Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture - Pacific Disaster Net

Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture - Pacific Disaster Net

A BackgrounderJune 2012

This backgrounder was written by Youjin B. Chung and Christina Billingsley with inputs from Ruchi Tripathi, CelsoMarcatto, Aftab Alam Khan, and Harjeet Singh. Section 4 is largely drawn from ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling withSoil Carbon Markets While Africa Burns, and Section 5 is based on an internal ActionAid Toolkit on Climate ResilientSustainable Agriculture.Cover photos: [L] A rural worker hand-harvests sugarcane for ethanol and sugar production in Goiás State, Brazil – aregion where monoculture sugarcane has been produced for several decades. Brazil is the world’s second-largest ethanolproducer, and sugarcane is the primary feedstock. Besides the destruction of native vegetation, the monoculturesugarcane industry has replaced areas of food production and cattle-raising in several States of Brazil, expanding theagricultural borders through the Amazon. It has also displaced small farmers from their land, increased unemployment,worsened food insecurity, caused health problems for the rural workers, depleted the soil, and contaminated watersources.© Celso Marcatto. [R] Walmir de Miranda is an agroecological farmer of the Queimadas Rural Workers´ Union inParaíba State, Brazil. He and his fellow farmers practice multi-cropping and integrated crop-livestock farming, growingcorn, beans, cassava, vegetables, and many different types of fruits. He uses the cactus to feed his animals, such as cowsand goats. Since water is one of the main challenges in the semi-arid region of Paraíba State, he has constructed anunderground dam, stone tanks, and a cistern to collect rainwater. © Celso Marcatto.

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................... 4Linkage between Climate Change and Agriculture .................................................................................................. 5Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Agriculture .................................................................................... 8False Solutions to Climate Change .............................................................................................................................. 9Biofuel Production ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 9Soil carbon markets ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 9Climate-Smart Agriculture ..................................................................................................................................................................... 11Defining Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture as a Real Alternative to False Solutions........................... 14Gender equity and women’s rights .................................................................................................................................................... 14Soil conservation ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 15Sustainable water management .......................................................................................................................................................... 15Agrobiodiversity preservation .............................................................................................................................................................. 15Livelihood diversification ........................................................................................................................................................................ 16Improved processing and marketing ................................................................................................................................................ 16Supporting farmers’ organisations and collective action ......................................................................................................... 17Conclusion and Recommendations ........................................................................................................................... 18Endnotes ....................................................................................................................................................................... 20

In recent times, climate change has received thehighest level of political and media attention,however little has been achieved to arrest theincreasing carbon emissions that are responsible forglobal warming. Agriculture, along with land usechange, enjoys double distinction of being both adriver and a victim of climate change. On one hand,the carbon emissions related to each stage of theagricultural value chain – from seed to plate –contribute to climate change, while on the otherhand, the negative impacts of climate change (e.g.growing frequency and intensity of rainfall, highertemperatures, shorter growing seasons, changingpatterns of pests and diseases) may lead to cropdamage, land degradation, and food insecurity. 1ActionAid’s field work confirms that climatechange-induced declines in crop production arealready happening today and affecting the foodsecurity of rural smallholder farmers. 2 In fact, theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)estimates that in some countries in Africa, yieldsfrom rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to50 per cent by 2020 3 , and in Central and South Asia,crop yields could fall by up to 30 per cent by 2050 4as a result of climate change. India alone could lose18 per cent of its rain-fed cereal production. 5 Inother words, too much or too little rainfall spellsdisaster for as much as 70 per cent of the world’sextreme poor who depend on rain-fed agriculturefor their livelihoods. 6However, rich countries and multilateralagencies are turning a blind eye to the potentialof agroecology as a long-term strategy totackling climate change. Instead, they arepromoting “false solutions”– in the form ofbiofuels, carbon markets, and soil carbonsequestration which comes packaged with“Climate-Smart Agriculture” – to shift theirresponsibility and mitigation burden onto poorcountries and communities. Such solutions areirrelevant, if not harmful, to the very groups theyaim to serve. Instead of meeting their obligations toprovide adequate, predictable, additional andreliable public finance to developing countries toreduce emissions, protect forests, and adapt toclimatic shocks, rich countries are diverting theirtime, effort and money to create new markets forprivate sector interests. 8In short, this document will illustrate therelationship between climate change andagriculture; review and demonstrate how currentclimate change policy responses fall short ofaddressing the realities of poor rural farmers whoare the most vulnerable to the impacts of climatechange; and paint an alternative way forward bydefining CRSA and suggesting recommendations tonational governments.In the face of this imminent threat, smallholderfarmers have begun to respond to failing cropsand increased hunger by adopting low-inputagroecological farming techniques that helpimprove their food security and diversify theirlivelihoods. 7 ActionAid believes thatagroecology-based Climate Resilient SustainableAgriculture (CSRA) is an effective way torespond to both the climate and food crisis.CRSA proposes to overcome the gaps ofcontemporary mitigation and adaptationprogrammes in agriculture by bringing to the forethe actual priorities, needs, and knowledge offarming communities themselves. CRSA prioritisesthe right to food, environmental conservation, andlong-term community resilience in order to reducefood insecurity at the local level, and contribute toeffective national and international climate changepolicies that support self-sufficiency andsustainability in agricultural systems worldwide.

for nearly 60 per cent of nitrous oxide (N 2O)emissions, mainly from chemical fertilisers, and forabout 50 per cent of methane emissions (CH 4),much of which comes from livestock. 16The relationship between climate change andagriculture is complex both ecologically andpolitically. Climate variability is inherently linked tothe productive capacity of agricultural productionsystems worldwide. Although many traditionalfarming communities have been able to cope withclimatic extremes throughout history, it is the paceof human-induced climate change and theincreasing unpredictability of climatic conditionsthat seriously constrain their adaptive capacity,especially for the resource-poor farmers. Suddenshocks and extreme weather conditions, such ascyclones, floods, and droughts, are projected toincrease in intensity and/or frequency and locationwith climate change – a trend that has beenobserved in recent decades. 9 Compromised accessto water, basic infrastructures, and other agriculturalinputs exacerbate tenuous livelihood strategies ofthe rural poor, the majority of whom dependdirectly or indirectly on agriculture. 10 Hence, withoutappropriate response mechanisms, climate changecould severely impede the ability of developingcountries to feed themselves.In fact, climate change is expected to have a farreachingimpact on crop productivityparticularly in tropical zones of the developingworld. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, arid andsemi-arid areas are projected to increase by 60million to 90 million hectares, while in SouthernAfrica, it is estimated that yields from rain-fedagriculture could be reduced by up to 50 per centbetween 2000 and 2020. 11 Estimates suggest that a4°C rise in temperature (by 2100 under a high endemissions scenario) may reduce cereal crop yields inSouth East Asia by up to 5 per cent. 12 By 2080, 600million additional people (to the current 925million), could be at risk of hunger as a direct resultof climate change. 13At the same time, the global climate is beinginfluenced by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsfrom conventional, industrial agriculture, which isresponsible for between 11 and 15 per cent of totalglobal emissions 14 , or as much as 30 per cent whenconsidering land‐use change, includingdeforestation driven by agricultural expansion forfood, fibre, and fuel. 15 The sector is also responsibleDespite these consequences, the conventionalindustrial farming model has been largelypreserved and is continuing to grow, replacingthe local, decentralised small-scale foodsystems 17 connected to traditional cultures,climates, geography, and ecosystems. 18Conventional agriculture is based on GreenRevolution technologies which spread worldwidesince the mid-1960s. Many crop scientists, publicagricultural research centres, multinational seedcompanies, and various philanthropic organisationsbelieve that a “second” Green Revolution – basedlargely on biotechnology, the use of geneticallymodified (GM) high yield herbicide-resistant seeds,and their associated fertilisers, pesticides andcropping systems – hold the key to the current foodand climate crisis. 19Thanks to the new seeds - accompanied bychemical fertilisers, pesticides, and irrigation - tensof millions of extra tons of grain a year are beingharvested. However, the Green Revolution provedto be irrevocably unsustainable, as it pollutedwater bodies and degraded soils, causeddramatic loss of biodiversity, agrobiodiversityand traditional knowledge, favoured larger andwealthier farms, indebted a myriad ofsmallholder farmers around the world, poisonedfarmers and farm workers in some cases, and leftmany marginalised and resource-poor farmerswithout adequate access to food (Box 1). 20Particularly in Asia, although the Green Revolution’ssuccess in expanding food production has helpedreduce poverty levels, recent evidence shows that ithas resulted in environmental degradation andworsened inequality within countries. 21 In fact,between 1980 and 2000, chemical fertiliser use perhectare increased 11-fold in Vietnam, 6-fold inThailand and nearly doubled in China. 22 Accordingto the United Nations Economic and SocialCommission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), theoveruse of fertilisers in countries in Asia is havingdetrimental effects on the structure and the nutrientbalance of the soil. 23 Unfortunately, since farmingpractices that depend on chemical fertilisers do notmaintain the soil’s natural fertility, farmers need toapply ever more chemicals to achieve the sameresults. 24 In fact, ActionAid’s research with farmers inthe Irrawaddy Delta region of Myanmar, wherefarmers suffer from increasing land degradation, hasfound that yields are falling due to declining soilfertility, but farmers cannot afford to use the ever-

increasing amounts of expensive chemical inputsneeded to maintain or increase yields. Furthermore,vast areas of cropland, grassland, woodland andforest in Asia have also been lost or degraded as aresult of the Green Revolution; in South andSoutheast Asia, around 74 per cent of agriculturallands have been severely affected by erosion, wind,water or chemical pollution. 25Conventional farming’s success in expanding foodproduction has helped to reduce poverty levels: in1975, nearly 3 out of 5 Asians were living in poverty;this declined to less than 1 in 3 by 1995. 26 The percapita availability of calories in Asia increased by 30per cent during 1970-95. 27 However, the figure of568 million hungry Asians testifies to the failure toeliminate poverty and hunger. In some countries atthe forefront of the Green Revolution, hunger levelshave actually risen, as in India, where 225 millionpeople are now undernourished, compared to 177million in 1990; the proportion of Indians hungryhas decreased only marginally, from 20 to 19 percent during the same period. 28Although conventional farming methods haveincreased yields in Asia’s agriculturally optimal areas,they have been less effective in marginalised andresource-poor areas where farmers, especiallywomen, have no access to modern inputs andtechnologies. 29 Although conventional farming hassometimes benefitted landless people by providingwork opportunities on farms, it has also displacedmany smallholder farmers as production has beenconsolidated into large, more concentrated farmingsystems. 30 In fact, inequalities between regions andfarmers have also increased under conventionalfarming, 31 and millions of farmers have becomeheavily indebted due to taking out loans to buyexpensive external inputs.In Latin America, the use of chemical pesticides hasshifted dramatically from 9 per cent share of sales in1985 to 21 per cent in 2008, largely due to theexpansion of soya bean production, which nowcovers 16.6 million ha, or 50 per cent of thecropping area of Argentina. 32 Furthermore, theexpansion of conventional agriculture during thepast two decades has led to the conversion of vastareas of savannah and the Amazon rainforest intocroplands integrated with global markets, and it isexpected that 22 million more hectares will beconverted to farmland, mainly soy fields, by 2020,and most of the Brazilian Cerrado (a savannah likevegetation) will disappear by 2030. 33 Not only doesthis deforestation and land use change contributeto climate change from the release of largequantities of GHGs into the atmosphere, but alsonegatively affect a wide variety of indigenouspeoples and traditional communities – such as thequilombolas (descendants of escaped slavecommunities) and babaçu nut breakers – thatdepend on natural resources for their livelihoods. 34According to the IPCC, the estimated globaltechnical mitigation potential for agriculture is at 5.5to 6 Gt of CO 2-equivalent per year by 2030. 35However, as the Special Rapporteur on the Right toFood affirms, this potential will not be realised fromconventional agriculture backed by the logic ofGreen Revolution, as the short-term productiongains will be offset by longer-term losses arisingfrom degradation of ecosystems and over-relianceon agrochemicals, which will significantly impedethe ability of the future generation to feedthemselves and sustain their livelihoods. 36 In fact, itis estimated that as much as 89 per cent of themitigation potential from agriculture is likely tocome from low-carbon and resource-conservingproduction methods based on agroecology 37(Box 2), which ActionAid’s CRSA is based upon.Despite its enormous potential, agroecology as along-term strategy to respond to climate change(Box 3) has largely been overlooked.Agroecology is both a science and a set of practices.It is the application of ecological concepts andprinciples to the design and management ofsustainable agricultural ecosystems, and its practicesare based on enhancing the habitat, bothaboveground and in the soil, in order to producehealthy plants by promoting beneficial organismswhile deterring crop pests. 38 In other words,agroecological farming builds the health andresilience of ecosystem functions while reducing thereliance on external inputs such as syntheticchemical pesticides, fertilisers and fossil fuels thathave high energy, environmental and health costs. 39In fact, the findings from the InternationalAssessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science andTechnology for Development (IAASTD) show thatagroecology is well-suited to withstanding theenvironmental and economic stresses posed by

climate change, shifting pest pressures and volatilityin petroleum and commodity prices. 40The first major international climate scienceconference was held in 1979 by the WorldMeteorological Organisation (WMO), which calledon governments to “foresee and prevent potentialman-made changes in climate”. 41 In 1988, theUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)and WMO set up the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change (IPCC) to assess the state of existingknowledge about the climate system; theenvironmental, economic and social impacts ofclimate change; and possible response strategies. In1992, the United Nations Framework Convention onClimate Change (UNFCC) was created following the1992 Rio Earth Summit. 42 Signed by 154 nations, itagreed to prevent ‘dangerous’ warming from GHGsand set voluntary targets for reducing emissions.The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and came intoforce in 2005, is the first international treaty to setlegally binding emissions reduction targets forindustrialised nations. 43disadvantage; and b) the treaty does not apply todeveloping countries, including China, currently thelargest emitter.In 2006, the Stern Review on the Economics ofClimate Change, notable for popularising theadverse economic impacts of climate change, playeda key role in re-framing and reviving theinternational debate on climate change. Thedocument noted that costs and risks of unmitigatedclimate change will amount to the “equivalent tolosing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now andforever” and that damages may even rise “to 20% ofglobal GDP”. 45 The Stern Review further advocatedthat international organisations ought to approachclimate change policy through emissions trading,technology cooperation, deforestation reductions,and by enhancing adaptation strategies in theworld’s poorest countries. 46The Kyoto Protocol refers to various policymeasures, including promotion of “sustainableforms of agriculture”, as a way for developedcountries to achieve their emission reductions andlimitations. The Protocol allows for several "flexiblemechanisms", including emissions trading, the cleandevelopment mechanism (CDM) and jointimplementation to allow Annex I countries(developed countries and economies in transition)to meet their GHG emission limits by purchasing“emission reductions credits (ERCs)” from elsewhere,through financial exchanges and projects thatreduce emissions in non-Annex I countries(developing countries), or from other Annex Icountries with excess allowances. Essentially, theKyoto Protocol recognised land use change, forestrysectors, and agricultural activities as both sources ofGHG emissions and also as potential sources ofcarbon offsets 44 . However, these activities were notincluded in any of the flexible mechanisms due tothe issues around permanence and measurement. Inaddition, although the Protocol offered a pivotalpoint in establishing commitments to mitigatingclimate change, it also triggered a political backlashfrom industrialised countries, particularly the UnitedStates, who rejected the treaty on the grounds that:a) complying with the Protocol would negativelyaffect its economy and put it at a competitive

Mitigation (i.e. reducing the level or rate of GHGemissions that cause climate change) andadaptation (i.e. managing the effects of climatechange and reducing risks and vulnerabilities)are two complementary strategies for dealingwith climate change. Mitigation schemes inagriculture are broadly regarded as pre-emptiveactions that reduce net carbon emissions from foodproduction and limit long-term climate change. 47On the other end of the spectrum, adaptationschemes in agriculture can be reactive to shiftingprecipitation patterns at the farm-level, for exampleby changing sowing dates or controlling erosion,and/or proactive, which involves wider institutionaland policy changes aimed at increasing theresilience and adaptive capacity of agriculturalsystems, such as redistribution of resources andsupport for new livelihood options for smallholderfarmers. 48 Mitigation and adaptation areundoubtedly inter-linked; the amount of adaptationresponse necessary will depend partly on thesuccess of mitigation efforts, and at the same time,some interventions such as promotingagroecological farming systems can help facilitateboth mitigation and adaptation. 49there are no precise figures, the UNFCC estimatesthat US$14 billion will be needed globally by 2030as additional annual investments to cover the costsof adaptation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries 51 ;and the World Bank and the International FoodPolicy Research Institute (IFPRI) project an annualinvestment of US$7.1-7.3 billion required fordeveloping countries (with Sub-Saharan Africarequiring 40 per cent of the total with greatestshare of investments needed in roads, Latin Americain agricultural research, and Asia in irrigationefficiency). 52 Despite the recognition of thesestaggering costs, the current adaptation deficit inagriculture is extremely high. 53 What is moreproblematic is that public finances are beingwasted on false solutions in the form of biofuels,soil carbon markets, and “Climate-SmartAgriculture”, which can potentially cripple thelivelihoods of the world’s most vulnerablecommunities, and worsen the climate crisis inthe long-run. These false solutions will bescrutinised one by one in the following section.Many mitigation schemes in developingcountries, however, are biased againstsmallholder farmers. Since developing countriescontribute less GHG emissions compared todeveloped countries, mitigation schemes in theformer are typically designed to help offsetemissions in the latter. This, however, results inperverse incentives that actually encourage pollutingactivities, and shift the blame and responsibility foraddressing climate change from conventionalfarmers in rich countries to the poor smallholderfarmers in developing countries – the very peoplewho are least responsible for causing the problem.On the other hand, adaptation policiesimplemented in developing countries arefragmented and are faced with the challenges ofinsufficient human capacity and financialresources, causing many solutions to beapproached sectorally and top-down. 50 While

water quality and availability, and biodiversity inlocal ecosystems. 60Biofuel is seen as one of the prominent optionsfor climate change mitigation, despite growingcontroversy on its outcomes. Driven by theurgency to reduce carbon emissions, diversifyenergy sources, and avoid fossil fuel use, feedstockbiofuel production has rapidly expanded over thelast decade. Between 2007 and 2009, global biofuel,in averages, was purposed for 20 per cent in thecase of sugar cane, 16 per cent for vegetable oils, 15per cent for corn, and 4 per cent for sugar beet. 54In terms of environmental benefits, availabledata is inconclusive as to the actual GHGemission offsets that biofuels offer. 55 Accordingto the FAO, studies of corn-based ethanoldemonstrate that the process of manufacturing thisbiofuel “actually contributes more to GHG emissionsthan the burning of most fossil fuel”. 56 Moreover,the production of biofuels can lead to indirect landuse change (ILUC) – i.e. additional deforestation andland conversion of fragile ecosystems. Whenexisting agricultural land is converted to biofuelproduction, agriculture has to expand elsewhere tomeet the previous and ever-growing demand forcrops for food and feed – often at the expense offorests, grasslands, peat lands, wetlands, and othercarbon rich ecosystems. This in turn leads tosubstantial increases in GHG emissions as aconsequence of the release of carbon locked up insoils and biomass. 57 According to a comprehensivestudy by the Institute for European EnvironmentalPolicy (IEEP) in 2010, the European Union (EU)’splans for increasing biofuel production by 2020 willresult in the conversion of up to 69,000 km 2 of landto agricultural use due to ILUC globally, with totalnet GHG emissions being as much as 56 milliontonnes of extra CO 2 per year. 58 Another studycommissioned by ActionAid and its partners in 2011found that – assuming typical conditions and yields– GHG emissions from jatropha biofuel productionin Kenya will be 6 times higher than fossil fuelequivalents, principally as a result of the destructionof woodland and scrubland that will be required toplant the jatropha. 59 Furthermore, the widespreaduse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and theuse of heavy machinery and irrigation in large-scalebiofuel monocultures may weaken soil productivity,Not only harmful to the environment, biofuelproduction entails irrevocable social costs. Forinstance, certain pesticides’ toxicity compromise thehealth of both field workers exposed directly to thechemicals, as well as the local communities, sincetoxins leach into local groundwater sources. 61 Inparticular, women are especially susceptible tohazardous working conditions on plantations whencompared to men, as they are often disadvantagedin their wages, training, and exposure to safetyhazards. 62 Furthermore, biofuel production putsgreat pressures on local communities’ land rights asmillions of hectares of land in the global south arebeing acquired by private companies and foreigninvestors. In areas such as the Dakatcha Woodlandsin Kenya, communities are at the risk of beingevicted from their own land by private companieswho move in and clear the land for biofuelplantations. 63 In Brazil, the expansion ofmonoculture sugar cane has resulted in the removalof smallholder farmers from their land, increasedunemployment and violation of labour laws 64 , andexacerbated household food insecurity. Forexample, in Mirassol d’Oeste and Lambari d’Oeste,municipalities in the southeast of Mato Grosso Stateof Brazil, sugar cane businesses now occupy vastareas of land that were once established by familyfarms to grow rice, beans, and manioc (cassava),and the plantation workers face degrading workingconditions, frequently compared to slave labour. 65Indeed, according to a recent report for theInternational Land Coalition (ILC), “the allocation oflarge land areas to outside investors can always beassumed to mean the dispossession of local landusers, and their exclusion from resources that arecritically important to their livelihoods”. 66International actors such as the World Bank, theUNFCC, the FAO, and other multilateral agencieshave supported project-based carbon trading(Box 4) as an untapped resource to reduceemissions from land-use change in agriculture.This market-based mitigation strategy is largelybased on soil carbon sequestration, a biologicalprocess of capturing carbon dioxide from theatmosphere into the soil through crop residues andother organic matter. 67 In fact, the IFPRI estimatesthe technical potential of soil carbon sequestrationglobally to be as high as 2 billion to 3 billion metrictonnes per year for the next 50 years. 68 Similarly, theFAO has argued that “soil carbon sequestration on

agricultural land alone might offset the effects offossil fuel emissions and land use change for one ortwo decades or even longer.” 69There are two conceptually different categories ofcarbon transactions. The first is allowance-basedtransactions in which carbon units are allowancesor units that guarantee the “right to pollute”.Allowances are created and assigned by regulatorycap-and-trade regimes in compliance markets.Compliance markets exist where there are lawsand regulations mandating emission reductions,and where those laws also allow regulated entitiesto offset some of their emissions by payingsomeone to reduce emissions for them somewhereelse. Current cap-and-trade regimes include theInternational Emission Trading (IET) under the KyotoProtocol which generates tradable carbon unitsknown as Assigned Amount Units, and theEuropean Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), which generates EU Allowances (EUAs).The second is project-based transactions, in whichcarbon units are carbon credits, often referred to ascarbon offsets or emission credits. These credits aregenerated in various projects that aim to negate orneutralise a given amount of GHG emissionsreleased in one place by avoiding the release of thesame amount elsewhere, or by absorbing theequivalent amount through carbon sequestration.The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean DevelopmentMechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI)schemes are examples of project-basedmechanisms, and the traded units in each marketare known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs)and Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) respectively.Project-based transactions are also used by smallervoluntary carbon markets, which operate outsideinternational agreements. Voluntary markets areused by those who wish to purchase carbon creditsto offset their emissions, whether out of personalconviction or in an effort to project anenvironmentally responsible image. Currently, theglobal voluntary market is a fraction of the size ofthe compliance market. In 2009, soil carbon creditsmade up 3 per cent of the credits traded on thevoluntary market, up from 0.5 per cent in 2008; andthe average price for these credits was US$ 1.20 pertonne. 71The soil carbon market is bolstered by thefollowing two attractive propositions: 1)industrialised countries would be able to meet theiremission reduction targets without drasticallymodifying their own emissions behaviour; and 2)developing countries that participate in carbonmarkets through soil carbon sequestration can gainaccess to new sources of income. In this way, soilcarbon markets are claimed to support the dualgoals of curbing climate change and reducingpoverty. The IPCC reports that these goals can beaccomplished in many ways – e.g. throughimproving grazing and crop management,cultivating degraded lands, and modifying fertiliserapplications. 72 The FAO includes “conservationtillage, nutrient management, rotational grazing andimproved forage management, and the use ofcropping rotations and cover crops” as otheragricultural practices to maximise carbonoffsetting. 73 However, a number of seriousconcerns remain unaddressed in the popularconversations about carbon trading.First, there is no soil carbon market. In fact, theEuropean Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) –currently responsible for 98 per cent of thecompliance market – does not allow credits from soilcarbon to be traded; these rules are in place until atleast 2020. 74 In the absence of a compliance marketoutlet for soil carbon credits, the World Bank andother market proponents are currently banking onthe potential of voluntary markets to generaterevenues from soil carbon trading. 75 However, thereare scientific uncertainties about thequantification and verification of soil carbon, aswell as the issue of non-permanence ofsequestered carbon that render soil carbon trading anon-viable option. In terms of measurement, soilcarbon cannot be measured with the precisionrequired for commodity investors, and havingdifferent measurement methods and data availabilityfrom project to project means that there is nostandard definition of the commodity. 76Furthermore, the rate and amount of soil carbonsequestration varies according to soil characteristics,seasons, precipitation, human intervention andclimate change. 77 As a report by the WorldAssociation of Soil and Water Conservation crudelyputs it: “even the highest level of accuracy will notallow for the fact that soil organic matter will bemoved by erosion over time and one may not knowwhether it has moved only a few inches from thesampling point or has ended up jammed against adam 100 miles away”. 78 Moreover, sequestered soilcarbon is non-permanent, meaning that sooner orlater, the sequestered carbon will be released againinto the atmosphere due to various reasons,including natural disasters, pests, and land-usechanges.Second, it is unclear whether smallholder farmerswill receive any revenues from carbon markets.

In theory, carbon markets are designed to generatenew sources of income for smallholder farmers.However, the high transaction costs associated withsoil carbon schemes – including negotiation,approval, administration, monitoring, enforcement,and insurance costs – means that most of therevenue generated through carbon sequestrationprojects will go to intermediaries and projectdevelopers; leaving little or no cash benefits forfarmers themselves. 79 Indeed, the price for soilcarbon will be highly discounted to address theissues, such as non-permanence, uncertainties,payments to intermediaries, and other risks thatmight trouble investors. For example, if a tonne ofcarbon is worth US$ 2 on the voluntary market, thismay be discounted by as much as 60 per cent toaddress the risks of non-permanence, and 40 percent of the gains will likely go to projectintermediaries, with the farmer taking home as littleas US$ 0.25. 80 In addition, because sequestration ismost productive in higher quality soil, any revenuegenerated that actually reaches the farmer will go tomore resource-rich landowners than marginalfarmers. 81Third, even if there were a soil carbon market,the system would be biased against smallholderfarmers. In fact, soil carbon sequestration requireslong-term commitment and binds farmers to utilisecertain types of agriculture and land managementpractices. 82 However, prescribing a package of ‘best’management practices that score highest onsequestration rates might in fact underminefarmers’ dynamic and diverse adaptation strategies,and thus increase rather than reduce theirvulnerability to climate risk. 83 In addition, theexpansion of soil carbon markets encouragesprivate actors to extend their control over landwithout taking into account local land tenurearrangements, and often at the expense ofsmallholder and marginal farmers who do not haveequal negotiating power compared to largelandowners. 84 The issue of land rights areparticularly precarious for groups with little politicaldecision-making power at local or national levels,such as women and pastoral herders. 85Fourth, in order to sustain financial returns fromsoil carbon markets, developed countries needto keep emitting GHGs. Instead of facing head-onthe difficult task of reducing emissions domestically,developed countries are designing elaborateoffsetting schemes that avoid reducing their ownemissions, while at the same time, redirecting theconversation towards the ‘marvellous mitigationpotential’ that exists in developing countryagriculture. Such schemes do not reduce globalGHG emissions; instead, they merely relocateemissions somewhere else until sooner or later thegases return to the atmosphere. Furthermore, theyshift the responsibility of reducing carbon emissionsaway from those that are most responsible for past,present and future emissions, and onto those thatare least responsible and unable to control theterms of their participation. 86 Unless there are realemission reductions by developed countries,smallholder farmers will continue to suffer and aglobal climate crisis will not be averted.Lastly, soil carbon markets lead to significantmisallocation of public resources for climatechange adaptation and agriculturaldevelopment. 87 Resilience of smallholderagricultural systems and food security should be theguiding objectives of the adaptation agenda, notthe creation of soil carbon markets. However,policymakers are more distracted by the need tocreate market-friendly institutions than financiallysupporting smallholders to adapt to climate change.As mentioned in the previous section, the cost forclimate change adaptation is immense and requiresconcerted effort by national governments anddonors alike. However, rich countries are avoidingthe difficult question of where and how to mobilisepublic resources, and are rather pinned ondeveloping private financing mechanisms via elusivesoil carbon markets. In addition to the significantresources being invested to set up soil carbonmarkets, the World Bank is also pouring money atthe country level to develop policy and institutionalframeworks to enable soil carbon trading. 88 Forinstance in Kenya, the World Bank is supporting thedevelopment of an institutional framework forfacilitating soil carbon trading via “Climate-SmartAgriculture”, and the identification of financialinstruments which have the potential to scale-upsuch initiatives. 89The following section will critical examine Climate-Smart Agriculture – an agenda widely promoted bymultilateral organisations, including the World Bank,the FAO, the International Fund for AgriculturalDevelopment (IFAD), the CGIAR ResearchProgramme on Climate Change, Agriculture andFood Security (CCAFS), the African Union (AU), andthe World Food Programme (WFP) – which comespackaged with soil carbon markets.The International Assessment of AgriculturalKnowledge, Science and Technology forDevelopment (IAASTD) in its 2009 SynthesisReport called for “a shift from current farming

practices to sustainable agriculture systemscapable of providing both significantproductivity increases and enhanced ecosystemservices.” 90 In June 2011, a major FAO study, Saveand Grow, has reiterated a call for substantialchanges throughout the world’s food system,including sustainable intensification, orsustainable crop production intensification(SCPI) to simultaneously increase yields, improveefficiency in the use of inputs, and reduce negativeenvironmental impacts arising from intensive cropproduction related to the Green Revolution. 91According to the FAO, SCPI represents “a major shiftfrom the homogenous model of crop production toknowledge-intensive, often location-specificfarming system”, and includes practices such asintegrated soil and water management,conservation of plant genetic resources, andintegration of pest and disease management – all ofwhich ActionAid supports.What is problematic, however, is that SCPIcomprises a key element of Climate-SmartAgriculture along with soil carbon markets.According to the World Bank, Climate-SmartAgriculture is a “triple-win solution” as it seeksto “increase productivity in an environmentallyand socially sustainable way, strengthen farmers’resilience to climate change, and reduceagriculture’s contribution to climate change byreducing GHG emissions and increasing carbonstorage on farmland” [emphasis added]. 92 Indeed,the World Bank and the FAO are supporting theexpansion of carbon markets into developingcountries by using “carbon finance as a ‘lever’ topromote sustainable agricultural practices” 93 indeveloping countries. However appealing the“triple-win solution” may sound, Climate-SmartAgriculture is a Janus-faced strategy, claimingenvironmental, social and economicsustainability while making smallholder farmersin developing countries dependent on theunlikely emergence of soil carbon markets.The major loophole in the packaging of carbontrading within Climate-Smart Agriculture is that it is,as aforementioned, premised on sales to a nonexistentsoil carbon market along with otherinherent flaws in the system. In the meanwhile,the FAO has suggested the incorporation ofREDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestationand Forest Degradation) under Climate-SmartAgriculture through a “landscape approach”,calling for future policy framework to recognise“carbon stock and mitigation potential from all landuses, foster an integrated approach to resourcemanagement and build close linkages betweenREDD+ and agriculture”. 94 However, according tothe Munden Project, which analysed REDD projectsand the suitability of forest carbon as a commodity:“The process by which forest creates carbon is illdefined to the point of being unacceptably risky. Itcontains a vague, poorly defined, and scientificallyunreliable process for creating forest carbon...As aconsequence, pushing these commodities throughderivatives trading framework will proveimpossible.” 95 By the same token, as with soilcarbon markets, forest carbon markets via REDDwill provide a smokescreen for rich countries’failure to reduce emissions and provideadequate funds to help developing countriesadapt to climate change (Box 5).UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation andForest Degradation (REDD) Programme and REDD+(which goes beyond REDD to include conservation,sustainable management of forests andenhancement of forest carbon stocks) 96 areincreasingly being pushed to become anothercarbon trading mechanism. As currently conceived,REDD involves payments to developing countriesthat will prevent deforestation or degradation thatwould otherwise have taken place. There is currentlyno formal mechanism for REDD with internationalrecognition under the Kyoto Protocol and stillundergoing negotiations under the UNFCC, but anumber of REDD projects have already sprungaround the world. 97 According to a study by Friendsof the Earth International, REDD has attracted amyriad of different agents, including carbon tradersand investors, plantation companies, and even oiland gas companies, specifically “with a view tomaking a handsome profit from carbon tradingwhen REDD is agreed in the UNFCC”. 98In addition, soil carbon markets could easily leadto carbon offsets for genetically modified (GM)crops and increased land speculation and landgrabs. While official documents do not make thisexplicit, the World Bank’s definition of sustainableintensification in its policy briefing on Climate-Smart Agriculture – “increase[ing] yield per unit ofland to meet today’s needs without exceedingcurrent resources or reducing the resources neededfor the future” 99 – could mean replacing small-scaleagriculture with industrial conventional agricultureand its attendant Green Revolution technologies,which smallholder famers cannot afford. In fact,large agrochemical and seed corporations arecurrently developing “climate-ready” crops, and

pressuring governments to allow what the ETCgroup calls, “the broadest and most dangerouspatent claims in intellectual property history”. 100Moreover, the “social sustainability” of Climate-Smart Agriculture is questionable as smallholderfarmers will have to shoulder the double burden ofsatisfying the increasing global demands for foodsupply and carbon storage. More critically, theburden will fall most heavily on womensmallholders who are indispensable food producers,providers and carers, but who do not have equalaccess to and control over natural and productiveresources, information and decision-makingprocesses compared to men. Climate-SmartAgriculture also pays little attention to not onlywomen’s particular vulnerability to the impacts ofclimate change, but also their resourcefulness andcreativity in coping with climatic shocks and findingalternative solutions. 101 In sum, the conversation onClimate Smart Agriculture then boils down toutilising smallholder farmers to supply carboncredits and food, rather than about building theirlong-term resilience to climate change.

challenges for making the transition toagroecological farming systems;2) Identifying, documenting, testing, anddisseminating local knowledge andalternative agroecological practices andencouraging local innovation;3) Promoting long-term sustainabilitythrough appropriate agricultural researchand extension services based ontechnologies that reduce the dependenceon external inputs and agro-chemicals,help farmers adapt to climate change, andbuild on and reinforce local knowledge.It is clear from observing the limitations ofcontemporary climate change policy that theremust be an alternative towards more sociallyjust, economically viable, and environmentallysound agriculture that improves the livelihoodsand builds the resilience of smallholder farmers,without instrumentalising them. In this light,ActionAid’s Climate Resilient SustainableAgriculture (CRSA) provides a feasiblealternative.CRSA is based on the science and practices ofagroecology, and it contributes to both climatechange mitigation and adaptation. It contributesto climate change mitigation not only by capturingcarbon in soil organic matter and above-groundbiomass, but also by avoiding emission of carbondioxide and other GHGs from farms by reducingdirect and indirect energy use. 102 More significantly,as a myriad of evidence shows, agroecologicalfarming methods can cushion the negative impactsof extreme weather-related events as a result ofclimate change. In fact, throughout history, manyrural communities and traditional farminghouseholds, despite weather fluctuations, have beenable to cope with climatic extremes. 103 In fact, manyfarmers cope and even prepare for climate change,minimising crop failure through various techniques,such as using drought tolerant local varieties,harvesting rainwater, soil conservation, mulching,and practicing mixed cropping, crop rotation, andagroforestry.Agroecology is knowledge-intensive andcontext-specific, and its techniques are used anddisseminated through farmers’ knowledge andexperimentation. With this understanding,ActionAid promotes a three-prong approach toCRSA:1) Conducting participatory appraisals toidentify local conditions, potentials andThe actual practices of CRSA are based on sevenkey pillars:Women comprise an average of 43 per cent of theagricultural labour force of developing countriesand they play a major role in ensuring foodsecurity. 104 Many women are repositories ofknowledge about cultivation, processing andpreservation of nutritious and locally adapted cropvarieties. Such knowledge can almost be exclusiveto women, often directly related to their specificroles within food production, and allows women toplay a leading role in promoting agroecologicalinnovations. For example, ActionAid Brazil’s ‘Womenand Agroecology’ project has demonstrated thatwhen given an opportunity to generate and shareagroecological knowledge among women, theywere not only able to improve production methods,but also able to become “more autonomous andachieve greater power at productive, reproductiveand community levels”. 105Despite their wealth of knowledge and capacity,women farmers are not recognised as productivefamers by their own communities and bypolicymakers, and do not have equal access tonatural and productive resources compared to men.Their time is also constrained by the dualresponsibilities for unpaid care work andagricultural labour, and in many cases, structuralgender inequality impedes their participation inagriculture and enterprise. In light of thesechallenges, ActionAid brings women’s rights to thecore of CRSA – improving women’s access to andcontrol over productive resources; promoting groupdynamics and collective action among womenfarmers; increasing women’s contribution tohousehold incomes through training in financial

literacy and marketing skills; and optimising orreducing women’s time spent on care andreproductive work.Soil is one of the most important components ofCRSA. As a living organism, soil demands care andneeds to be provided with organic materials so thatit can offer the right kinds of nutrients to the plants.Important part of the soils in developing countries,particularly arid and semi-arid areas, are very old (ingeological terms), which means that the clay of thesoils cannot retain a lot of nutrients. In suchconditions, soil organic matter plays an importantrole in “keeping” nutrients as it can prevent themfrom being washed away by water. It also plays animportant role in maintaining the soil moisture, soilstructure and protecting the soil against erosion.For example, on-farm experiences in Chiang MaiValley of Thailand have demonstrated thatincorporating green manure (Sesbania rostrata, abiological nitrogen fixing plant) increased soilnutrients and soil fertility without using chemicalfertiliser, and it increased the dynamic of soilorganic matter, reduced producing costs andgenerated additional income for low-land ricefarmers. 106Soil organic matter is central even in conventionalproduction systems; soil that has little organicmatter cannot hold chemical (and highly soluble)fertilisers, and part of the expensive chemicalfertilisers can be washed away by water. This is notonly a waste of time and money, but it alsodemonstrates the inefficacy of conventional farmingin the absence of proper soil management. Mostsmallholder farmers have access to very poor soil(with low organic matter content), due to thenatural low fertility of marginal lands or due tooverexploitation. Since the soils are alreadydepleted, many smallholder farmers depend on veryexpensive chemical fertilisers as the only alternativeto ensure food production. In this vein, ActionAid isproposing a gradual reduction in the dependenceon chemical fertilisers through a committedinvestment on improving the soil health andenhancing the dynamics of soil organic matter.According to the IPCC, many semi-arid and aridareas are particularly exposed to the impacts ofclimate change and are projected to suffer adecrease in water resources due to climatechange. 107 Furthermore, increased precipitationintensity and variability are projected to amplify therisks of flooding and drought in many areas. 108 Suchabnormality in rainy seasons can result in severeconsequences for agricultural and ruraldevelopment, including decreased water availabilityin terms of quantity and quality, increased erosionand soil depletion, damaged crop fields, increasedlivestock death, destruction of infrastructure whichimpedes physical mobility and market access,increased disease epidemics, and negative overallimpacts on livelihoods. 109 With rain-fed agricultureproviding nearly 60 per cent of global food value on72 per cent of harvest land, rainfall variability is acritical challenge for smallholder farmers in tropicaland sub-tropical agricultural systems. 110To deal with the erratic changes in the rainfall,smallholder farmers in dryland areas have been andare currently using various traditional watermanagement techniques. For example, they havebuilt indigenous systems to harvest rainwater notonly for domestic consumption, but also forlivestock rearing and crop production. Thesesystems include roof-catchment systems (guttering),small dams (e.g. underground, sand, earth dams),brick tanks, rock cisterns and other types ofreservoirs. Such methods have not only helpedfarmers to conserve water, but also to control soilerosion and run-off, and to make use of preservedwater for agriculture during dry periods. In thesemi-arid regions of Brazil, for instance, thedissemination of decentralised rainwater captureand management systems such as plate cisternshave enabled smallholder farmers to coexist withthe large variability of the region’s climate. 111Building on their traditional knowledge, ActionAid’sCRSA encourages sustainable water managementthrough water catchment systems and rainwaterharvesting at the community level; on-farm waterpreservation systems; small, low-cost irrigationsystems such as drip/micro irrigation and treadlepumps; and hydroponics (soil-less agriculture) inwater-logged areas. 112Agrobiodiversity, or agricultural biodiversity,includes all the components of biological diversityrelevant to food and agriculture, as well as thoseconstitute the agro-ecosystem – i.e. “the variety andvariability of animals, plants and micro-organisms,at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, whichsustain the functions, structure and processes of theagro-ecosystem”. 113 Traditional small-scale farmerstend to grow a wide variety of cultivars, and are thenatural creators and preservers of agrobiodiversity.Many of these cultivars are landraces, meaning that

they are more genetically heterogeneous thanmodern (deliberately-bred) varieties, and are grownfrom seeds that are passed down from generationto generation. Most importantly, these landraces aremore adapted to the natural and culturalenvironment in which they live, and hence, offergreater defences against vulnerability and enhanceharvest security in the midst of diseases, pests,droughts and other stresses. 114 In fact, manyresearchers have concluded that variety richnessleads to greater enhanced productivity and lessyield variability. 115The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Foodemphasised in his report on agroecology thatresilience to extreme weather-related events is“strengthened by the use and promotion ofagricultural biodiversity at ecosystem, farm systemand farmer field levels”. 116 In this light, throughCRSA, ActionAid seeks to preserve agrobiodiversityby building poor people’s control over their localknowledge and heritage while reducing thedependency on external inputs; organisingcommunity and micro regional seed and genebanks; conserving local crop varieties, livestock andfish species; promoting participatory breeding ofplants and animals; and encouraging the collectivemultiplication of seeds to ensure farmers’ access toquality seeds at the right time.for a multiple cropping system can range from 20 to60 per cent, because it reduces losses incurred fromweeds, insects and diseases due to the presence ofmultiple crop species, and it makes more efficientuse of the available resources of water, sunlight, andnutrients. 117 By making the most out of the limitedresources, smallholder farmers under a mixedcropping system are able to reduce the costs ofproduction and make more profit per unit of outputand hence more total profits, even though theproduction of each commodity is less whencompared to a monocropping system. 118ActionAid supports livelihood diversification invarious ways, including: promoting mixed,inter/multi-cropping to reduce the risk of cropfailure, increase incomes, and improve dietarybalance and nutrition; promoting agroforestry –integrating trees with crops, grass and vegetables –to reduce soil erosion, improve soil fertility, andincrease and diversify household income;supporting integrated crop-livestock farming andenhancing the production of animal fodder as a wayto ensure accessibility to animal manure and toincrease the availability of organic materials tocover the soil.Not only the diversity of species, but also thediversification of farm and livelihood activities thatagroecology allows plays a crucial role in mitigatingrisks from extreme weather-related events andother shocks. Livelihood diversification throughmixed cropping or polycultures, for example, canalso contribute to balancing soil nutrients,preventing weeds and pests, reducing plantdiseases, increasing the overall efficiency andproductivity of the land, improving health andnutrition through more diverse, nutritious and freshdiets, and reducing the needs for pesticides withpositive impacts on the reduction of the incidencesof pesticide poisoning among farmers, communitiesand consumers. Moreover, these diversified farmingsystems in which smallholder farmers producegrains, fruits, vegetables, fodder and animalproducts in the same field or garden out-producethe yield per unit of single crops, such as corn orsoybeans, grown alone on large-scale farm. Forexample, although a large monoculture farm mayproduce more corn per hectare than a small farm inwhich corn is produced as part of a polyculture, theproductivity in terms of harvestable products perunit area is higher for the latter. Yield advantagesThe Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in hisrecent report on value chains acknowledged thatsmall-scale farmers, herders and fishers in manydeveloping countries could be the primarybeneficiaries of strengthened local and regionalmarkets. 119 Indeed, considering that agricultureconstitutes 50 to 90 per cent of the income for ruralhouseholds, the development of efficientagricultural markets has a large impact forenhancing their economic opportunities. 120 Ruralhouseholds, however, face a number of constraintsin processing and marketing.For instance, smallholder farmers face highmarketing costs and risks stemming fromvulnerability to weather, pest and crop diseases,poor transportation infrastructure, lack of credit,lack of market and price information, lack ofcompetitive markets, lack of training on valueaddition,unfavourable government policies(overregulation or sporadic intervention),commodity price volatility, and cultural stereotypesthat impede women’s mobility and participation inmarkets. In fact, marketing costs in Sub-SaharanAfrica are up to 70 per cent of retail values, whichmeans that the effective price that farmers receivefor their products are dramatically reduced. 121

Women farmers, in particular, are typically caughtup in petty trading, buying and selling smallvolumes directly for retail in local markets, whilemen tend to predominate in wholesaling intoregional and international markets. 122To address these constraints in market access,ActionAid encourages decentralised processingunits to increase and diversity farmers’ income andimprove product quality; value-addition andmarketing of both food and non-food products;improved links between local producers andconsumers through appropriate infrastructure,market information and gender-equitable valuechain development; and exploration into otherpossible markets such as public procurement andinstitutional markets.movements; building partnerships with localfarmers’ organisations, producer cooperatives,national farmers; associations and regional andinternal farmers’ networks; increasing the capacityof farmers’ organisations to influence public policieson agriculture and climate change and to scale upagroecology.Collective action is a powerful means for farmers toincrease productivity and access to markets whilstsharing knowledge, information and productiveassets, and building confidence and self-esteem.Collective structures such as producer associations,collectives or cooperatives can facilitate the sharinglearning processes and strengthen farmers’ skills incrop production, animal husbandry, processing,packaging and marketing, improve their negotiatingskills and bargaining positions in market places, andimprove their ability to contribute to the design andimplementation of public policies that affect them.For example, in the Philippines, it has been foundthat the total income of farmers practicingsustainable agriculture and participating in groupmarketing through the farmer network MASIPAG(Farmer-Scientist Partnership for AgriculturalDevelopment in the Philippines) is about 45 percent higher than the income of other conventionalfarmers. 123In addition to the economic benefits, groupdynamics can be socially and politically empoweringespecially for women, providing them withopportunities to participate in policy decisionmakingand take on leadership roles. Women-onlygroups can provide “enabling spaces” wheremarginalised women can gain self-esteem,confidence, and skills by creating a space for themto identify their needs, understand their rights, andbegin to articulate their demands. To strengthenfarmers’ organisations and promote collectiveaction, ActionAid is supporting the establishmentand strengthening of women farmers’ associations,farmers’ cooperatives, unions and landless

Biofuels, soil carbon markets, and Climate-SmartAgriculture are three responses to climate changethat are increasingly gaining popularity amongpolicy circles. However, as this paper shows, thethree solutions are essentially flawed and unjust asthey incentivise rich countries to shirk their legalobligations to reduce their carbon emissions whileshifting the burden onto poor countries. Moreover,they misallocates public resources which couldotherwise be invested in meaningful adaptationstrategies, and do little to consider gender andlivelihood impacts on smallholder farmers.In a sea of false solutions there is a dire need for areal alternative, and ActionAid’s CRSA has apotential to become one. Moving away frommarket-based climate change policies thatinstrumentalise smallholder farmers – often at theexpense of their food security, human rights, andlivelihoods, and to the benefit of investors, carbontraders, and large-scale farms – CRSA starts fromthe recognition of the people’s rights, knowledge,vulnerabilities, and the context-specific nature ofagroecosystems worldwide. Scaling up this realalternative, however, will require committed andconcerted effort from national governments,donors, and public agricultural research centres.In order to scale-up CRSA, existing food andagricultural systems, policies, and practices mustbe transformed. In this regard, nationalgovernments, with support from donors andinternational institutions, must embark on thefollowing initiatives:Draw up national sustainable agriculturestrategies, focused on ensuring foodsecurity and adapting to climate change.These strategies should outline:how governments will prioritise theirsupport for smallholder farmers,notably women, in promotingsustainable agriculture;what kind of support smallholderfarmers will receive;how farmers themselves will beinvolved in policy design andimplementation;what kind of investments are needed topromote these strategies, and to makethe transition away from conventionalfarming; andhow farmers’ own knowledge andcreativity will be incorporated in theprocess of building sustainablealternatives.Design and implement climate change riskreduction strategies based on:the identification of the main impactsof climate change on smallholderagriculture, as well as the risks thatsmallholder farmers are currentlyfacing and may face in the future; andthe implementation of early warningsystems to increase the preparedness offarmers to unexpected rains, floods,and dry periods.Phase out input subsidy schemes for agrochemicals(chemical fertilisers andpesticides) in favour of those that promotesustainable agriculture. Such subsidyprogrammes should:embrace gender equity and women’srights as a matter of principle;promote soil conservation;promote sustainable watermanagement;champion agrobiodiversity preservation;support livelihood diversification;strengthen decentralised processing,and improve smallholders’ access tomarkets; andsupport farmers’ organisations andcollective actionRe-orient agricultural research andextension services and create ‘knowledgehubs’ to support smallholder farmers inpromoting sustainable agriculture in thecontext of climate change. Nationalgovernments must: increase public spending on extensionservices, improve training for extensionagents, and reach greater number offarmers than they currently do; train more female extension agents tosupport women farmers’ adaptation toclimate change and to provide servicesthat are tailored to their routines andneeds; ensure that new extension services are

farmer-driven and build bridgesbetween local and scientific knowledge,so as to encourage local innovationand to reduce the dependency onexternal inputs;promote on-farm research onsmallholder farmers’ agroecologicalpractices;develop publicly-bred and managedseed varieties that are resistant todroughts, floods, and pests; andstep up support for improved waterand soil management, and incentivisepractices such as rainwater harvesting,on-farm water preservation, and lowcostirrigation systems.Provide credit programmes at lowinterestrates and long pay-back periodsto help smallholder farmers make thetransition to sustainable agriculture. Forexample, governments should providecredit for local, organic, non-fossil fuelbasedagricultural inputs and farmingmethods that have proven to be effectivein climate change adaptation, and helpsmallholder farmers invest in marketingand processing.Promote community banks of grain,seeds, biomass, fodder, and storagefacilities at the local level, to increasefood security and food sovereignty,preserve local varieties, facilitate farmers’access of to quality seeds, and preventlocal genetic materials from becoming lostdue to climate change.Promote extensive land reforms toincrease the security of tenure forsmallholder farmers and ensure thatsuch laws apply equally to womenfarmers.Strengthen social assistanceprogrammes such as food and cashtransfers. Guaranteed employmentschemes could employ large numbers ofpeople in forest conservation andintegrated watershed development. Schoolfeeding programmes and public fooddistribution systems could procure foodfrom smallholder farmers practicingsustainable agriculture.

1 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).2011. 'Mainstreaming Environment and Climate Change'.Agriculture Briefing, April. Available at: ActionAid International. 2008. The time is NOW: Lessons fromfarmers adapting to climate change. Johannesburg: ActionAidInternational. Available at: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007.‘Summary for Policymakers’. In M.L. Perry et al. (Eds). ClimateChange 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contributionof Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, p. 7-22.4 Lobell, D. B. et al. 2008. ‘Prioritizing Climate Change AdaptationNeeds for Food Security in 2030’. Program on Food Security and theEnvironment Policy Brief. Available at: Ibid.6 Dixon, J. et al. 2001. 'Summary. Farming Systems and Poverty:Improving Farmers' Livelihoods in a Changing World'. Rome: FAO.Available at: ActionAid International. 2008. The time is NOW: Lessons fromfarmers adapting to climate change. Johannesburg: ActionAidInternational, p. 2.8 ActionAid International. 2011. ‘False Solutions for Real Problems’.Policy Brief. Johannesburg: ActionAid International. Available at: IPCC. 2007. “19.3.6 Extreme Events”. In M.L. Perry et al. (Eds).Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report ofthe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available at: World Bank. 2008. World Development Report 2008: Agriculturefor Development. Washington DC: World Bank. Available at: IPCC. 2007. Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts,Adaptation and Vulnerability. Working Group II Contribution to theFourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change (S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z.Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller, eds).Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 9,p. 448.12 Parry, M.L., et al. 2004. ‘Effects of climate change on global foodproduction under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios’.Global Environmental Change, 14, pp. 53-67.13 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2007. HumanDevelopment Report 2007/2008. Fighting Climate Change: Humansolidarity in a divided world. New York: UNDP, p. 90.14 The IPCC estimates 10-12 per cent(, the OECD 14 per cent(,3746,en_21571361_43893445_44437010_1_1_1_1,00.html), and the World Resources Institute(WRI) 14.9 per cent ( Meridian Institute. 2011. Agriculture and Climate Change: AScoping Report. Washington, D.C.: Meridian Institute. Available at: Smith, P., D. et al. 2007. ‘Agriculture’. In B. Metz et al. (Eds).Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group IIIto the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapter8.17 It is estimated that over 350,000 rice and corn farmer livelihoodsin developing countries are being destroyed due to a conversion ofacreage by large corporations devoted to cut flowers for export towestern markets.18 International Forum on Globalisation (IFG). 2007. 'The Rise andPredictable Fall of Globalised Industrial Agriculture'. San Francisco:IFG, p. 7.19 ActionAid International. 2009. Assessing the Alliance for GreenRevolution in Africa (AGRA). Johannesburg: ActionAid International.Available at: Rosset, P. M. 2006. Food is Different. New York: Zed Books.; alsosee ActionAid International. 2012. Asia at the Crossroads:Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?Johannesburg: ActionAid International. Available at: Setboonsarng, S. 2006. ‘Organic Agriculture, Poverty Reduction,and the Millennium Development Goals’. ADB Institute DiscussionPaper No. 54. Cited in ActionAid International. 2012. Asia at theCrossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or SustainableAgriculture? Available at: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia andthe Pacific (UNESCAP). 2009. Sustainable Agriculture and FoodSecurity in Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: UNESCAP, p. 39. Availableat: UNESCAP. 2005. State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific2005. Bangkok: UNESCAP. Cited in ActionAid International. 2012.Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming orSustainable Agriculture?. Johannesburg: ActionAid International.24 Rosset, P. et al. 2000. ‘Lessons from the Green Revolution’.Available at: UNESCAP. 2009. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security inAsia and the Pacific. Bangkok: UNESCAP, p. 60.26 Hazell, P. 2009. ‘The Asian Green Revolution’, IFPRI DiscussionPaper, November, p. 9.27 Hazell, P. 2009. ‘The Asian Green Revolution’, IFPRI DiscussionPaper, November, p. 7.28 FAO. 2011. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011. Rome:FAO, p. 46.29 Setboonsarng, S. 2006. ‘Organic Agriculture, Poverty Reductionand the Millennium Development Goals’, ADB Institute DiscussionPaper No. 54, p. 5.30 UNESCAP. 2009. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asiaand the Pacific. Bangkok: UNESCAP, p. 8.31 A 1995 study by Freebairn. Cited in Hazell, P. 2009. ‘The AsianGreen Revolution’, IFPRI Discussion Paper, November, p. 11.32 Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN-AP). 2010.'Communities in Peril: Global report on health impacts of pesticideuse in agriculture'. Penang: PAN-AP. Available at: Ibid.34 WWF-UK. 2011. Soya and the Cerrado: Brazil's forgotten jewel.Surrey: WWF UK. Available at: Smith, P. D. et al. 2007. ‘Agriculture’. In B. Metz et al. (eds).Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group IIIto the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Section8.4.3.36 De Schutter, O. 2011. ‘Agroecology and the Right to Food’.Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations HumanRights Council [A/HRC/16/49]. Available at: Hoffmann, U. 2010. ‘Assuring food security in developingcountries under the challenges of climate change: Key trade anddevelopment issues of a profound transformation of agriculture’.

Discussion Paper No. 201, November. Geneva: UNCTAD, pp. 11.Cited in De Schutter, O. 2011. ‘Agroecology and the Right to Food’,Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations HumanRights Council [A/HRC/16/49].38 De Schutter, O. 2011. ‘Agroecology and the Right to Food’,Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations HumanRights Council [A/HRC/16/49].39 Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). 2009.'Agroecology and Sustainable Development: findings from the UNledInternational Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Scienceand Technology for Development'. San Francisco: PANNA.Available Ibid.41 UNFCC. n.d. 'International response to climate change', ClimateChange Information Sheet 17. Available at: Ibid.43 Directgov. n.d. 'A history of climate change'. Available FAO. 2000. ‘Two Essays on Climate Change and Agriculture’.Economic and Social Development Paper. Rome: FAO. Available at: Stern, N. 2006. ‘Summary of Conclusions. Stern Review: TheEconomics of Climate Change.’. Available at: Ibid.47 IPCC. 2007. "3.5. Interaction between mitigation and adaptation,in the light of climate change impacts and decision-making underlong-term uncertainty" In B. Metz et al. (Eds). Climate Change 2007:Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the FourthAssessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: University of Greenwich Natural Resources Institute (NRI). 2010.'Climate Change, Agricultural Adaptation and Fairtrade: Identifyingthe Challenges and Opportunities'. NRI Working Paper Series:Climate Change, Agriculture and Natural Resources. No. 1.Greenwich: University of Greenwich. Available at: Institute of Development Studies (IDS) & Tearfund. 2006.Adapting to climate change: Challenges and opportunities for thedevelopment community. London: Tearfund, p. 6. Available at: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCC). 2007. Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerabilities andAdaptation in Developing Countries. Bonn: UNFCC. Available at: Perry, M. et al. 'Assessing the costs and adaptation to climatechange: A review of the UNFCC and other recent estimates'.London: Imperial college Grantham Institute for Climate Change &IIED. Available at: World Bank. 2010. 'The Costs of Agricultural Adaptation toClimate Change'. Discussion Paper Number 4, August. Available at:; Nelson, G. etal. 2009. 'Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs ofAdaptation'. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy ResearchInstitute (IFPRI). Available at: Perry, M. et al. 'Assessing the costs and adaptation to climatechange: A review of the UNFCC and other recent estimates'.London: Imperial College Grantham Institute for Climate Change &IIED.54 OECD/FAO. 2010. Agricultural Outlook 2010-2019. Paris: OECD,p. 6. Available at: Peskett, L. et al. 2007. ‘Biofuels, Agriculture, and PovertyReduction’. Natural Resource Perspectives, 107. London : OverseasDevelopment Institute (ODI), p. 5. Avalable at: FAO. 2009. ‘Coping with a changing climate: considerations foradaptation and mitigation in agriculture’. Environment and NaturalResources Management Series, 15. Rome: FAO, p. 56. Available at: Bowyer, C. 2010. 'Anticipated Indirect Land Use ChangeAssociated with Expanded Use of Biofuels and Bioloquids in the EU- An Analysis of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans'.Brussels: Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).58 ActionAid, BirdLifeEurope, ClientEarth, Transport & Environment,FERN, Wetlands International, Friends of the Earth Europe,Greenpeace, and European Environmental Bureau. 2010. 'Driving toDestruction: The impacts of Europe's biofuel plans on carbonemissions and land'. Available at: Mortimer, N. D. 2011. ‘Life cycle analysis of refined vegetable oiland biodiesel from jatropha grown in Dakatcha Woodlands ofKenya’. Northumberland: North Energy Associates Limited.Available at:; ActionAid International. 2011. ‘Fueling Evictions: CommunityCosts of EU Biofuel Boom’. Johannesburg: ActionAid International,p. 5. Available at: ActionAid Brazil. 2010. Smoke Screen: The Hidden Story BehindBiofuel Production. Rio de Janeiro: ActionAid Brazil, p. 18. Availableat: Ibid.62 Loewenson, R. 2000. ‘Occupational safety and health for womenworkers in agriculture: Public health issues in the agricultural sectorcall for specific technical inputs and for addressing the issues ofdeprivation and imbalances of power’. In ILO. 2000. Top on theagenda: Health and safety in agriculture. Labour Education 2000/1-2 Nos. 118/11, p. 35-45.63 ActionAid. 2011. Fuelling Evictions: Community Cost of EUBiofuels Boom. Dakatcha Woodlands, Kenya. Brussels: ActionAidEU Office.64 A study by DIEESE (Inter-Union Department of Statistics andSocio-Economic Studies in Brazil) on working conditions at thesugar cane plantations in Paraíba concluded that workers sufferenormous losses due to the following practices: daily wage andminimum salary reduction; the raising of fees through classificationof irregular cane; errors or fraud in the way the cane harvest ismeasured; and commutation or non-payment based onagreements such as paid rest, vacations, or the customary extramonthbonus at the end of the year. For details, see: ActionAidBrazil. 2010. Smoke Screen: The Hidden Story Behind BiofuelProduction. Rio de Janeiro: Brazil.65 ActionAid Brazil. 2010. Smoke Screen: The Hidden Story BehindBiofuel Production. Rio de Janeiro: Brazil.66 Anseeuw, W. et al. 'Land Rights and the Rush for Land: Findingsof the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project'.Rome: International Land Coalition (ILC). Available at: Robbins, M. 2004. Carbon Trading, Agriculture and Poverty. WorldAssociation of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC) SpecialPublication No. 2. Beijing: WASWC.68 Lal, R. 2009 'Agriculture and Climate Change: An Agenda forNegotiation in Copenhagen. The Potential for Soil CarbonSequestration'. IFPRI Focus 16, Brief 5, May. Available at: Ibid, p. viii.70 EcoSecurities. 2007. 'Policy Brief: REDD Policy Scenarios andCarbon Markets'. Oxford: EcoSecurities. Available at:; ClimateChangeCorp. 2012. 'The globalcarbon market explained', 21 Mar. Available at:;ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling With Soil Carbon MarketsWhile Africa Burns... Johannesburg: ActionAid International, p. 3-4.71 ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling With Soil Carbon MarketsWhile Africa Burns... Johannesburg: ActionAid International, p.4.72 IPCC. 2007. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contributionof Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Geneva: IPCC, p. 104.Available at: Glantz, M. H. & Gommes, R. 2009. 'Coping with a changingclimate: Considerations for adaptation and mitigation inagriculture'. Natural Resources Management Series, 15. Rome: FAO.,p. 42. Available at: ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling With Soil Carbon MarketsWhile Africa Burns... Johannesburg: ActionAid International, p, 5.Available at: Ibid.76 Ibid.77 Robbins, M. 2004. Carbon Trading, Agriculture and Poverty. WorldAssociation of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC) SpecialPublication No. 2. Beijing: WASWC.78 Ibid.79 ActionAid International. 2011. ‘Say No to Soil Carbon Markets! Sixreasons why soil carbon markets won’t work for smallholders’.Johannesburg: ActionAid International.; Suppan, S. & Sharma, S.2011. ‘Elusive Promises of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project’,Minneapolis: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).Available at:;IATP. African BiodiversityNetwork & The Gaia Foundation. 2011. 'Soil Carbon Sequestrationfor Carbon Markets: The Wrong Approach to Agriculture'. Availableat: See ‘Box 2: The Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project’ in ActionAidInternational. 2011. Fiddling With Soil Carbon Markets While AfricaBurns... Johannesburg: ActionAid International, p, 8.81 Ibid, p. 7,82 Ibid.83 Tschakert, Petra (2004) Carbon for farmers: assessing thepotential for soil carbon sequestration in the Old Peanut Basin ofSenegal. Climatic Change 67: 273-290.84 Ibid, p. 8.85 Toulmin, C. 2011. ‘Prospering despite climate change’. Paperpresented at the IFAD Conference on New Directions forSmallholder Agriculture, 24-25 January. Available at: ActionAid (2011) “Say No to Soil Carbon Markets! Six reasonswhy soil carbon markets won’t work for smallholders.” InternationalBriefing. p 587 ActionAid International. 2011. ‘Say No to Soil Carbon Markets!Six reasons why soil carbon markets won’t work for smallholders’.Johannesburg: ActionAid International.88 ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling With Soil Carbon MarketsWhile Africa Burns… Johannesburg: ActionAid International, p, 5.89 Ibid.90 IAASTD (2009) Agriculture at the crossroads, by B.D. McIntyre,H.R. Herren, J. Wakhungu & R.T. Watson, eds. Washington, DC.91 FAO. 2011. Save and Grow. Rome: FAO. The World Bank’s 2008World Development Report and the UK government’s 2011Foresight Report have also called for a shift from current farmingpractices to sustainable agriculture systems capable of providingboth significant productivity increases and enhanced ecosystemservices.92 World Bank. 2011. ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Call to Action’.Washington, D.C.: World Bank.93 World Bank. 2011. ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Call to Action’.Washington, D.C.: World Bank, p. 4.94 The Munden Project. 2011. ‘REDD and Forest Carbon: marketbasedcritique and recommendations’. New York: The MundenProject. Cited in ActionAid International. 2011. Fiddling With SoilCarbon Markets While Africa Burns... Johannesburg: ActionAidInternational, p, 10.96 REDD is a partnership between FAO, UNDP and UNEP and waslaunched in September 2008. REDD programs aim to reducegreenhouse gas emissions by preventing deforestation and forestdegradation. The REDD+ includes provisions to reduce emissionsfrom the conservation and sustainable management of forests andenhancement of forest carbon stocks.97 Friends of the Earth International. 2010. REDD: The realities inblack and white. Amsterdam: FoEI. Available at: Ibid.99 World Bank. 2011. ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa’ Policy Brief. Washington, D.C.: WorldBank, p. 3. Available at: ETC Group. 2010. 'Gene Giants Stockpile Patents on "Climateready"Crops in Bid to become "Biomassters"'. Issue # 106.Available at: UN Women Watch. 2009. 'Fact Sheet: Women, Gender Equalityand Climate Change'. Available at: Pretty, J. 2006. 'Agroecological Approaches to AgriculturalDevelopment'. A document in preparation of the WorldDevelopment Report 2008, Agriculture for Development. Availableat: Alteiri, M. A. & Koohafkan, P. 2008. Enduring Farms. Kualalumpur, Malaysia: Third World Network.104 FAO. 2011. The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11. Womenin Agriculture: Closing the gender gap for development. Rome: FAO.105 Lopes, A. P. & Jomalinis, E. 2011. ‘Agroecology: Exploringopportunities for women's empowerment based on experiencesfrom Brazil’. Feminist Perspectives Towards Transforming EconomicPower. Toronto, Mexico City, Cape Town: Association of Women'sRights in Development (AWID). Available at: ‘Case Study: Role of Green Manure Crops in Lowland Rice BasedFarming System of Northern Thailand’. Available at: Bates, B. et al. (eds). 2008. ‘Climate Change and Water’.Technical Paper of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Geneva: IPCC Secretariat. Available at: Ibid.109 Ojwang, G. O. et al. 2010. 'Analysis of Climate Change andVariability Risks in the Smallholder Sector: Case studies of theLaikipia and Narok Districts representing major agro-ecologicalzones in Kenya'. Environment and Natural Resources ManagementWorking Paper, 41. Rome: FAO.110 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2009.Rainwater harvesting: a lifeline for human well-being. A reportprepared for UNEP by Stockholm Environment Institute. New York:UNEP. Available at: See the Case study on One Million Cisterns by the BrazilianSemi-Arid Region Alliance (ASA), in: ActionAid International. 2008.The Time is NOW: Lessons from farmers adapting to climate change.Johannesburg: ActionAid International.112 For details, see: ActionAid International. 2008. The time is NOW:Lessons from farmers adapting to climate change. Johannesburg:ActionAid International.

113 Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research. 2010. ‘The use ofagrobiodiversity by indigenous and traditional agriculturalcommunities in adapting to climate change, Synthesis Paper’.Rome: Biodiversity International, Christensen Fund.114 Clawson, D. L. 1985. ‘Harvest Security and Intraspecific Diversityin Traditional Tropical Agriculture’. Economic Botany, 39: p. 56-67.115 Jordan, C. F. 2011. ‘Genetic Engineering, the Farm Crisis andWorld Hunger’. BioScience, 52: p. 523-29.116 De Schutter, O. 2011. ‘Agroecology and the Right to Food’,Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations HumanRights Council [A/HRC/16/49], Citing Platform for AgrobiodiversityResearch. 2010. ‘The use of agrobiodiversity by indigenous andtraditional agricultural communities in adapting to climate change,Synthesis Paper’. Rome: Biodiversity International, ChristensenFund.117 Francis, C. A. 1986. Multiple Cropping Systems. New York:McMillan, Cited in Altieri, M. A. 2009. 'Agroecology, Small Farms,and Food Sovereignty'. Monthly Review, 61 (3).118 Rosset, P. 1999. 'Small is Bountiful'. The Ecologist, 29, Cited inAltieri, M. A. 2009. 'Agroecology, Small Farms, and FoodSovereignty'. Monthly Review, 61 (3).119 De Schutter, O. 2011. ‘Towards more equitable value chains:alternative business models in support of the right to food’, Reportpresented at the 66th Session of the United Nations GeneralAssembly [A/66/262]120 Minot, N. & Hill, R. V. 2007. 'Developing and ConnectingMarkets for Poor Farmers'. 2020 FOCUS BRIEF on the World's Poorand Hungry People, October. Washington, D. C.: IFPRI.121 Ibid.122 ActionAid International, et al. 2012. ‘What Works for Women:Proven approaches for empowering women smallholders andachieving food security’. A multi-agency backgrounder. Availableat: 123L. Bachmann et al. (eds.) 2009. Food Security and FarmerEmpowerment, MASIPAG. Los Baños: Philippines. Cited in DeSchutter, O. 2011. ‘Towards more equitable value chains:alternative business models in support of the right to food’, Reportpresented at the 66th Session of the United Nations GeneralAssembly [A/66/262]

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