Climate-smart agriculture and global food-crop production
This article (PDF) in Plos One shows that a subset of agronomic practices that are often included under the rubric of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) can contribute to increasing agricultural production under unfavorable climate regimes while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG). The agriculture sector will likely be significantly impacted from increased temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns, while ironically it contributes substantially to the problem with GHG emissions. CSA has attracted interest given its promise to increase agricultural productivity under a changing climate while reducing emissions. The results show that widespread adoption of CSA practices can increase production and lower world prices of wheat, maize, and rice under future unfavorable climatic conditions. The reduction in prices is projected to make food products more accessible to millions of people thereby lowering the number of people at risk of hunger and that of undernourished children. These gains can be obtained while improving soil fertility and with a reduction in GHG emissions. Taken all together, results suggest that CSA practice can deliver benefits across its three foundational pillars on a planetary scale. However, what clearly transpires from the results is that to make a significant impact, the principles of CSA must be applied widely across production systems and for this to occur significant investments must be made. Ideally, the same or similar principles should be applied across the whole food system (i.e. trade, stocks, nutrition and social policies). It is also clear that the wide-ranging and multidimensional effects, sometime unintended or unforeseen, must be understood and managed. CSA with its multi-objective approach may provide a useful framework for decision-making ranging from the farm to the policy level.