Recently, the U.S. Government approved a 5-year project on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices in coffee and cocoa value chains, called “Feed the Future Private Sector Engagement in Climate Smart Agriculture Project”. The project, funded by Feed the Future, will run between 2016 and 2020.
While smallholders in Latin America and Africa live in climates uniquely suited to grow crops such as coffee, cocoa, nuts, and tropical fruits, they often lack access to capital and information to participate in these crops’ markets. At the same time, they increasingly face severe threats to their livelihoods from changing weather and climate patterns. Climate-smart strategies such as diversified production, agroforestry, and conservation agriculture can enhance food security and support rural livelihoods by conserving and sustainably using the natural resources upon which agriculture and global supply chains depend.
At the other end of the value chain, agri-food companies recognize the strategic importance of investing in their smallholder suppliers. While many companies are currently on the sidelines, good data and an easily adaptable framework based on solid evidence will encourage their participation in adopting CSA strategies. The development of a CSA value chain engagement model will enable agri-food companies to launch or deepen climate smart initiatives. Exploring how this can be achieved for different companies, crops and sourcing regions is the focus of this project.
The Linking Farmers to Markets research team will be involved in this initiative through CCAFS, the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Other consortium partners are the Sustainable Food Lab and Root Capital. Together this consortium aims to co-develop a learning community for climate-smart value chains and landscapes that provides a method for building the business case for agribusiness engagement in smallholder resilience.
CSA practices in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia. Photo credit: Georgina Smith (CIAT)
Water harvesting in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia. Photo credit: Georgina Smith (CIAT)
The 5-year project will enhance our understanding of how private sector engagement and public-private coordination can increase the adoption of CSA strategies that improve productivity and resilience of smallholder farmers and their regions. These CSA strategies are expected to contribute to poverty reduction while increasing food security and reducing GHG emissions. The learning community will also build and demonstrate an effective model that Feed the Future and other organizations can use to expand private sector engagement in CSA.
The project will aggregate learning from existing value chain initiatives across the developing world and demonstrate how to incorporate CSA into those initiatives by focusing on private and public collaboration in specific smallholder value chains (initially coffee and cocoa, with options to include other crops) in multiple geographies.
Overarching goals are to unlock private sector (global and local agri-business) engagement in CSA, and to strengthen Feed the Future’s capacity to stimulate investment and effectively partner with the private sector.
These goals lead to three main objectives:
- Secure private sector commitments to smallholder CSA;
- Engage private sector actors in the co-development and implementation of CSA action plans;
- Facilitate an expanding CSA value chain landscape / community of practice and investment in additional value chains.
To achieve these objectives, over the next years the consortium will lead the development of several process and decision-support tools, such as a climate risk diagnostic, a menu of recommended CSA practices with cost-benefit analysis, a field-level gaps assessment of CSA practices, and a M&E toolkit.