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  • Writer's pictureV K

Combat Climate Changes by Investing in Smallholder Farmers

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Globally, agriculture accounts for 15% of GDP and 40% of jobs on average. Local production of nutritious food is one of the agricultural approaches to sustained food and nutrition security, and smallholder farmers play a critical role in this activity. All rural and urban populations in developing nations rely significantly on the efficiency of their local smallholder farmers to meet their food demands as consumers. This article aims to offer context for the possible involvement of smallholder farmers in addressing the climate catastrophe.

Who are smallholder farmers?

Some significant commodities, such as cocoa, coffee, and cotton, are predominantly grown by smallholder farmers in underdeveloped nations. The quest of export markets has entangled them in global value networks.

Smallholders include both small farmers who own/control the land they farm and those who do not. The word “out grower” is frequently used to describe a smallholder in a dependent, controlled relationship with an exporter.

As outlined in the Ethical Trading Initiative, smallholders have several traits, regardless of whether they control the land they cultivate or the product they produce.

Smallholder farmers and impact of climate change

The United Nations’ annual climate talks have become an exhibition of conflicting environmental agendas, ranging from renewable energy to green technologies, cutting deforestation, to water conservation.

However, when it comes to the effects of climate change, millions of impoverished smallholder farmers worldwide face the burden of increasingly severe losses. They are our frontline because they are the individuals that eventually feed the globe and protect our natural resources. Any climate change policy is worthless unless it targets them and strengthens their resilience.

This year has seen unusual weather in every part of the globe. The greatest hope of adjusting to these quickly changing conditions is to invest in smallholders while giving them the knowledge and resources to reduce the environmental effect of agriculture.

Goals of CSA

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is a holistic strategy to manage landscapes (cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries) that tackles the interconnected concerns of food security and increasing climate change. CSA seeks to achieve three goals at the same time:

1. Enhanced productivity: Produce more and better food to enhance nutrition security and incomes, particularly for the 75% of the world’s poor who live in rural regions and rely primarily on agriculture for a living.

2. Increased resilience: Reduce sensitivity to drought, pests, diseases, and other climate-related hazards and shocks, as well as increase capacity to adapt and flourish in the face of longer-term pressures such as shortened seasons and irregular weather patterns.

3. Reduced emissions: Strive for lower emissions per calorie or kilo of food produced, minimise agricultural deforestation, and find ways to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

Invest in smallholders’ farmers to battle climate changes

Suppose we desire a future free of hunger and poverty while adjusting to and reducing the climate disaster. In that case, we must prioritise smallholder farmers in our efforts to address both concerns and “build back better.” Increased financial assistance for smallholder-focused adapting to climate change can help governments and international aid organisations promote a new generation of resilient climate farmers.

We should pursue legacies with smallholder farmers to significantly increase financial aid, cohesive policies, comprehensive planning, technology, and agricultural adaptation capacity-building.

An agreement with smallholder farmers to synchronise policies, research, and investments across various stakeholders – governments, funders, civil society, the private industry, and the farmers themselves – will ensure food security, biodiversity protection, and climate mitigation same time.

The Ceres2030 study, published this year, outlined a strategy for achieving global targets to address the climate catastrophe and end hunger by 2030. It adds to the body of resources on what works to help small farmers grow more nutritious and climate-resilient crops, gain access to irrigation, and tap into social safety nets.

Furthermore, the recommendations from the Global Centre on Adaptation’s flagship report are critical in this regard:

• Improving smallholder productivity • Assisting farmers in managing risks from seasonal variations and climate shocks • Addressing the most vulnerable challenges • Accomplishing policy coherence

Data will also be an essential tool for directing assistance to smallholder farmers. Thus, to satisfy these specialised demands, demand-driven research and innovation are required. Only 10% of nations can gather and disaggregate enough data on food systems. As environmental circumstances change, we rely heavily on organisations like CGIAR to collect and translate data on smallholder farmers’ unique requirements to channel resources efficiently.

According to the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) 2020 study, smallholder farmers get only 1.7% of total global climate money.

More funding for agricultural technology and development will be channeled through global networks and joint initiatives, accelerating the development of technologies and crops that even the poorest farmers can adopt.

More investment for smallholder farmers would assure availability to climate-resilient crops that can withstand pressures including drought, heat, flooding, salt, and changing growing seasons. It will strengthen the excluded and underprivileged — ladies, native communities, pastoralists, and fisherfolk, to mention a few – to produce the food we eat and the nutritious diets we require with dignity and in an environmentally benign and sustainable manner.

The world has done plenty to reduce hunger. Still, recent figures show that hunger levels are on the rise once more globally. The UN annual hunger report showed that one in every ten people fell asleep hungry in 2020, a jump by about 118 million in the past year – and the climate crisis raises a growing threat to food production and distribution.

Food systems are accountable for more than one-third of overall greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Various natural adaptation methods are also suitable for mitigation and can supply one-third of the climate mitigation required between now and 2030 to keep global temperature below 2°C.

Farmsio Climate-Smart Agriculture solution

The most sustainable agricultural software is now available to make the lives of farmers and agribusinesses easier by providing them with climate-smart technology. Farmsio sourcing organisations can locate places that adhere to sustainable standards to achieve the larger objective of climate-smart operations. Our smart integrated platform digitises the value chain with sustainable climate-smart solutions and boosts productivity, generating insights and tools for assessing climate change risk.

The Farmsio Climate Smart Agriculture module prioritises the following objectives.

• Maintaining modest economic and food security gains by increasing agricultural output. • Gaining a better grasp of weather forecasting techniques; and • Adapting to and building resistance to climate change.

Key Features of Farmsio’s Climate Smart Solution

• Monitor and mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, particularly for smallholder farmers who lack the instruments and know-how to deal with these difficulties by offering solutions. • Weather-specific, soil-specific, site-specific management and remote monitoring options are available to farmers. • Increase production efficiency by adjusting agricultural inputs, especially fertilisers and agrochemicals, to changing local circumstances within a field and collecting site-specific data on crop growth and yield-influencing factors. • Farmsio efficiently employs a satellite-based solution to provide numerous advisory services to the farm-related organisation. agricultural stress management, nutrition management, crop damage assessment, crop modelling, and other decision tools are among them. • Farmsio uses satellite technology to calculate agricultural acreage, remote monitoring, weather forecasting, and providing historical data and decision-making tools to the BFSI industry to help them make better decisions.

Summing Up

Smallholder farmers are the least prepared to deal with the weather extremes that are quickly becoming the norm. However, they can play a critical role in assisting people by adopting climate-adaptive crops and practices with the correct tools and assistance. Many small farms currently cultivate a wider variety of produce than large farms, which means they can help reverse the alarming reductions in nature and biodiversity while also supplying us with a diversified, nutrient-rich food basket.

Let us always celebrate the unsung heroes of our food systems: smallholder farmers and assist them in tackling climate changes. We should also encourage additional investment in smallholder agriculture and strong and expedited climate adaptation and resilience initiatives.

Are you interested in implementing sustainable climate-smart agriculture? Try our Farmsio Platform – Take a Demo Today!

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