation using globally gridded data sets from 1951 to 2000. International Journal of Climatology. 2013;33(3):690–8.

Murakami D, Yamagata Y. Estimation of gridded population and GDP scenarios with spatially explicit statistical downscaling. arXiv preprint arXiv:161009041. 2016.

Nelson A. Estimated travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people in year 2000. Global Environment Monitoring Unit–Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Ispra, Italy. 2008.


This blog was originally posted on The Applied Ecologist's Blog.