Cost and benefit analysis for climate-smart soil practices in Western Kenya
The study (PDF) by CIAT and CGIAR-WLE aimed to assess costs and benefits of selected climate-smart soil (CSS) practices as a step toward understanding whether they are beneficial or not – both from private and social points of view – for farmers. Most of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend heavily on agriculture for income and food security. Any effort aiming to sustain and improve the productivity in agriculture is, therefore, an important step towards improving the livelihoods of many households. Soils are integral to the function of food and fibre production. In addition, they have a large potential for sequestering carbon and mitigating greenhouse gases. The adoption of climate-smart soil practices (CSS) can improve the soil-nitrogen cycle, enhance yield, soil fertility, crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce soil erosion and water pollution. This could, in turn, help to boost food production, income and household ability to adapt. However, a review of published literature indicates a lack of in-depth empirical analysis on the costs and benefits associated with implementing these CSS practices. Therefore, there is a gap about the cost effectiveness of adopting these practices – a key ingredient to the development of appropriate policies. The results indicate implementing CSS practices yield positive outcomes. However, expected the cost of implementation and maintenance varies by practices. All the CSS practices studied also have different payback periods. So, it is economically justifiable for households across the different farm typologies to adopt and implement the studied CSS practices. There is need for policy and institutional support. Policy support could for example through subsidies for inputs such as fertilizer, farm equipment and machineries. Institutional support could be provided through supporting and facilitating agricultural interaction and learning between farmers, projects and agricultural extension officers.