What’s the Potential of Climate-Smart Agriculture to Address Food Issues?

May 01, 2024

In South Asia, food demand is rising due to population growth and changes in dietary habits. Combined with the impacts of climate change, this poses significant challenges to food security.

Despite being a major producer of rice and wheat, the region struggles with stagnant crop yields, caused mainly by climate variability. The International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Food Policy Report foresees a potential decrease in crop production by 30% and projections indicate food shortages by 2050. 

In a recent Nature Climate Change journal article, “Overcoming barriers to climate-smart agriculture in South Asia,” Missouri State University’s Dr. Asif Ishtiaque and several co-authors addressed the potential of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to improve food security, barriers to adoption and strategies to overcome them.  

A native of Bangladesh, Ishtiaque is a leading expert in agricultural sustainability. He is also an assistant professor in the School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability at MSU. 

What is CSA? 

CSA is an approach that integrates adaptive measures to  ease the effects of climate change on agriculture without compromising production or profit. Practices include a range of agricultural activities or use of technologies to spread risk and enhance resilience to climate-related stresses, such as drought, pests or diseases.  

While CSA has been shown to help farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change and increase their yields, a few key barriers to its adoption in South Asia include: 

  • Weak organizational capacities. 
  • Inadequate targeted government incentives.  
  • Limited post-adoption follow up. 
  • Inequitable information dissemination 

But there are a few strategies to increase CSA adoption among farmers, according to Ishtiaque. Among them are enhancing organizational capacities and improving access to CSA technologies.  

Promoting coordination and collaboration among stakeholders, while incentivizing adoption through targeted subsidies and corporate social responsibility plans can further promote widespread adoption. 

“Designing CSA dissemination to be more equitable across socioeconomic, cultural and demographic factors will lead not only to more CSA adoption, but also make it more socially acceptable,” Ishtiaque said.  

Impact of research  

As food insecurity is a global issue affecting the world’s economy, the impact of this CSA research will extend beyond South Asia. Insights from the study can inform domestic practices, helping U.S. farmers increase food supply in a sustainable way.  

“Collaborative research endeavors and interdisciplinary approaches are essential in tackling complex issues with agriculture, climate change and food security,” Ishtiaque said.  

Moving forward  

Ishtiaque is committed to furthering research on CSA and inclusive decision-making processes in climate adaptation.  

His goal is to continue contributing to the development of sustainable and equitable agricultural systems that can thrive in a changing climate. 

“We continue to work toward sustainable agriculture and food security, paving the way for a more promising tomorrow,” Ishtiaque said.  

Source : missouristate.edu
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