News / Africa

Three Countries to Test Climate Smart Farming

Joe DeCapua

Malawi, Zambia and Vietnam will take part in a new project to transition to climate-smart agriculture. The goal is to help farmers adapt to climate change, while helping to control farming’s carbon emissions.

The EU and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization are funding the $6.7 million initiative.

FAO’s Wendy Mann is a special advisor to the project called: Climate-Smart Agriculture - Capturing the Synergies between Mitigation, Adaptation and Food security.

She said, “Climate-smart agriculture is defined as growth in agricultural incomes and productivity to support food security and poverty reduction. And to do this you need to incorporate necessary adaptation to changing climate conditions, but also trying to capture the potential mitigation benefits, which could bring financing to some of the agricultural development goals of those countries.”

Tailor made

The FAO considers Zambia and Malawi low income developing countries. However, they already have climate change adaptation policies that rely heavily on agriculture. Mann said Vietnam has different reasons for taking part in the three year project.

“Vietnam has changed from being a rice importing country to a rice exporting country. So they have had a certain degree of success in their agricultural sector. But they’re very worried and concerned about what climatic changes will do, particularly in the Mekong Delta with sea level rise, which is one of their big rice growing areas. So, they’re afraid of sort of falling backwards,” she said.

Malawi, Zambia and Vietnam will tailor their agricultural policies to their individual needs. Mann said the FAO and EU are not looking for a one-size fits all policy for climate-smart farming.

“Definitely not,” she said, “We have said very clearly in the project document and in other things that we’ve written that there are no blueprints and countries under specific context will determine how it’s implemented in terms of practices, policies and the financing arrangements. Because as it sort of cuts across food security, development and climate change there are different financing mechanisms also. And how to you blend those optimally?”

The FAO special advisor said the information gathered on the local level can have ramifications on the international level.

“We’re also hoping that as countries build capacity and confidence to deal with some of these subjects that it may also help the international climate change convention negotiations to move forward a little bit more quickly, as they have been dragging a little bit lately,” she said.

“In the end,” Mann said, “it’s the farmer who’ll take new policies forward with governments and various agencies lending their support.

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