Climate smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach to farming, defined by Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), that helps transforming food production towards more productive and sustainable practices.
Climate changes and increased world population call for increased food productivity, enhanced resilience, and reduced emissions. And this is what climate-smart agriculture is all about.
The objectives of climate smart agriculture are to:
75% of the world’s poor people live in rural areas. Since their livelihood rely mainly on agriculture, it is vital to improve food and nutrition security and boost the incomes of these people. This outcome can be achieved by an increased food productivity.
Shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns are some of the increasing threats that agriculture is facing. Thus, reducing the vulnerability of crops to e.g. pests, disease, and drought by enhancing resilience is essential to ensure sufficient food supply around the world.
This is targeted at lowering emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced, to avoid deforestation from agriculture and identify ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Climate-smart agriculture is key to the sustainable future of agriculture and can be used throughout the entire food chain.
A relatively large part of the world’s population lives on the outskirts of cities and in the countryside and is deeply dependent on their own small farms.
Knowledge about farming and agriculture and the importance of protecting the environment is fairly low among these people. This means that local farmers do not get the best outcome of their food production, leading to needless food shortage.
Furthermore, the quality of their crops and meat is not optimal which prevents them from getting the highest prices at the market, leaving them with less money for school, optimizing their homes, and other crucial expenses.
With climate smart agriculture this vulnerable part of the population is taught to cultivate the land in the most profitable way, and how to use sustainable methods to take care of the lands. The new knowledge can for example prevent deforestation since it encourages local farmers to plant new trees around their properties making shadow for the animals, and themselves, as well as for the fields not to dry out too fast.
To make climate smart agriculture a reality there is a need for expanding the evidence base, so that policymakers become aware of the current and projected impacts of climate change and the vulnerability of agricultural communities and ecosystems.
There is also a need for improving policies to ensure that people all around the agricultural industry work together to reach the goals of CSA. Creating new financing options that target agricultural climate change, will ensure small farmers’ ability to expand their production and invest in climate-smart solutions.
Finally, making climate-smart agriculture a reality requires that local institutions are supported and empowered so they can help motivating and teaching local farmers to adapt sustainable and climate-friendly approaches to food production.
It is not only small local farmers who can benefit from CSA and help reducing emission.
The livestock industry, such as production of chicken and pigs, is a huge contributor to the world’s food production. Therefor, transforming this production towards a more sustainable and climate-friendly production has a big influence on the future.
The benefits of using CSA in the big farming industry is not only for the climate but also for the farmers and farm managers, since an increased and higher quality production will benefit them directly on their income.
New technologies are innovated constantly and collecting data on the environment in livestock farmhouses is an example of how this industry works with climate smart farming. The data is monitored in well developed farm management systems and gathered by accurate high-quality climate sensors, that can measure humidity, temperature, CO2, and the level of ammonia inside the farmhouses.
With a new climate-smart approach to livestock farming it is possible to use less energy and produce more food faster than when using traditional methods. In this way the food production becomes more cost effective and environmentally friendly.
The use of data in livestock production contributes to vital knowledge about the effect of changes in e.g. compound feed, temperature, humidity, or level of ammonia, which gives farmers and farm managers a solid and secure base for decision making.
By using the newest high-tech solutions within livestock production, farmers and farm managers can follow food production live on a daily and even hourly basis and gain insights into how livestock production should be run to get the best outcome.
Climate smart agriculture – also known as CSA – is not a new technique but an approach to farming, that supports sustainable development and food security in a changing climate.
The approach identifies production systems that can best respond to the impact of climate change and to adjust these systems to suit local environmental conditions now and in the future.
Some examples of climate smart agriculture are water conservation, cover cropping, nutrient management, conservation tillage, agroforestry, and other practices to reduce emission.
The three pillars of CSA are increasing productivity and incomes, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems, and reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
When farmers all around the world use climate smart agriculture and learn how to conserve water, they can produce much more and better-quality food for their families and communities and get higher prices for their crops at the markets.
This gives them higher food security, better homes, and money for sending their children to school. Climate smart agriculture make farmers able to expand their production with several different types of food such as corn, bees, goats, fish, etc. making them less vulnerable to climate changes.