Making policies work


Briefing Notes (series)

Making agriculture in Africa climate-smart: From continental policies to local practices

Briefing Note 80


Knaepen, H., Torres, C., Rampa, F. 2015. Making agriculture in Africa climate-smart: From continental policies to local practices. (Briefing Note 80). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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Key messages

There are various approaches to make agriculture “climate smart”. These can be complementary, and it is therefore an important challenge to link their best practices. African policy-makers generally promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and aim to mainstream this approach in agricultural policies and interventions at continental, regional and national levels. But a lack of knowledge, weak governance and insufficient finance impede smooth mainstreaming.

Moreover, despite mainstreaming efforts, “climate” and “agriculture” are treated in silos. There is also a disconnect between policies and frameworks at the global, continental, regional, national and local levels. A multistakeholder, bottom-up, intersectorial approach can overcome these challenges. At the same time, top-down frameworks such as the UN climate debates should give “agriculture” its deserved priority, given its relevance as “victim and vector” of climate change.

Investing in climate-sensitive agriculture is an opportunity for the private sector to make sustainable profits. But governments and financial partners should create an enabling environment and provide financial incentives to mitigate risks especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs can better address opportunities in local markets and can better adapt climate smart technologies to local markets.


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Photo courtesy of  Tim Cronin for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

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Sustainable food systemsBriefing Notes (series)AgricultureClimate changeAfrica