Promoting the adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture in southern Africa

Southern African countries have joined the rest of the world in declaring their commitment to developing resilient food production systems under progressive climate change and variability.

One option that has been introduced in several countries is Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), a concept that comprises a set of practices and technologies that can enhance the climate resilience of farming systems. CSA is gradually gaining prominence due to its capacity to sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience to climatic stresses while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Worth noting, however, is the fact that despite the continued experience of climate change-related challenges and the likely benefits linked to CSA, recent studies have indicated a considerably low level of CSA adoption by farmers in several countries.

Adoption of agricultural innovations is generally influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which may also be classified into biophysical, socioeconomic and institutional factors. Among the above, institutional factors (policies, programmes, regulations, etc) are critical in creating an environment within which stakeholders make investment decisions. A conducive environment will allow, for instance, the public and private sectors’ participation through the provision of quality and affordable inputs and equipment, finance and the capacity-building of farmers.

Off-takers would provide reliable markets for products, reducing the high transaction costs that smallholder farmers generally have to contend with.

In an effort to address policyrelated bottlenecks, SACAU will in the next four years implement a project titled “Promoting the Adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture on a Wide Scale in Southern Africa”.

The project, which is financially supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), seeks to advocate for conducive policies for wide-scale uptake of CSA in southern Africa.

Its specific objectives are to (i) enhance the capacities of national farmers’ organisations (FOs) to advocate for better CSA-related policies and investments; (ii) increase the influence of SACAU in CSA policy and related processes at regional and global levels; and (iii) increase the influence of Zimbabwe Farmer’s Union (ZFU) in CSA policy and related processes in Zimbabwe.

The project will commence with a baseline study to provide background information and benchmark values that will serve as the basis for monitoring progress and future evaluations that will establish the extent to which it has achieved its stated objectives. SACAU appreciates the financial support extended by NORAD to implement this important project.