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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Making smart decisions for a food-secure future

(Reposted from CCAFS website)

Farmer in Bouwere village, Mali. The CSA Prioritization Framework is currently piloted in Guatemala and Mali. Five pilots are planned for 2015 in Africa and Asia. Photo: P. Casier (CGIAR)

Farmer in Bouwere village, Mali. The CSA Prioritization Framework is currently piloted in Guatemala and Mali. Five pilots are planned for 2015 in Africa and Asia. Photo: P. Casier (CGIAR)

It is clear that climate change is increasingly threatening our food systems. Many farmers are already adopting different sustainable agriculture practices, such as conservation agriculture techniques (minimum or no-till, mulching, crop rotations), more climate-resistant crop varieties, and silvopastoral systems, among others. One could say that we are on the right track. Yet, many times such ‘climate-smart’ efforts remain undocumented or lack continuity in implementation, making it a challenge to take then to scale.

Lack of information and funding constraints are often at the root of these challenges. Data limitations on outcomes of implementing practices and costs and benefits can make it hard to prioritize practices to invest in. And at worst, these can result in inadequate channeling of agricultural funds. Decision makers, be they farmers, policy-makers or donors, are left with the conundrum of finding the best ways to address trade-offs between the desire to boost yields, adapt agriculture to climate, social, and economic changes, and lower the emissions contributions.

These challenges given, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have created a Climate-Smart Agriculture Prioritization Framework (CSA-PF) that facilitates the identification of Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) investment portfolios. The process is stakeholder-driven, bringing together actors across multiple levels to discussion options for achieving gains in productivity, adaptation, and mitigation and the tradeoffs.

Who can use the framework and for what purpose?

Edwin Rojas from the  Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food in Guatemala, discussing challenges of decision-making in agriculture and climate change at the CCAFS COP 20 Side Event in Lima, 1-2 December 2014. Photo: Gian Betancourt (CIAT)

Edwin Rojas from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food in Guatemala, discussing challenges of decision-making in agriculture and climate change at the CCAFS COP 20 Side Event in Lima, 1-2 December 2014. Photo: Gian Betancourt (CIAT)

The CSA-PF aims to guide stakeholders in optimizing national and sub-national agricultural planning, by providing methods for:

  • identifying agricultural production systems and (vulnerable) regions key for food security in the country/region
  • identifying existing and promising CSA practices in relation to key production systems
  • evaluating the context-specific outcomes of these practices
  • analyzing the costs and benefits of implementation, as well as opportunities and barriers to adoption
  • identifying existing policies and strategies that support the implementation and/or scale out of CSA practices on the field

Once developed, portfolios of CSA practices can be used for channeling agricultural investment funds in the face of climate change. The CSA-PF was designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of various stakeholder groups including national governments, NGOs, regional decision-making bodies, development organizations, donors, community-based organizations, and others.

How does it work?

Overview of the CSA Prioritization Framework

Overview of the CSA Prioritization Framework. For a detailed description of the phases, see the full article on the CCAFS blog

The CSA-PF uses a four phase approach to guide stakeholders through the process of filtering a long list of applicable CSA practices into portfolios of priority practices. The phases are additive, with each refining the previous outputs. The process generally takes between 4-8 months, but can be simplified and still provide valuable inputs into investment decision-making.

It is important to note that this is one recommended flow for the prioritization process, but additional steps and activities can complement or replace existing ones, in order to make sure the framework suits the needs of users. Tools and processes such as crop modelling, participatory scenario development, and frameworks for evaluating sustainable land management can be integrated with this approach. Likewise, where the main users are community-level and indigenous groups, bottom-up processes (additional community-level dialogues, participatory surveys, etc.) are essential in order to ensure representations and equity principles.

Where is the CSA-PF being used?

The framework is currently being used by national government actors in Guatemala and by a national stakeholder platform in Mali. Five pilots are planned for 2015 in Africa and Asia, in collaboration with the Africa CSA Alliance, USAID, and various country partners, and with a community-level organization in Colombia.

You can check more of our documents on the topic:

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Written by  Andreea Nowak

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