Small-scale farmers in a 1.5°C future: The importance of local social dynamics as an enabling factor for implementation and scaling of climate-smart agricultureLeave a Comment
- • Small-scale farmers can contribute to a 1.5°C future while adapting to climate change.
- • By using adaptation as an entry point, climate-smart ag (CSA) mitigation co-benefits can help reduce GHG.
- • Social capital generated through social networks can promote CSA scaling.
- • Social networks enable interactions across scales that can support spreading of CSA.
- April 2018 Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
- Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has the potential to help farmers implement both adaptation and mitigation practices. The mitigation aspect of CSA is often not considered by farmers due to a high discount rate and, as such, adaptation is usually the priority concern…
- …Approaches such as climate-smart agriculture (CSA)  are intended to help to reorient agricultural systems to support food security under conditions of climate change and increased climate variability. Successful CSA consists of simultaneously achieving three goals or pillars according to FAO : (i) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security and development; (ii) adapting and building resilience to climate change from the farm to national levels; and (iii) reducing or removing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions where possible…
…In agricultural research, scaling out is the objective to reach a wide number of farmers with improved practices , and scaling up occurs when institutional buy-in and policies are influenced at higher levels . Though there are a wide array of challenges to scaling CSA, many of these can be addressed through technical, social, economic, and policy innovations . Many of these are social processes and, though much of the work on adaptation has built on the ideas of capabilities associated with the “five capitals” (financial, natural, human, physical and social), we have perhaps lost sight of many of the complexities and nuances associated with social capital in particular ….
….In order to achieve a 1.5°C scenario, consideration of the characteristics of local networks should figure into the design of any community engagement effort [26••; 51 ; 52]. This is especially the case now that the call for “mainstreaming” synergistic adaptation-mitigation practices into development policy has become part of the standard refrain [24 ; 53]. With an understanding of how adaptation strategies synergize across scale as a function of the existing networks, a goal should be to leverage community strengths and design strategies that maximize mitigation as a direct co-benefit of the implementation of adaptation practices. This is even more important where “…motivation to pursue long-term, broad-based plans, and/or to respond to community priorities, may be constrained” [54••] (p.17). An examination of local networks thus has the potential to serve as something of a first pass for establishing both the relevance and transferability of different CSA practices at different scales, while simultaneously serving as basis for designing the corresponding institutional arrangements that will better facilitate the uptake of practices with mitigation co-benefits depending on local socio-ecological circumstances [49•]…
…We argue that achieving a 1.5°C scenario requires small-scale farmers’ contributions through the implementation of strategies that provide mitigation co-benefits and synergies linked to adaptation but that additional understanding of farmers network context is a critical first step. A 1.5°C future could consist of small-scale farmers increasing their resilience through low carbon adaptation to climate change, contributing to the global mitigation efforts. However, this will require CSA options to be implemented widely and rapidly, meaning uptake by most of the small-scale farmers as soon as possible. Explicit acknowledgement of how social capital and networks operate in relation to climate challenges thus has the potential to be a critical ingredient when designing and implementing CSA at scale.
Social networks are likely a key to facilitate scaling up and out processes by enabling individuals and institutions to interact across scales, guiding their decision making processes [34••], and building social capital that spreads CSA strategies….
Deissy Martinez-Baron, Guillermo Orjuela, Giampiero Renzoni, Ana María Loboguerrero Rodríguez, Steven D Prager.