Developing climate-smart agriculture to face climate variability in West Africa: Challenges and lessons learnt
This paper (PDF) in the Journal of Cleaner Production reviews the prospects for climate-smart agriculture (CSA) development and promotion in West Africa, as well as lessons learnt and challenges. It is evident that West Africa is vulnerable to climate change and variability. CSA seems to be a suitable approach to address the challenges of building synergies among climate change mitigation, adaptation and food security which are closely related within agriculture, and minimizing their potential negative trade-offs. Among numerous CSA technologies, agroforestry, soil and water conservation technologies and climate information services are highly valued promising options for climate change adaptation and risk management in the region. In addition, institutional settings at the community, national and regional levels such as the establishment of multi-stakeholder innovation platforms, national science policy dialogue platforms on CSA and the formulation of the West Africa CSA Alliance are found to be crucial in promoting capacity development and awareness of CSA technologies and innovations in the region. However, CSA also still faces a number of challenges, including the lack of clear conceptual understanding, limited enabling policy and financing. The prospects of CSA in West Africa hinge on the capacities of farming households and the region’s national institutions to understand the environmental, economic and social challenges in the context of climate change, and consequently self-mobilize to develop and implement responsive policies at appropriate scales.