Sustainable Agriculture in a Changing Climate Print E-mail
Link to SACC Brief





©CARE/Sigfried Modola

There is growing interest at all levels in an integrated approach to small-holder agricultural development that includes climate change adaptation and mitigation. While mitigation per say has little relevance to small-holder farmers, there is considerable interest in carbon finance as an element of the new investment in small-holder agriculture that is urgently needed to address the growing food security challenge. Nowhere is the need greater than in the rain-fed agricultural lands of Sub-Saharan Africa where land degradation–compounded by climate change–is leading to declining crop and livestock productivity. Such degradation often derives from poor farming techniques that deplete soil fertility and leave the soil highly vulnerable to erosion, and progressive loss of trees due to high demands for fuelwood and other wood products.     


Agroforestry and certain conservation agriculture practices that increase the carbon content of the landscape provide a real opportunity for carbon finance to deliver on climate mitigation, climate adaptation and poverty reduction goals. However, this is true only if the carbon finance helps to overcome barriers at the farmer and higher levels (and related policy constraints) that are limiting adoption of these practices.


To explore this opportunity, CARE and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have launched a long-term project in Western Kenya with funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation: Sustainable Agriculture in a Changing Climate (SACC).


The project focuses on Nyanza Province, and specifically the Nyando River catchment, where there are high levels of poverty and serious environmental degradation. It aims to explore how carbon finance can be used to enhance farm production–and thus food security–and build resilience of livelihoods and farming systems to climate change, while at the same time delivering on climate mitigation goals.