Stories tagged: ccafs

Innovative Young Farmer’s Cooperatives for Participatory Adaptation and Accelerated Adoption of Climate Smart Practices

Conservation agriculture offers a potential solution to the emerging challenges of natural resource degradation in the Indo-Gagnetic Plains. Whilst significant effort has gone into the development and dissemination of new technologies, including climate smart practices, adoption has been slow.

Older farmers have a tendency towards traditional practices and the migration of youths from farming has meant that new technologies and innovative farming methods are rarely being adopted on farms.

To address some of these issues, efforts have been made to motivate young farmers to join together through cooperatives. Leading agriculture organisations from across the world including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research are working together to bring young farmers in India closer in order to create suitable institutions for young people to share and buy assets and knowledge.


The young farmer’s cooperatives aim to empower youths to make important decisions about the future of farming in India, enabling them to buy new technologies and share useful advice on implementing new farming methods.

This will hopefully increase the adoption of sustainable farming methods and climate-resistant crops to increase climate mitigation on the ground.


  • More than 3000 people including top policy planners have been exposed to this work and its promotion of climate smart technologies.
  • Through capacity building, the young farmers have now demonstrated and disseminated climate smart technologies to nearly 430 farmers who have benefited from an improved income of app. US$ 127 to 315/ha/crop season.
  • Youth cooperaties received a special acknowledgement from the Chief Minister of Haryana in 2012 who announced incentives for the adoption and promotion of climate smart and resource-efficient technologies, primarily CA-based technologies and machinery.




Farming First Launch New Guide to UNFCCC Discussions on Agriculture

At Farming First we are excited to announce the launch of the Guide to UNFCCC Discussions on Agriculture.

Launched today, exactly two months before COP19 takes place in November, the guide aims to provide key stakeholders with a one-stop source of information on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change discussions. Offering a series of videos, infographics, quotes and key facts and figures on the relationship between agriculture and climate change, it is hoped the guide will enable people to participate in discussions.

Produced in partnership with the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the guide underlines the need for a Work Program on Agriculture under the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). This would ensure that agriculture is better incorporated into the various convention mechanisms at future COPs.

Agriculture will be crucial to finding solutions to the challenges of climate change, since adaptation is critical to agriculture and the industry also offers huge potential in mitigation. The Guide provides farmers, industry leaders and policy makers with direct access to helpful tools and explains how these resources can be used to support the role of agriculture at climate change discussions.


One of the videos included in the toolkit is a Farming First interview with Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), who explains the impact of climate change for farmers around the world:


“Climate change effects our production as farmers and farmers of course are going to need to learn two things: firstly, to adapt to a changing climate with which we need the help of researchers and governments and secondly, we need to learn how to prevent the greenhouse gas emissions.

Farmer education is very important to try and help them understand the variability in the seasons and the need to adopt technologies that can mitigate against climate change.”

It is hoped that resources, such as the above quotes, will provide a valuable resource for everyone interested in following climate change discussions and will enable more people to follow agriculture at UNFCCC discussions in November.

For more information and to explore the toolkit click here

Population growth and changing diets – what do they mean for the future?

Food is a necessity and a basic need of human life. Yet, 925 million people do not have enough food to eat, leaving one in seven people hungry. And at the same time, the global population is growing rapidly, predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050. The FAO has said that 70% more food will be needed by 2050 to meet this growing demand – the challenge we face is achieving this.

Earlier this month, the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme discussed a recent article on Global changes in diets and the consequences for land requirements for food by Thomas Kastner and co-authors.

By calculating and showing how our total calorie consumption is divided among different types of food, and how much land is required for each of these food types, the article paints a fascinating portrait of global nutritional diversity. A decomposition approach was used to quantify the contributions of the main drivers of cropland requirements for food: population changes, agricultural technology, and diet. Results found that from 1961 to 2007, in most regions, yield increases were offset by a combination of population growth and dietary change. However, developing countries followed a different pattern, showing socioeconomic development, population growth decreases and, at the same time, richer diets.

Interesting insights show that between 1963 and 1984, expansions in land requirements for crops were largely associated with population growth, and for many regions were compensated by land savings due to improving technology. After 1984 a greater proportion of agricultural expansion was associated with changes in diets, with technology being less successful.

Looking to the future, the authors warn that feeding five billion people at the levels of consumption found in North America, Oceania and Europe will require a doubling of current cropland, and further that technology-based land savings are usually based on much higher inputs of fossil fuels, fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation infrastructure. The authors move on to say that unless there are severe curbs on high-end food consumption, food–related emissions will rise, through a combination of land conversion and more input-intensive farming.

It is crucial that appropriate national food and nutrition strategies are implemented to help meet the growing demand for food. These strategies must highlight the importance of both productivity and diet diversity in ensuring proper food and nutrition security and receive wide participation that includes farmers, the private sector, and other key stakeholders.

Read Farming First’s Nutrition Security Policy Paper for more information or explore Farming First’s page on Nutrition.

Post-Durban Agriculture and Climate Change Workshop for Southern Africa

The importance of agriculture to economic growth and rural livelihoods, its vulnerability to climate change implies that building resilience to climate change in Southern Africa must be of primary importance. In this regard comprehensive agricultural adaptation and mitigation strategies to meet the food and income needs of current and future generations have to be implemented. The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Program of the CGIAR, in partnership with COMESA and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is committed to working with countries in Southern Africa and other stakeholders with a view to developing a common position on issues related to agriculture for SBSTA consideration. This will ensure that priority areas for the region would be reflected in the ongoing international climate change negotiations.

For more information click here

COP15 ‘Climate Thinkers’ Blog Features Farming First’s Thomas Rosswall

As part of its series of ‘climate thinkers’ blog posts, the COP15 website has featured an essay by Farming First’s Thomas Rosswall.

COP15 — as the 15th conference of parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is often referred — is where delegates will negotiate a successor protocol for reducing global emissions leading to climate change.  Its website has been a source of information and debate ahead of the negotiations themselves, which run from 7-18 December in Copenhagen.

Here is the text in full if you’d prefer reading it here:

Put Farming First

by Thomas Rosswall
Chairman, CGIAR Challenge Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Farmers are on the frontline of climate change.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to increase from 6 to 9 billion people. Demand for carbon-intensive foods such as meats and oils is also expected to increase.

Meanwhile, yields from key staple crops are expected to decline, especially in many of the poorest countries, due to climate change.  Wheat yields in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to fall by 34% and rice output in South Asia by 14%.

In an earlier post on this blog, Kanayo Nwanze, IFAD’s President, outlines the link between food security and climate change.  Rather than repeating his message, I instead will focus on how this triple challenge of food security, rural livelihoods development, and environmental sustainability can be incorporated into future climate change strategies.

Silos are for farmers, not for climate thinkers.

Climate change impacts every link in the agricultural supply chain.  Smallholder African farmers already find new weather patterns undermining their traditional knowledge of when to plant and how to cultivate their crops.  Consumers, particularly in the developing world, still face high food prices and the threat of further price increases in the future.  Suppliers work around poor transport networks and unharmonised regulatory regimes. Scientists persevere in making their research relevant across disciplines and geographies as well as to farmers and policymakers.

The scale of this climate challenge requires all of these groups to work together with policymakers to find common objectives and solutions.  Farming First is a good example of an initiative which is already acting on this goal.  Farming First is made up of 124 organisations representing the world’s farmers, scientists, engineers and industry.

Farmers need roads; climate thinkers need roadmaps.

Agriculture generally, and farmers especially, are vital to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  Farmers are willing to play their part by adopting new practices which deliver our growing food needs in a carbon-efficient manner, but they cannot do so without our support.

Farmers cannot get to market without roads and other vital tools and technologies.  Effective infrastructure can help farmers improve their productivity, preventing deforestation and protecting biodiversity while supporting food security. We must also invest in knowledge sharing by creating a dedicated adaptation fund for agriculture which is accessible to farmers’ organisations in developing countries.

Addressing climate change through agriculture is certainly not beyond our capability, but it may well be beyond our current capacity.  Farmers need our long-lasting commitment if they are to achieve their true potential for sustainability based on the best local approaches.

The seeds of change must be nurtured and disseminated.

Many of the solutions for helping farmers address climate change already exist.  These successes need to be scaled up, and they must reach the farmers who need them most.   In addition to investments in road infrastructure linking farms to markets, solutions include integrated crop and pest management, no-till agriculture, intercropping, improved seeds, fertilizer best management practices and investment in storage facilities protecting crops after harvest.

But we must also use our current field of knowledge as the basis for further research and innovation to invent the necessary adaptation and mitigation solutions for the future.  For instance, researchers are beginning to use new satellite technology to determine what type of farming techniques are being used.  When matched with other agronomic and meteorological information, this mapping system can determine the amount of carbon being captured in the soil (the basis for a voluntary agricultural carbon trading scheme) and can supply farmers with more locally appropriate advice such as when to apply inputs, in what quantity to apply them, and when to harvest.

Copenhagen leaders should embrace the advances being made in measuring soil’s potential in sequestering carbon by including agriculture within multilateral financial mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI).  They should also advocate for further robust methodologies and field-testing to overcome remaining uncertainties around measurement, reporting and verification.  At this critical and fragile interface of economic markets, our environment and human welfare, science has much to contribute.  Let us make good use of it.

Thomas Rosswall is the former Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU).  ICSU is one of the founding supporter organisations of Farming First.  Mr. Rosswall is currently the Chairman of the CGIAR Challenge Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security (CCAFS).  He writes here in his capacity as a spokesperson for Farming First.