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Climate-Smart Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of most Eastern and Southern African Member States economies and plays a key role in their industrial development and trade. Agriculture accounts for more than 32 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product, employs about 80 per cent of its labour force, accounts for about 65 per cent of foreign exchange earnings and contributes more than 50 per cent of raw materials to the industrial sector.

The region faces declining agricultural yields, drought, ecosystem degradation and conflicts. These drivers of poverty undermine local communities’ ability to adapt to climate change. This is exacerbated by the fact that over 95% of agriculture in the region is rain-fed.

Climate-Smart Agriculture is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces or removes GHGs (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals (FAO, 2010).

Through a Tripartite cooperation to address Climate Change, the three Regional Economic Communities (COMESA, EAC, SADC) have a project that is supporting adoption of Climate-Smart conservation Agriculture, supporting investments in national Climate-Smart Agriculture programs and addressing the linkages between Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use, and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

The goal is to bring significant livelihood and food security benefits to at least 1.2 million small-scale farmers through the application of well-tested, Climate-Smart Agriculture that combines crop production with agroforestry and livestock management.

The Tripartite programme’s definition of Climate-Smart Agriculture includes a range of approaches with particular emphasis on:

  1. Conservation Agriculture comprising of generally reduced tillage, maintenance of a mulch and inclusion of legumes in the rotation;
  2. Integration of trees within the farming practice (agroforestry);
  3. Improved range management in mixed farming systems including reduced uncontrolled burning and increased sequestration of carbon in the soil or vegetation; and
  4. Other approaches will be considered which have an innovative approach to increasing resilience to climate change or the sequestration of carbon within agricultural systems.

East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org