Evidence is mounting from around the world that, sustainable systems for agricultural production present viable alternatives to existing, unsustainable farming practices. These systems offer opportunities for competitive economic returns, the supply of essential and life-supporting ecosystem services, the creation of decent jobs and livelihoods, smaller ecological footprints, increased resilience to climate change, and enhanced food security.
- Are more resilient to the impacts of climate change (known as ‘adaptation’) and other
shocks and crises (such as food price volatility, the on-going economic crisis, and
depletion of natural resources);
- Contribute less to global climate change (known as ‘mitigation’);
- Ensure the right to food of people through appropriate levels of production and ecological services.
An agricultural value chain is defined as the full range of farms and firms and their successive coordinated value-adding activities that produce particular raw agricultural materials and transform them into particular agricultural and food products that are sold to consumers and disposed of after use.
Climate-Smart Agriculture integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by jointly addressing the food security, ecosystems management and climate change challenges. It is comprised of three main pillars:
- Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes;
- Adapting and building resilience to climate change;
- Reducing and/or removing greenhouse gases emissions, where possible.
Climate Smart Agriculture rice cultivation by Ayodele A. Otaiku
Plates 1. Model of Farmers Field School in Minna, 2011 for 100 farmers by Aratibiotech Limited
The potential for trade lies in implementing farming practices, knowledge, and science technologies (innovations) to:
- Maintain and increase farm productivity and profitability while ensuring the provision of food, and agricultural goods and services on a sustainable basis;
- Reduce negative externalities and gradually lead to positive ones; and
- Rebuild ecological resources (i.e. soil, water, air and biodiversity “natural capital” assets) by reducing pollution and using resources more efficiently for sustainability.
- Investing in Green Economy
Evidence and analysis suggest that investments in greener and sustainable multifunctional agriculture offer high returns as well as multiple economic, social, and environmental benefits. Governments and businesses are therefore encouraged to invest in sustainable agriculture as a catalysing force to shift to green economy. Several investment opportunities exist, including the following areas:
- Storage and transport infrastructure, especially to reduce post-harvest losses;
- Green industrialisation, for adding value through processing raw harvested produce;
- Infrastructure for production, marketing and trade in green inputs, such as Organic fertilizers and biological and integrated pest control methods;
- Improving irrigation infrastructure and its efficiency, including at the farm level, to reduce water losses; and
- Establishing Green Banks and/or micro-credit programmes for farmers and small- and medium-sized enterprises to offer small “green” loans to buy organic inputs or pay for organic certification, etcs.