Climate Smart Agriculture and Its Implementation Challenges in Africa

Main Article Content

Behailu Legesse Kaptymer
Jemal Abdulkerim Ute
Musa Negeso Hule


The changing climate is hitting smallholder farmers hard. It is doing so especial in the African continent which is regularly pronounced as most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  Climate change brings droughts and floods, pests and diseases; it means poorer crops, less food, and lower incomes. Agriculture in Africa must undergo a major transformation in the coming decades in order to meet the intertwined challenges of achieving food security, reducing poverty and responding to climate change without depletion of the natural resource base. Climate-smart agriculture seeks to increase productivity in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate change, and reduce agriculture’s contri­bution to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon storage on farmland. Climate-smart agriculture includes practical techniques including mulch­ing, conservation agriculture, integrated crop-livestock management, crop rotation, intercropping, agro forestry, improved grazing, and improved of water management system. In spite of the potential of Climate Smart Agriculture to improve resilience and to enhance agricultural production and rural livelihoods, systematic response to climate change through adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices and technologies is still very limited in Africa for a host of reasons. some of the challenges facing Climate-smart agriculture in Africa includes, Lack of practical understanding of the approach; Lack of data and information and appropriate analytical tools at local and national levels; Inadequate coordinated, supportive and enabling policy frameworks; Lack of adequate and innovative financing mechanisms and effective risk-sharing schemes; Limited credit and finance and Poor physical and social infrastructure to mention few.  To support the implementation of climate-smart agriculture and resolve the challenges in Africa, it is necessary to improve the coordination of policies and strengthen local, national and regional institutions.

Climate smart agriculture, climate change, resilience, conservation agriculture.

Article Details

How to Cite
Kaptymer, B. L., Abdulkerim Ute, J., & Negeso Hule, M. (2019). Climate Smart Agriculture and Its Implementation Challenges in Africa. Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology, 38(4), 1-13.
Review Article


World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C., World Bank; 2015.

FAO. Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook, Rome; 2013.

FARA.. Barriers to scaling up/out climate smart agriculture and strategies to enhance adoption in Africa. Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Kampala, Uganda; 2015.

Hanne K, Carmen T, Francesco R. Making agriculture in Africa climate smart. From continental policies to local practices, Ecdpm Briefing Note. 2015.

Partey ST, Zougmoré RB, Ouédraogo M, Campbell BM. Developing climate-smart agriculture to face climate variability in West Africa: Challenges and lessons learnt. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2018;187:285-295.

Boto I, Biasca R, Brasesco F. Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security: Proven Approaches and New Investments, Brussels Rural Development Briefings, Briefing no. 2012;29.

Milder J, Majanen T, Scherr S. Performance and Potential of Conservation Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Assessment of WWF and CARE Projects in Support of the WWF-CARE Alliance’s Rural Futures Initiative, Final Report, EcoAgriculture Partners and CARE-WWF Alliance; 2011.

IPCC. Summary for Policymakers. Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. (Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC). Cambridge, UK and New York, USA: Cambridge University Press; 2014.

Lamia E. Climate Smart Agriculture is Smarter when informed by Gender Perspective, WOCAN; 2012.

Meybeck A, Gitz V. Module 1: Why Climate-Smart Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’, in FAO, Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook. 2013;14.

LCTPI 2015. Agriculture and the Climate Challenge, Wbcsd CSA. 2014. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA); 2014.

CSA. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA); 2014.

CIDSE. Climate-Smart Agriculture’: the Emperor’s new clothes? Discussion paper; 2014.

Neely CL, Dixon JM. Farming Systems and its Cousins: Including and Transcending to make a difference. In: Changing European Farming Systems for a Better Future: New Visions for Rural Areas. Langeveld H, NG Röling (eds.). Wageningen: Wagenigen Academic Publishers; 2006.

Pretty J, Bharucha ZP. Sustainable intensification in agricultural systems. Annals of Botany. 2014;114(8):1571-1596.

UNEP. Towards a Green Economy Agriculture. Advance copy online release. The World World Development Report. Development and Climate Change. UNEP; 2010 .
Available: agriculture in Uganda/tabid/29866/.

IIED. Sustainable Intensification Revisited. (IIED Briefing); 2015.

Kotschi J, Müller-Sämann K. The Role of Organic Agriculture in Mitigating Climate Change. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn; 2004.

Silici L. Agro-ecology: What it is, what it has to offer, and how agro-ecological practices could be more widely adopted. (IIED Issue Paper). London: IIED; 2014.

Action Aid., “Clever Name, Losing Game? - How Climate Smart Agriculture is sowing confusion in the food movemen”t; 2014.

Lipper L, Thornton P, Campbell BM, Baedeker T, Braimoh A, Bwalya M, Caron P, Cattaneo A, Garrity D, Henry K, Hottle R, Jackson L, Jarvis A, Kossam F, Mann W, McCarthy N, Meybeck A, Neufeldt H, Remington T, Sen PT, Sessa R, Shula R, Tibu A, Torquebiau EF. Climate-Smart Agriculture for Food Security. In: Nature Climate Change. 2014;4(12):1068-1072.

Lipper L, Zilberman D. A Short History of the Evolution of the Climate Smart Agriculture Approach and Its Links to Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture Debates. In: Lipper L, McCarthy N, Zilberman D, Asfaw S, Branca G. (eds) Climate Smart Agriculture. Natural Resource Management and Policy. Springer, Cham. 2018;52.

Graham K, Vignola R. REDD+ and agriculture: A cross-sectoral approach to REDD+ and implications for the poor, Report for the REDD-net programme at. 2011;5-14.

Lal R. World Soils and the Carbon Cycle in Relation to Climate Change and Food Security, The Ohio State University, at 17. FAO, Climate- Smart Agriculture: Agroforestry; 2012.
[Accessed 28 may 2016]

Boko M. et al. ‘Africa’, in Climate Change,. Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Ch. 9 (Parry, M.L. et al. eds., 2007), Section 9.4.4; 2007.

FAO. Climate-Smart Agriculture. Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation, Rome; 2010.

Smith P, Martino D, Cai Y, Gwary D, Janzen J, Kumar P, McCarl B, Ogle St, Howden M, AcAllister T, Pan G, Romanenkov V, Schneider U, Towprayoon S, Wattenbach M, Smith J.. Greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 2008; 363:789–813.

Dumanski J, Peiretti R, Benetis J, McGarry D, Pieri C. The paradigm of conservation tillage. Proc. World Assoc. Soil and Water Conserv. P1. 2006;58-64.

Hossain. The apotheosis of conservation agriculture. J. Bangladesh Agril. Univ. 2013;11(2):241–248.

Govaerts B, Sayre KD, Goudeseune B, De Corte P, Lichter K, Dendooven L, Deckers J. Conservation agriculture as a sustainable option for the central Mexican highlands, Soil & Tillage Research. 2009; 103:222-230.

Dendooven L, Patino-Zuniga L, Verhulst N, Luna-Guido M, Marsch R, Govaerts B. Global warming potential of agricultural systems with contrasting tillage and residue management in the central highlands of Mexico. J. Farming Systems Res. Extension. 2011;4:35-66.

Basch G, Kassam A, González-Sánchez EJ, Streit B. Making sustainable agriculture real in CAP 2020: The role of conservation agriculture. ECAF, Brussels. 2012;43.

Kassam A, Friedrich T, Derpsch R. Conservation Agriculture in the 21st century: A Paradigm of Sustainable Agriculture. Proceedings of the European Congress on Conservation Agriculture: Towards Agro-Environmental Climate and Energetic Sustainability. Madrid. 2010;19-68.

UNEP. Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. A Synthesis for Policy Makers; 2011.

Adrian M. Benefits of Organic Agriculture as a Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy for Developing Countries”, Efd, Discussion Paper Series; 2009.

Eyhorn F.Organic Farming for Sustainable Livelihoods in Developing Countries: The Case of Cotton in India.” PhD diss. Department of Philosophy and Science, University of Bonn; 2007.
Available: Accessed February 12, 2009.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements/IFOAM, The contribution Of Organic Agriculture to Climate Change Mitigation; 2009.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC0. 2007. Climate change: mitigation of climate change, Metz B, Davidson OR, Bosch PR, Dave R, Meyer LA, eds. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, USA, Cambridge University Press; 2007.

Moraes AD, Carvalho PCDF, Lustosa SBC, Lang CR, Deiss L. Research on integrated crop-livestock systems in Brazil. Revista Ciência Agronômica, 2014; 45(5SPE):1024-1031.

MORAES A. et al.,. Integrated crop-livestock systems in the Brazilian subtropics. Eur. J. Agron. (IN PRESS); 2013.

Benavides R, Douglas GB, Osoro K. Silvopastoralism in New Zealand: Review of effects of evergreen and deciduous trees on pasture dynamics. Agroforestry System. 2009;76:327-350.

Charles L. Mohler, S. Johnson. Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual, NRAES. 2009:177.

Boucher TJ, Durgy R.. Perimeter trap cropping works! University of Connecticut, Integrated Pest Management; 2003.

Bruehl GW. Soilborne Plant Pathogens. New York: Macmillan; 1987.

Cavers PB, ed. The Biology of Canadian Weeds, Contributions Ottawa: Agricultural Institute of Canada. 1995;62–83.

Adger W, Huq S, Brown K, Conway D, Hulme M. “Adaptation to Climate Change in the Developing World” Progress in Development Studies, 2003;3(3):179–195.

Neate P. Climate-smart agriculture success stories from farming communities around the world. Wageningen, Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA); 2013.

McCornick P, Smakhtin V, Bharati L, Johnston R, McCartney M, Sugden F, Clement F, McIntyre B. Tackling change: Future-proofing water, agriculture, and food security in an era of climate uncertainty. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 2013;36.
DOI: 10.5337/2013.213

Mul ML, Williams TO, Cofie O. Overview of the scientific, political and financial landscapes of climate-smart agriculture in West Africa: Sector of water 21 resources. In Robert Zougmoré, Alain Sy Traoré, Yamar Mbodj (Eds.). Overview of the Scientific, Political and Financial Landscape of Climate-Smart Agriculture in West Africa. Working Paper No 118. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). 2015;47-59.

Williams TO, Gyampoh B, Kizito F, Namara R. Water implications of large-scale land acquisitions in Ghana. Water Alternatives. 2012;5(2):243-265.

Williams TO. Accessing and putting water to productive use in sub-Saharan Africa. In: van de Bliek J, McCornick P, Clarke J. (Eds.). On Target for People and Planet: Setting and Achieving Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals. Colombo, Sri Lanka. IWMI. 2014;42-45.
DOI: 10.5337/2014.226

Mapfumo P, Onyango M, Honkponou SK, El Mzouri EH, Githeko A, Rabeharisoa L, Agrawal A. Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: An analytical framework. Climate and Development. 2015;1-13.

Akinnifesi F, Ajayi O, Sileshi G, Chirwa P, Chianu. “Fertiliser Trees for Sustainable Food Security in the Maize-Based Production Systems of Eastern and Southern Africa: A Review” Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 2010;30:615-629.

Hobbs PR, Sayre KD, Gupta R.The role of conservation agriculture in sustainable agriculture. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biol. Sciences 2007;363(1491):543-555.

Reij C, Tappan G, Smale M. Re-Greening the Sahel: Farmer-Led Innovation in Burkina Faso and Niger in Spielman, D and Pandya-Lorch, R (eds) Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development, IFPRI, Washington, DC; 2009.

Radeksz. Age dependency ratio by countr; 2008.
Available: File:Map_Age_Dependency_Ratio, date accessed 25/05/2016

Ngigi S. Climate Change Adaptation Strategies: Water Resources Management Options for Smallholder Farming Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, New York, the MDG Centre for East and Southern Africa, the Earth Institute at Columbia University; 2009.

Bandre P, Batta F. “Case Study of SWC in Burkina Faso” in Slaymaker T, Blench R (eds). Rethinking Natural Resources Degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies to Support Soil Fertility Management, Soil and Water Conservation Among Resource-Poor Farmers in Semi-Arid Areas, Vol, II, Country Case Studies. 2002;1-44.

Fatondji D. “Organic Amendment Decomposition, Nutrient Release and Nutrient Uptake by Millet” in A Traditional Land Rehabilitation Technique (Zai) in the Sahel Ecology and Development, Series no.1, University of Bonn; 2002.

World Bank. World Development Report. Agriculture for Development, the World Bank, Washington, D.C; 2008.

Mati B. Capacity Development for Smallholder Irrigation in Kenya, Irrigation and Drainage. 2008;57:332-440.

Knaepen H, Torres C, Rampa F. Making agriculture in Africa climate-smart: From continental policies to local practices. European Centre for Development Policy Management, Briefing Note N. 2015:80.