Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach to help guide actions to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively and sustainably support development and food security under a changing climate. It is a concept and definition coined by FAO in 2010 in a background paper prepared for the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FAO, ”Climate-Smart” Agriculture Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation. 2010), in the context of national food security and development goals. In the context of the same definition, “Agriculture” is taken to cover crop and livestock production, and fisheries and forest management. CSA is therefore not a new production system – it is a means of identifying which production systems and enabling institutions are best suited to respond to the challenges of climate change for specific locations, like in The Gambia, to maintain and enhance the capacity of agriculture to support food security in a sustainable way. The concept is meant to tackle three main objectives (FAO, Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook. 2013):
(a) sustainably increasing food security by increasing agricultural productivity and incomes,
(b) building resilience and adapting to climate change, and
(c) developing opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to expected trends.
The Gambia is currently writing its CSA Communication document and will submit it to ECOWAS for assistance in the areas that The Gambia thinks needs strong support in order to help Gambian farmers be more resilient to climate change impacts and increase their incomes as well. The CSA country Communication document preparation is being done by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Sidat Yaffa, Ph.D.