These are agriculture approaches and methods that sustainably increase the amount of crops that a community can produce under conditions of climatic variability. They provide ways to adapt to changes in the weather in the short term (to storms, intense heat, flooding) and in the long term to adapt to a different climate (more or less rain, increased temperatures year on year). Climate Smart Agriculture also aims to reduce emissions and destructive impacts on the land as a result of farming. CSA aims to assist communities to better cope with changing climate – with a specific focus on hunger and poverty.
CSA is an umbrella term used to describe various agriculture interventions. Countries face different challenges so this looks different across the world. However, it might involve changing and diversifying crops to better adapt to a changing environment and associated risks, harvesting rainwater or keeping soil covered with organic matter to keep moisture in.
A notable example of CSA is Conservation Agriculture (CA), an agriculture intervention based around three principles of minimum tillage, soil surface protection, and crop diversification / association. Combined with good risk focused agronomic practices, CA can help farmers improve the productivity of their crops, cope with a changing climate, improve their ability to withstand extreme weather events (irregular or erratic rains), and lower emissions through reduction in burning and gradual accumulation of soil organic matter.
Concern has an organizational commitment to reaching 600,000 farmers with CSA interventions by 2020 and currently implements agriculture livelihoods activities at varying scales across Africa and Asia. In the case of Africa, this includes the hot, semi-arid Sahel, Horn of Africa, and Rift Valley regions (Niger, Chad, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Malawi), the cool Central African highlands (DRC, Burundi, Rwanda), and the humid tropics of West Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone). In Asia, despite having fewer countries, the diversity is just as striking; the hot Indus Plains of Pakistan, the monsoonal coastal area of Bangladesh, and the temperate, mountainous regions of DPRK and Afghanistan.
In 2020, we reached 210,000 farmers with CSA livelihood activities - bringing the total number of participants to 780,227 since the programme began in 2016.