Thursday, June 25, 2015

Philippines: Climate conference centers on “smart agriculture”

Workshop participants learned about various CSA technologies that are being practiced in Asia.

Multiple challenges beset the agriculture sector and extreme changes in the global climate aggravate the situation. Addressing these challenges in “climate-smart” ways to provide food for the ballooning population, which is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, was the impetus behind the Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Technologies.

“There is an unhappy marriage at the moment between agriculture and climate change; increasing temperature causes drastic negative impacts on crops around the globe,” explains Dr. Andy Jarvis, flagship leader of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). “Agriculture scientists need to support the drive towards CSA to mainstream productivity, adaptation, and mitigation into the next generation of our technology.”

In a nutshell, the CSA approach supports local and global efforts for sustainably using agricultural systems to achieve food and nutritional security for all people at all time. In this effort, local and national governments and communities should be treated as co-owners and partners in building and implementing CSA knowledge and technologies.

CSA is not just about technologies and practices but about crops, livestock and fish, in the landscape, food system, and support services. It anchors on three overarching pillars of 1) improving agricultural productivity; 2) climate resilience through adaptation to climate variability; and 3) mitigation or the reduction of greenhouse gas emission from agriculture activities.

During the field tour, Dr. Abdel Ismail, principal scientist at IRRI, explains the flood and salt tolerant varieties developed by IRRI.

With support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and CCAFS co-organized the activity held in 2-4 June 2015 in Muntinlupa City. UNEP’s climate change expert Julia Steinfeld said the activity, the third in a series of CSA workshops that UNEP has supported, intended to provide an avenue to facilitate technology transfer, promote institutional and technical knowledge exchange on CSA, and foster regional collaboration.

About 80 participants from 16 countries across Asia shared and discussed CSA technologies during the workshop. There was also a poster session featuring CSA technologies being practiced in participating countries. In addition, the participants visited IRRI’s demonstration sites and laboratories where the Institute developed its CSA technologies over the years. Identify tools, policies, and mechanisms that facilitate and accelerate the upscaling and outscaling of the technologies were discussed during the visit.

The Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies outputs will be used to develop climate financing proposals from the participating countries.

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