Many farmers worldwide consider strategies to adapt to climate change as “business as usual” in their countries, a producer-led global consultation on climate-smart agriculture has shown.
A new report by the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) was published at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28).
The report Climate-Smart Agriculture: First Global Producers’ Consultation highlights strategic priorities identified by farmers worldwide as they transition towards climate-smart agriculture.
Climate-smart agriculture is a concept which aims address the dual challenge of an agricultural system that can contribute powerful climate solutions but is also vulnerable to changes in climate.
The findings result from a global live dialogue during the WFO annual meeting earlier this year, including around 150 farmers from 48 countries across all continents, and a digital follow-up survey.
One of the participants’ main concerns regarding climate-smart agriculture was around food production. In many regions, farmers implement adaptation strategies to try cope with climate change.
Just under 70% of survey respondents consider adaptation practices to be business as usual in their countries, while 85% deploy diversification measures, and 65% practice agro-forestry.
Long-term financial schemes are needed to create viable and sustainable agri-business models, participants said describing the implementation of climate change mitigation practices as challenging.
Over 20% of the participants said that inadequate land tenure and financial resources are the primary constraints farmers face in transitioning to climate-smart agriculture, particularly for women and young farmers.
The global live dialogue highlighted how the development of climate-smart frameworks and guidelines does not usually involve farmers, the WFO said.
Numerous participants mentioned a lack of recognition for the climate-smart practices that farmers have already adopted, but are not acknowledged in formal guidelines.
In addition, they said that farmers often consider guidelines to be inaccessible and/or unfair, with inadequate steps named for farmers to make to transition to climate-smart agriculture.
The participants said that greater multi-stakeholder collaboration, including farmers and other actors in the food systems, is needed in the development of frameworks and guidelines.
The WFO said the report is a “crucial” step in building bridges between farmers and scientists to create a research agenda that unlocks agriculture’s potential to be a powerful climate solution.