Climate smart agriculture

Climate smart agriculture (CSA)

Why in the news Climate Smart Agriculture?

Scientists from four South Asian countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal – and from Mexico, the United States, Australia, and UAE have written in a new paper in Nature Climate Change Journal that despite the promise of climate smart agriculture (CSA), most sustainable farming practices and technologies have not been widely adopted across South Asia and are struggling to gain momentum despite their proven effectiveness.

 What is climate smart agriculture?

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), also known as climate resilient agriculture, is an integrated approach to land management that takes into account the expanding global population to ensure food security while assisting in the adaptation of agricultural practices, livestock, and crops to the effects of climate change.

Wherever possible, CSA aims to mitigate these effects by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Increasing agricultural productivity is just as important as sustainable agriculture or carbon farming.

Climate smart agriculture

Methods and approaches within climate smart agriculture:

Agro forestry:

Description: Agro forestry involves integrating trees and shrubs into agricultural landscapes. This practice provides multiple benefits, including improved soil fertility, water conservation, and increased resilience to extreme weather events.

Conservation Agriculture:

Description: Conservation agriculture aims to maintain a permanent soil cover, minimize soil disturbance, and diversify crop rotations. This helps to reduce soil erosion, enhance water retention, and improve overall soil health.

 Water-Saving Techniques:

Description: Implementing water-saving techniques such as drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and efficient water management systems helps optimize water use in agriculture, especially in areas prone to water scarcity.

 Drought-Resistant Crop Varieties:

Description: Developing and adopting crop varieties that are more resilient to drought conditions is crucial for climate-smart agriculture. These varieties are often genetically modified or selectively bred to withstand water stress.

 Climate-Resilient Crop Management:

Description: Adjusting crop management practices to changing climate conditions, including altered planting dates, optimized fertilizer use, and improved pest and disease management, helps enhance the resilience of crops to climatic variations.

 Agrobiodiversity Conservation:

Description: Promoting the conservation of agricultural biodiversity helps maintain genetic diversity within crops and livestock. This diversity enhances the ability of farming systems to adapt to changing conditions.

Cover Cropping:

Description: Cover cropping involves planting specific crops to cover the soil between main crops. This practice helps prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds, and improve soil fertility.

Livestock Management Practices:

Description: Sustainable livestock management practices, such as rotational grazing and improved feed efficiency, contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the overall resilience of livestock farming systems.

 Agroecological Approaches:

Description: Agroecological approaches focus on creating sustainable farming systems that mimic natural ecosystems. This includes diversifying crops, incorporating agroforestry, and promoting organic farming practices.

 Climate Information and Advisory Services:

Description: Providing farmers with timely and accurate climate information helps them make informed decisions about planting, irrigation, and other agricultural activities. Advisory services support farmers in adapting to climate variability.

Technology Adoption:

Description: Utilizing precision farming technologies, such as sensor-based irrigation, satellite imagery, and data analytics, helps optimize resource use, improve efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

Global Initiatives for climate smart Agriculture

AIM for Climate

The UN, US, and UAE are organizing the five-year Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate/AIM4C) project until 2025. The goal is to unite around advances in the food system and climate-smart agriculture. About 500 governmental and non-governmental organizations from all over the world have been drawn to it, along with roughly 10 billion USD from governments and 3 billion USD from other sources. The project was unveiled in Glasgow during COP-26.

International Agricultural Research Consultative Group (CGIAR)

During the May 2023 AIM4C meeting, the CGIAR made several recommendations.

  1. Incorporating partner organizations’ initiatives
  2. Facilitating creative funding
  3. Development of radical evidence-based policy and governance transformation
  4. Encouragement of learning, assessment, and project monitoring

Global Food and Agricultural Road map until 2050

GHG emissions from the world’s food systems in 2020, expressed in gigatons of CO2 equivalent, for various agricultural sectors. To get the world’s food systems to net-zero emissions, several parties are involved.

Four key areas are related to:

  1. Reduced GHG emissions through more efficient production methods
  2. Enhanced carbon sequestration in grasslands and croplands
  3. Moving away from animal protein in human diets
  4. Incorporating “new-horizon” technology into the food chain

Indian government initiatives to promote CSA.

 National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):

Launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, NMSA aims to promote climate-resilient and resource-efficient agricultural practices. It includes programs for water use efficiency, soil health management, and crop diversification.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):

PKVY is an initiative under the umbrella of the National Mission on Organic Farming. It encourages farmers to adopt organic farming practices, which are often more sustainable and climate-resilient.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):

PMKSY focuses on enhancing water use efficiency through the development of water storage and distribution infrastructure. It includes components such as watershed management, micro-irrigation, and rainwater harvesting.

National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP):

NMOOP promotes the cultivation of oilseeds and oil palm to reduce India’s dependence on imports. The mission includes efforts to enhance productivity through improved technology and climate-resilient varieties.

National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):

Apart from NMSA, the government’s broader National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture encompasses various sub-components, including soil health management, rainfed farming, and climate change adaptation.

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF):

SMAF aims to increase tree cover on agricultural land, promoting agroforestry practices. Agroforestry contributes to climate resilience by improving soil health, enhancing biodiversity, and providing additional income sources for farmers.

Soil Health Card Scheme:

Launched to address soil fertility issues, this scheme provides farmers with personalized soil health cards, offering recommendations for the judicious use of nutrients. Maintaining soil health is crucial for climate-smart agriculture.

National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA):

NICRA is implemented by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and focuses on developing climate-resilient agricultural practices and technologies. It aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of Indian agriculture to climate change.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY):

RKVY supports state-level initiatives for promoting climate-smart agriculture. It provides financial assistance for various agricultural activities, including the adoption of climate-resilient practices.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):

While primarily an insurance scheme, PMFBY aims to provide financial support to farmers in the event of crop loss due to natural calamities. This initiative indirectly encourages risk mitigation and resilience-building in agriculture.

Challenges associated with CSA.

Technological Obstacles:

Lack of knowledge and access to suitable technologies may impede the adoption of climate-smart technologies. For smallholder farmers, high upfront expenditures and the requirement for specialized skills could potentially be barriers to technological adoption.

Budgetary Restrictions:

Initial investments in technology, infrastructure, and training are frequently necessary for the implementation of climate-smart activities. Adopting these practices may be extremely difficult for farmers, especially smallholders, due to limited access to financing and financial resources.

Gaps in Information and Knowledge:

Farmers may be ignorant of the advantages of climate-smart activities and the best ways to put them into practice. Extension services must be improved to spread information and offer continuous assistance.

Institutional and policy challenges:

The mainstreaming process can be hampered by inconsistent policies, weak regulatory frameworks, and a lack of institutional support.

Gaps in Data and Information:

Accurate assessments of climate risk and the creation of context-specific climate-smart solutions can be hampered by inadequate meteorological and climate data available locally.

Water Scarcity and Its Handling:

In many areas, climate change has the potential to worsen water scarcity, which can impact both irrigated and rain-fed agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture depends on efficient water management techniques, but there is a big problem with water scarcity.

Ecosystem Adaptability:

Climate-smart actions could unintentionally affect nearby ecosystems. It is a difficult task to strike a balance between the demand for greater agricultural output and the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

Strategies to promote and advance the use of climate-smart agriculture:

Integration and Support for Policies:

Create and Execute CSA Policies: Lawmakers ought to create and carry out policies that specifically encourage CSA practices. CSA concepts must be included in current agriculture policies to mainstream climate-smart practices.

Financial Rewards and Assistance:

Provide Financial Incentives: Provide farmers with financial assistance, subsidies, and rewards for using climate-smart techniques. This can facilitate the removal of financial obstacles and promote the broad use of CSA.

Building Capacity and Providing Extension Services:

Improve Farmer Knowledge: Hold seminars, training sessions, and awareness drives to increase farmers’ proficiency with climate-smart techniques. To promote the transmission of knowledge and technology, strengthen extension services.

Investigation and Originality:

Invest in R&D: Encourage studies aimed at creating crops that can withstand climate change, effective water management techniques, and environmentally friendly farming methods. Promote agricultural innovation that complies with CSA guidelines.

Transfer of Technology:

Promote Technology Transfer: Create systems that will enable farmers to receive climate-smart technology efficiently. Work together with international organizations, businesses, and research institutes to promote the use of technology.

Value Addition and Market Access:

Create Market links: By creating market links and upgrading transportation infrastructure, farmers will have easier access to markets. To increase revenue and encourage the implementation of CSAs, create chances for agricultural products to be valued and added to.

Services for Climate Information:

bolster systems for climate information Boost localized data gathering and distribution of meteorological and climate information. To help farmers make better decisions, give them quick access to accurate climate data.

Community-Oriented Strategies:

Encourage Community Involvement: Involve neighborhood communities in the planning and execution of community service projects. Encourage community-led initiatives that make use of traditional knowledge and tackle particular climate challenges.

Financial Education Initiatives:

Run Financial Literacy Programs: Teach farmers how to handle their finances, plan their investments, and obtain credit. Giving farmers financial literacy will help them make better investments in community support agriculture (CSA) methods.


climate-smart agriculture (CSA) stands as a vital framework for addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change in the agricultural sector. As the global climate continues to change, the need for sustainable and resilient agricultural practices becomes increasingly urgent. CSA offers a comprehensive approach that integrates adaptive strategies, mitigates environmental impact, and enhances the overall productivity and resilience of farming systems.