Climate Change and the Sustainable Agriculture Network
Sustainable farming practices reduce the use of chemicals to minimize the impact on the environment. This includes avoiding synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.
The population ecology predictor variables indicate that counties with more SAKN have greater interest in environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. Energy for these communities may be provided by the development of environmental interest group communities that advocate for preferred policies.
Adaptation to Climate Change
The world’s 75 million smallholder farmers rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. But climate change has made farming more difficult and unpredictable. As growing seasons become hotter, some crops are more susceptible to heat stress and frosts while others experience water shortages and nutrient depletion. Extreme weather events like floods, droughts and sand storms further complicate the situation for farmers.
Strategies to adapt to climate change can help improve food security and reduce pressure on the natural environment. But it’s important to consider the impacts on farmers’ diversity, power and social justice. Failure to do so can result in maladaptive outcomes that benefit some farmers at the expense of others (Hellin and Fisher 2019).
One approach that has been gaining prominence is ‘climate smart agriculture’ or CSA. CSA aims to simultaneously increase agricultural productivity and improve food security while reducing emissions and increasing carbon sinks. A key challenge is to understand the trade-offs between these objectives and to identify policies that enable the most productive yet sustainable pathways for agriculture.
Sustainable land management includes the use of practices that reduce soil erosion and promote nutrient balance. It also ensures that natural water resources are protected, and that ecosystem services such as clean water, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration are conserved.
In the case of food production, SAN partners with farmers to improve land stewardship practices on their farms and through policy interventions that create an enabling environment for them to make the right choices. It also focuses on raising awareness among farmers, helping them adapt to climate change, and reducing the risks of natural disasters on farm productivity through improved sustainable land management (SLM) practices.
Core LQIs provide valuable information on the biophysical components of sustainability, but they must be complemented by indicators related to economic viability, system resilience, and social equity and acceptability. This will require significant additional research to be able to develop, validate, and deploy such indicators. SAN welcomes CABI into its membership to help build this capacity.
Carbon markets are a tool to put a price on pollution and create incentives for companies to reduce their emissions. But their current design is fragmented and unregulated, creating a complex web of demand and supply that lacks robust risk mitigation structures for market participants.
Exchanges have been experimenting with ways to simplify the trading of credits and make them more transparent for end buyers. For instance, CBL and ACX have set up standard products – Nature-based Global Emission Offset (N-GEO) or the global nature token – that require certain basic specifications such as type of project, geography, vintage, and certification by a restricted group of standards.
Hybrid models like the Japanese GX League and Australia’s voluntary carbon market show that carbon markets can be anchored by government recognition to add credibility, centralization and clarity to the system. However, governments need to ensure that the carbon markets they recognize are incorporated into their national climate strategies.
Resilience, the capacity of agriculture and rural communities to withstand or quickly recover from climate change-related events, is crucial for sustainable food systems. It can help stabilize crop yields and income, as well as improve dietary quality. In addition, investments in resilience can increase the value of farm and ecosystem assets for investors.
This research explores the sustainability and resilience of Kenya’s tea upstream supply chain. It uses a multi-case study approach with in-depth semi-structured interviews with nine producer organisations in the Kenyan tea industry. The theoretical lens of the Planetary Boundaries theory is used to examine the relationship between sustainability and resilience in the agri-food sector.
The findings indicate that the relationships between sustainability and resilience are non-linear. When producers are aware of the planetary boundaries constraints, their sustainability practices tend to be more robust, but their resilience does not seem to improve at the same rate. Consequently, the implementation of sustainability and resilience practices in ASC needs to be considered carefully.