At a global scale, both intensification and extensification of agriculture is responsible for a negative impact on environment by high level of greenhouse gas emission, promoting climate change through depletion of natural resources. According to FAO 2011 report,the world’s population is going to reach 9 billion by 2050. Total food production will have to increase by approximately 70% to feed this growing population. About 870 million people are already estimated to be undernourished. Climate change is an added hurdle on the way to this goal, it causes rise in temperature and changes in rainfall pattern, pest and diseases find new ranges and more weather extremes lead to reduced global food production. According to 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 Paris agreement has recognized the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, particularly concentrating on vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) has the potential to increase sustainable productivity based on scale such as at local level,it increases productivity by using improved management techniques such as targeted use of fertilizers and increasing the resilience of farming systems to climate impacts consistent with CSA in smallholder systems which is applicable to all regions and climates of the tropics and subtropics. It is recommended that the following practices can be applied based on the topographical conditions such as rice management for humid conditions, grassland restoration and drip irrigation for dry land, terraces practices and contour planting forslopes. One of the most popular success story of CSA is from Sahel (West Africa), over 5 million hectare of degraded land in the Sahel have been restored through a practice known as ‘farmer-managed natural regeneration’ thus increasing the food security of millions of people and enhancing their resilience in the face of climate change.
CSA, however, is not a generic agricultural technology or practice that can be universally applied, but it is location specific and knowledge intensive approach which requires site-specific assessments to identify suitable agricultural technologies and practices. However, the good news is that, climate analogues (finding future climate for potential adaptation) already exist and it is estimated that 70% of expected future climatic conditions already exist somewhere location on the earth. It is essential to identify those analogues and adopt them for environmental sustainability.
For sustainable CSA, it is essential to converges other sectors like energy and water that are essential for capitalizing on potential synergies with agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries. CSA also help in enhancing over all prosperity by developing villages in to “Climate Smart Villages” that are Weather Smart, Water Smart, Carbon Smart, Nitrogen Smart, Energy Smart and Knowledge Smart. The CSA provides appropriate climate change solutions through government – private sector intervention in policies and financial investments. Agromet Advisory Services is an example of such alignment which at present is accessible to over 2.5 million farmers in India and Weather Based Crop Insurance adopted more than 9 million farmers. These interventions will help in breaking barriers for adoption, especially among farmers. This is just the beginning and more number of interventions shall be staged in the near future.
Climate smart agriculture is not a new agricultural system or a set of practices, but is a new approach, a way to guide the needed changes of agricultural systems, given the necessity to jointly address food security and climate change.