New book demonstrates impact of climate-smart agriculture in Africa

Farmers across Africa are embracing climate-smart agriculture practices, such as agroforestry, that can improve their food production in an increasingly challenging agricultural environment. Such practices also ensure gains are achieved without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: World Agroforestry Centre

A new book by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) highlights some of the array of climate-smart agriculture practices that exist across Africa’s diverse farming systems and climatic conditions.

Climate-smart agriculture includes practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity, support farmers’ adaptation to climate change, and reduce levels of greenhouse gases.

The book contains 8 case studies, several of which incorporate agroforestry practices that benefit farmers as well as mitigate climate change. Examples of these from the book include:

  • Farmer-managed natural regeneration which has seen 200 million new trees cultivated on farmers’ fields in Niger. The trees provide fodder, food and fuelwood in addition to improving soil fertility and protecting crops from wind damage; thereby increasing cereal yields.
  • Transformation of dairy farmer livelihoods through the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) programme, of which the World Agroforestry Centre is a partner. The programme works to improve market access and agricultural practices (e.g. fodder trees) in support of a robust dairy value chain.
  • Restoration initiatives as part of The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel project, including the restoration of 50,000 hectares of agroforestry systems in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal to boost the production of crops, gums, resins and fodder for livestock.
  • The integration of trees, crops and livestock through the Regreening the Sahel project to create a more drought-resilient, productive and sustainable agricultural system. The project not only helps farmers adapt to climate change, it also improves household food security, generates higher crop yields and creates more diverse household production.
  • Providing farmers in Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia with access to 750,000 fruit tree seedlings through the Sustainable Agricultural Development of Highlands project. The project has also introduced agroforestry systems that intercrop shrubs and cacti with barley, oats, feed legumes and native vegetation to reduce the cost of feeding livestock and reduce farmers’ dependence on rangelands.
  • The planting of 2 million trees through the Anchor Farm Project in Malawi to provide timber, fruits and fuelwood for home use and to provide additional income. The project has also trained farmers, farmer associations and agricultural extension workers in integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) technologies such as the use of nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs in agroforestry systems, composting, crop rotation and conservation farming.

“While there are many innovative climate-smart agriculture practices taking place in Africa with the capacity to increase productivity and build resilience, they remain largely unknown at the continental, or even regional, levels,” says CCAFS. This new book aims to encourage greater uptake of climate-smart agriculture to transform Africa’s agriculture into a more sustainable and profitable sector.

About the book: Nyasimi, M et al. (2014). Evidence of impact: Climate-smart agriculture in Africa. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Download it here.

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