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FAO expert pitches call for ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’

MEMBERS of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should work to transform their agricultural systems to enable farmers to use new technologies and techniques to maximize yields that will address the twin challenge of food security and climate change, an expert from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

Hideki Kanamaru of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC) of FAO said transforming agricultural systems means intensifying production systems to achieve productivity that will support national food security and development goals.

Speaking before the recently-concluded APEC Symposium on Climate Change dubbed “Adaptation Strategies with Mitigation Potential for Food and Water Security” held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Manila last February 6-8, Kanamaru said food security and climate change remain as the two major challenges faced by mankind.

Hosted by the Philippines through the Department of Agriculture, the symposium was attended by policy makers and implementers, researchers/scientists and practitioners from APEC economies and selected organizations.

“The symposium intends to initiate and sustain information exchange among resource speakers and participating APEC economies on adaptation strategies in agriculture with mitigation potentials,” according to AliciaIlaga, focal person of the Department of Agriculture – APEC and Climate Change office said.

Kanamaru said FAO is promoting “climate-smart agriculture”, a concept to transform agricultural to enhance the achievement of national food security and development goals in the face of climate change.

Climate-smart agriculture consists of three major pillars, such as 1) sustainably intensify production systems to achieve productivity increases, 2) climate change adaptation, and 3) climate change mitigation.

Adoption of new technologies such as adaptation/mitigation practices, however, is faced with several limitations such as lack of tenure security and limited property rights which may hinder adoption of practices. 

“Limited information and limited local experiences available about new practices due to low levels of support for agriculture research and extension, for example, may prevent adoption,” Kanamaru added.

Up-front investment costs on the ground can be high, while on-farm benefits may not be realized until medium to long term in the future,” he said.

Adequate policy and institution support is needed to enable the transition to climate-smart agriculture, Kanamaru stressed.

The transformation of agricultural systems, Kanamaru underscored, should increase the resilience of production systems and rural livelihoods as a major climate change adaptation component.  

More importantly, Kanamaru said the transformation should also consider reducing agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, including through increased production efficiency and increase carbon sequestration as part of climate change mitigation. 

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