Scaling up agricultural interventions: Case studies of climate-smart agriculture
This paper, in the Agricultural Systems journal, addresses the advantages and disadvantages of specific approaches that hold out promise for scaling up climate-smart agriculture (CSA). If CSA is meaningfully to address the development challenges posed by climate change effective approaches will be needed to scale up research findings. Eleven case studies are used to exemplify scaling-up strategies based on: 1) value chains and private sector involvement; 2) information and communication technologies and agro-advisory services and; 3) policy engagement. Results showed that different strategies exhibit different characteristics. There may thus be tradeoffs to consider when choosing one strategy over another. All three offer considerable potential for taking CSA interventions to scale to contribute meaningfully to the challenges of poverty and climate change. However, there still may be unavoidable trade-offs to consider when choosing one strategy over another, particularly between reaching large number of farmers and addressing farmers’ specific contexts. A challenge is estimating the costs and benefits of different scaling activities. Cost comparisons would be useful for gauging economic efficiency. More rigorous information is needed and this warrants further work. Another challenge is integrating knowledge across multiple levels. It is not only the challenge of moving from small-scale projects to implementing policy with broad reach, but also devolving action from national to local level. A third challenge is addressing equity issues in scaling up. It is difficult to establish who is benefiting from the adoption of CSA and whether disadvantaged groups are being excluded. Knowing some of the limitations of these studies can help program designers create better-structured scaling mechanisms appropriate for specific future interventions to address some of the shortcomings.
A related blog by CCAFS can be found here.