Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) - Meaning and Importance [UPSC Notes]

Non-agricultural sectors are increasingly competing for scarce natural resources, putting agricultural production systems under pressure. Unsustainable management methods, as well as changing climate and weather circumstances, have an impact on the availability and quality of natural resources. To address this scenario, agriculture sectors must enhance their sustainability performance as well as adapt to climate change impacts in ways that do not jeopardize global efforts to achieve universal food security. These issues are closely and irrevocably linked, and they must be handled at the same time.

The topic has a very high chance of being asked as an Environment Question in UPSC Prelims or Current Affairs Question, as it has been in the news recently.

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About Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)

Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is a method for assisting those in charge of managing agricultural systems in efficiently responding to climate change. The CSA strategy aims to achieve three goals: increasing production and earnings sustainably, adapting to climate change, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every strategy used in every region should result in “triple wins”.  Rather, the CSA approach aims to decrease trade-offs and enhance synergies by incorporating these goals into decisions at all sizes, from local to global, and overlong and short time horizons, in order to arrive at locally acceptable solutions.

Climate-smart agriculture is neither a new system nor a collection of methods. It’s an innovative approach of mapping out development paths that can make agriculture more productive and sustainable, as well as better suited to serve climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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The Approach under CSA

CSA is a strategy that involves several aspects rooted in local settings, rather than a set of procedures that can be applied generally. CSA encompasses on-farm and off-farm actions, as well as technologies, policy, institutions, and investment.

The following are some components of climate-smart agricultural systems:

  • Farming, crops, livestock, aquaculture, and capture fisheries management to combine near-term food security as well as livelihoods demands with adaptation and mitigation priorities.
  • Ecosystem and landscape management are vital for food security, agricultural development, adaptation, and mitigation, among other things.
  • Solutions for farmers and/or land managers to help them better manage climate risks and impacts, as well as mitigation strategies.
  • Changes in the larger food system, such as demand-side measures as well as value chain actions, improve CSA’s advantages.

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Actions under CSA

  • Enhancing the base of evidence: The evidence base consists of a country’s actual and projected climate change effects, as well as critical vulnerabilities in the farming sector and for food security, agriculture, and the identification of viable adaptation solutions. Forecasts of the prospective reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (or rising carbon sequestration) created by adaptation measures, information on costs and barriers to adoption of various practices, matters regarding the sustainability of production systems, and the necessary policy and institutional responses to counteract them are all included.
  • Encouraging policy frameworks: The strategy encourages the creation of suitable policies, strategies, investments, and coordination among processes and institutions engaged in farming, climate change, food security, and land use.
  • Institutional strengthening at the national and local levels: Strong local institutions are required to empower, enable, and motivate farmers. In some circumstances, national policymakers’ capacity to engage in international policy forums on climate change and agriculture, as well as their involvement with local government authorities, must be strengthened.
  • Enhancement of financing options: A fundamental means of implementing CSA is through innovative financing arrangements that combine and fuse climate and agriculture funding and investments from the public and private sectors. New climate funding institutions, such as the Green Climate Fund, are in the works and might help drive sustainable agricultural development. Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), as well as National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), are significant national policy instruments for establishing connections to national and international sources of money. Because national sector budgets and official development assistance (ODA) will continue to be the primary sources of funding, incorporating climate change into sectoral planning and budgeting is a must if climate change is to be successfully addressed.
  • Deploying practises on the ground: Farmers are the major custodians of information regarding their environment, agroecosystems, crops, animals, and climate patterns in their area. CSA adaptation must be based on local farmers’ expertise, needs, and priorities. Farmers are assisted by local programmes and institutions in identifying appropriate climate-smart choices that are simple to adopt and implement. In the United Republic of Tanzania, for example, this has been accomplished through Farmer Field Schools.

Note: You could get all the environment questions of the UPSC Mains exam by visiting the linked article.

Importance of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA)

The bulk of the world’s poor resides in rural areas, with agriculture serving as their primary source of income. Over the next two decades, increasing the productivity and incomes of smallholder crop, livestock, fish, and forest production systems will be critical to ensuring global food security. Climate change is projected to have the greatest impact on emerging countries. Warmer temperatures, variations in precipitation patterns, increasing sea levels, and more recurrent extreme weather events are some consequences. All of these factors put agriculture, food, and water supplies in danger. As a result, resilience is a major concern. Agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation is often a large co-benefit of measures to boost adaptation and improve food security, therefore mitigation that is congruent with national agricultural development targets is an essential part of CSA. Focus and implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices will help deal with Climate Change in India.

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