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Document Abstract
Published: 2014

Policies and practices for climate smart agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: A comparative assessment of challenges and opportunities across 15 countries

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This report is a product of the collaboration between the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and the Earth System Governance Project, on policies for climate-smart agriculture. It synthesizes the findings of 15 scoping studies conducted by national consultants across Eastern and Southern Africa in order to analyze the barriers and opportunities for promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in the region.

The study finds that the onset impacts of climate change (particularly droughts, floods, and other alterations in rainfall patterns, with their associated impacts on crop yields and livestock) are already being perceived both by formal experts and by rural populations across Eastern and Southern Africa. Yet, the promotion and uptake of CSA practices remain limited. All countries have examples of both traditional and research-based agricultural practices that can be deemed climate-smart, but they are not mainstreamed and still receive limited support. Some countries have developed National Climate Change Policies while others countries have National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) in place. However, such policies often lack adequate instruments to achieve the goals they set. Furthermore, they are not sufficiently connected across sectors. There is a clear need for greater policy coherence to avoid conflicts and create synergies. Furthermore, perverse incentives that hinder CSA implementation remain in place and need revision.

There is an urgent need for SouthSouth and North-South cooperation that promotes the endogenous technological development of Africa. For greater CSA uptake, it is also fundamental that smallholder farmers, particularly women and the youth, have greater participation in policy- and decision-making. Currently, most agricultural and climate change policies have been top-down and carried out through “one-way” extension services that tell farmers what to do and do not sufficiently listen to them. It is essential that institutions be revised to eliminate gender imbalances and incorporate the views, needs, interests and concerns of smallholders, who make up the majority of farmers in Africa.

All in all the author finds that Eastern and Southern Africa hold great potential for CSA, but this potential needs to be further explored.

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M. G. Bastos Lima

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