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MICCA’s pilot projects: demonstrating results on the ground
Showing results on the ground is essential if farmers, national policy-makers, international organizations and donors are to be persuaded to make climate-smart agriculture a priority. To address this need, MICCA is carrying out two pilot projects in Africa. These projects will provide quantifiable evidence that climate-smart agricultural practices can mitigate climate change, improve farmers’ lives and make local communities better able to adapt to climate change.
The MICCA approach
Although both projects focus on a different smallholder production system within distinct agricultural ecosystems, they all share a common approach. In each project, the MICCA team and their partners will:
Each of MICCA’s pilot projects is a collaborative effort carried out in partnership with national and international partners within the framework of larger agricultural development projects. In Kenya, the pilot project is being undertaken within the framework of the East Africa Dairy Development Project (EADD), a regional industry development programme led by Heifer International. In the United Republic of Tanzania, the pilot project is being carried out within the Hillside Conservation Agriculture Project, which is managed by CARE International. In both pilot projects, the MICCA team collaborates closely with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
Establishing scientific protocols
Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential of smallholder agricultural activities presents a unique set of conceptual and methodological challenges. The MICCA Programme, in collaboration with a group of international experts, is adapting analytical tools and procedures to contribute to the development of a measurement protocol. The protocol will form a standard of practice for evaluating the global warming potential of smallholder systems and improve the comparability of data across future research activities. Unique to this effort, the protocol will explicitly tackle the complexity and diversity of smallholder systems and be aligned with the different scales of decision making that exist within individual farming households and during the formulation of policies that affect the entire landscape.
Science in farmers’ fields and beyond
Research on climate-smart agriculture in smallholder production systems must address issues that extend far beyond the limits of farmers‘ fields. For this reason, the research MICCA supports through its pilot projects considers the potential benefits and costs of climate-smart interventions along the entire food production chain, as well as their environmental impact across the landscape. To characterize the soils, vegetation, livelihoods, and climate impacts of agriculture and agricultural intensification in a given landscape, MICCA applies a set of analytical tools including:
Diagnosing environmental health
The MICCA Programme’s pilot projects produce a biophysical assessment that establishes the condition of the resources base at field, farm, and landscape level. The assessment of land health includes indicators on key ecosystem functions including: erosion control, soil fertility and soil carbon content. The environmental assessment is accompanied by household surveys that capture the socio-economic situation in the target areas. The result is a quantitative diagnosis of the constraints to enhancing food security and improving soil, plant, and livestock health in the target region. When combined with decision-support tools, such as, tree suitability models, fertilizer recommendations, or erosion risk models, the spatially explicit data provides clear recommendations for adoption of climate-smart agriculture. This information gives guidance for how to select the right tool for the right place at the right time. Detailed data generated through MICCA’s pilots projects delivers critical, often missing, information that allows partners to select and promote climate-smart agricultural practices.
Key FAO links
A perspective from the field
In the Perspectives section, we’ve posted a short set of questions and answers with Josephine Kirui who is facilitating the implementation of the MICCA pilot project in Kenya.
To read the questions and answers, click here.