Improving Agriculture Policies: Helping decision-makers understand agriculture’s role in solving multiple problems
The temperature is changing. The planet is getting warmer. Rainfall and the lack of rainfall will likely become more problematic for farmers. At the same time that scientists tell us about these current and worsening difficulties of the agriculture sector, population projections inform us that by 2050 we’ll need to feed 2 billion more people than we are today.
These dueling trends — more people to feed and yet more difficult climatic conditions to grow food — are the reason that Climate Interactive is developing a climate-smart agriculture (CSA) decision-support tool. Our goal is to help policymakers and practitioners see how their decision can not only lead to larger agricultural production, but also how agriculture can be part of the climate change mitigation solution.
In Africa, we’ve partnered with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) to answer the question, “How can smart decisions about agricultural development in Africa contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation?” Our goal is to help understand how agriculture decisions and policies can improve agriculture in Africa, in light of the two competing trends of climate change and population growth. What decisions can be made to: 1) improve agricultural production, 2) mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and 3) improve farmer resilience and food security to climatic shocks?
Climate Interactive is building a tool that pulls together various data and allows users to see the interactions of different policy decisions on the three aspects of climate-smart agriculture.
One of the first products is the climate-smart agriculture demonstration model. The tool frames the importance of agriculture in the ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs) that countries pledged for the 2015 Paris climate talks (UNFCCC COP21). As part of that global climate change agreement, countries declared their goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Many countries include actions in their agriculture sector. For African countries, agriculture is a particularly important economic sector — agriculture is often a large proportion of their GDP and also a large source of greenhouse gas emissions. While these proportions vary by country, approximately 50% of Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, compared to 17% globally.
Climate Interactive and UM6P will be working with partners in both agriculture research and also policymaking. If you’re interested in either contributing to the tool or using the tool for a policy process, please contact us or sign up below to follow updates. We look forward to hearing from you, and evolving our CSA decision support tool to help you make better decisions.
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