Home / Research & policy: two peas in a pod? Session 7 - Upscaling CSA through multi-stakeholder participation

Upscaling CSA through multi-stakeholder participation

Blog conference session 7 - Climate Smart Agriculture
December 12, 2017 By: The Broker Image: The Broker

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heat stress, droughts and floods. This could cause crop and livestock losses and increase food insecurity and vulnerability. East Africa is categorized as the most vulnerable global region to climate variability and change. Climate smart agricultural (CSA) is an integrative approach for transforming agriculture that offers unique opportunities to meet the multiple objectives of improving food and nutrition security, enhancing adaptation to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a local scale.

The session on upscaling CSA through multi-stakeholder participation brought together eight research projects in East Africa that have recently been funded as part of the fourth GCP Call, a collaboration with the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Programme (CCAFS) that aims to strengthen CCAFS efforts and promote the scaling up of CSA. These research groups will start their research activities early in 2018; therefore, this session allowed policy representatives to engage in the project from the onset. The complete concept note and background paper can be found here.

This session started with a general presentation on CSA by Dawit Solomon (CCAFS), followed by pitches from the GCP research projects, and a response from policy. It then continued with World Café discussions. The different GCP research projects will be working on a range of CSA topics such as promoting climate resilient maize varieties, identifying business models for scaling up climate smart practices, selecting seed varieties with high nutritional value adapted to climate stress, and identifying institutional conditions for inclusive low-emission development interventions for the dairy sector. The researchers will use innovative and integrated approaches like farmers field and business schools and feedback systems through mobile phones, as well as examining “user logics“.

Sjoerd Croqué from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and Tjeerd de Vries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs both highlighted the importance of using knowledge from research for policy development and capacity development in this area in order to meet the great need for innovations for local solutions. Croqué stated that the innovations discussed in the plenary session are also applicable to CSA. De Vries mentioned that while policy benefits from knowledge, it is often more generic than the knowledge needed by the practitioners’ initiatives that policy supports. He added that the Ministry is currently trying to formulate responses around the policy goal of ‘ecologically sustainable food systems’, and for that “we need different kinds of knowledge on how to organize integrated interventions”.

During the World Café sessions, the statements that were discussed focused on research informed policies for upscaling CSA strategies, the role of the private sector, and innovative finance mechanisms. These statements provoked some interesting discussions. Sarah Cummings from VU University Amsterdam mentioned the role of local farmer knowledge in CSA. This highlighted the need for co-creation and a bottom-up approach, which is also part of the research project using “citizen science’“. While farmers have indigenous knowledge and are to some extent already resilient, climate change poses new challenges as well as the need for upscaling. Shadid Akbar from BIID related this to the process of behavioural change in farmers’ practices, which is also covered in the research on willingness to pay. In terms of investments by farmers in CSA, Cees Leeuwis from WUR pointed out the need for an enabling environment, including governance mechanisms, transparency, and the regulation and protection of markets, which is addressed in the research on financial diaries. The role of the private sector was acknowledged as crucial for effectiveness of CSA and attention needs to be paid to context specific approaches, such as in the case of dairy firms.

Finally, the question was asked of participants: What can you do as researcher, practitioner or policymaker? Ton van Arnhem from the TopSector Agri & Food stated that he can help in getting things on the Dutch development agenda, as an intermediary between knowledge institutes, the private sector and ministries. Ellen van Andel from the TU Delft explained about her project, which introduces weather stations in Sub Saharan Africa to improve farm practices. Such and other cost-effective solutions for improving farmers’ knowledge are needed. Research is also needed to generate more knowledge on the uptake and upscaling of climate smart agriculture. Participants agreed on the need for multi-stakeholder, multi-commitment and integrated approaches in order to achieve the most effect from upscaling CSA practices.

Background information

Watch the interview with Dawit Solomon (Video by The Broker)


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