Economics and Policy Innovations for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Working papers

This section features the final products of research projects conducted since 2009. The papers published below represent the outcomes of collaborative efforts between EPIC and its partners. Here, researchers, academics, policy makers and anybody interested in climate change adaptation and mitigation will find information on various technical aspects of Climate-Smart Agriculture.

Cash transfer programmes for managing climate risks: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Zambia
Cash transfer programmes are increasingly being used to combat poverty and hunger as well as to shape the human capital of future generations. Even though most of these programmes are not explicitly designed to help households manage climate risk, there are good reasons to expect that cash transfers can help build household resilience against climatic risk [...]

Diversification under climate variability as part of a CSA strategy in rural Zambia
This paper aims at presenting empirical evidence from Zambia to better understand the linkages between climatic shocks, livelihood diversification and welfare outcomes with the goal of highlighting potential policy entry points to incentivize the types of diversification aimed at improving food security and resilience to climate shocks.

Welfare impacts of climate shocks Evidence from Tanzania
The goal of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of weather risk on rural households' welfare in Tanzania using nationally representative household panel data together with a set of novel weather variation indicators based on interpolated gridded and re-analysis weather data that capture the peculiar features of short term and long term variations in rainfall and temperature.

Welfare impacts of climate shocks Evidence from Uganda
This paper evaluates the effects of weather/climate shocks on various measures of household welfare using a nationally representative panel data from Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) together with a set of novel climate variation indicators

Managing climate risk using climate-smart agriculture
Climate change alters the agriculture production conditions and food security of developing countries, increasing the frequency and depth of risk to agricultural production and incomes. Policy-makers need assistance in identifying risk management options in the agricultural sector that allow them to effectively respond to the climate risks they face, while maintaining and enhancing agricultural policy objectives. Climate-smart agricultural (CSA) approach was developed to provide this assistance and this brief highlights some of the key findings related to risk management from CSA case studies.

Smallholder productivity under climatic variability:Adoption and impact of widely promoted agricultural practices in Tanzania
This paper contributes to evidence base to support policies for climate smart agriculture and underlines the importance of integrating site-specific analyses of climatic variables in policy targeting to foster adoption of appropriate practices to improve food security under climate change.

Diversification strategies and adaptation deficit: Evidence from rural communities in Niger
This paper provides fresh empirical evidence on the adaptation process to face climate changes through the analysis of original cross-sectional data collected at household-level in Niger.

Livelihood diversification and vulnerability to poverty in rural Malawi
Climate variability, associated with farm-income variability, is recognized as one of the main drivers of livelihood diversification strategies in developing countries. Analysing determinants of livelihood diversification choices, to better understand household strategic behaviour in the event of climatic risks and other shocks, is important for the formulation of development policies in developing countries highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, like Malawi.

Gender integration into Climate-Smart Agriculture: Tools for data collection and analysis for policy and research
The adoption of CSA practices at scale requires appropriate institutional and governance mechanisms to facilitate the dissemination of information and to ensure broad participation by relevant stakeholders and targeted beneficiaries. Among the drivers influencing CSA adoption, the understanding of how gender could influence the effectiveness of these instruments is capturing increasing attention in the literature. 

Adaptation to climate risk and food security. Evidence from smallholder farmers in Ethiopia
This paper explores the impact of climate risk on the adoption of risk decreasing practices and other input choices and evaluates their impact on subjective and objective measures of household welfare (namely net crop income and a food insecurity indicator). The analysis is conducted primarily using a novel data set that combines data from the largescale and representative Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey (ERSS), 2011/12 with historical climate and biophysical data. 

Food security impact of agricultural technology adoption under climate change: Micro-evidence from Niger
An assessment of farmers' incentives and the conditioning factors that hinder or promote adoption of agricultural technologies under climate risk and evaluate its impact on food security in Niger.

Food security and adaptation impacts of potential climate smart agricultural practices in Zambia
This paper analyzes how a set of widely promoted agricultural practices affect crop yields and their resilience in Zambia using panel data from the Rural Incomes and Livelihoods Surveys (RILS). It provides important insights into the interplay between food security outcomes and climatic variables, and provides policy implications for targeted interventions to improve the productivity and the resilience of smallholder agriculture in Zambia in the face of climate change.

How do we actually change the business as usual management of agricultural systems? A methodology for building Climate-Smart Agriculture
The Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach was developed in 2010 and is now being piloted in three countries based on a process developed for a country-driven CSA methodology. This involves the development of an evidence base, dialogue and policy harmonization, investment analyses and links to climate finance. This brief lays out the methodology and the variation in its implementation across varying circumstances. The paper provides insights into what will actually be needed to support broader implementation of the CSA approach.

Evidence and Knowledge Gaps on Climate-Smart Agriculture in Vietnam:
A review on the potential of agroforestry and sustainable land management in the Northern Mountainous Region

This paper reviews the site-specific research in the published literature on the economic and climate impacts as well as the barriers to the adoption of agroforestry and sustainable land management in the NMR, and aims to identify knowledge gaps that need to be addressed for an evidence-based agricultural development policy in the region. 

Climate-Smart Agriculture & Resource Tenure In Sub-Saharan Africa: A Conceptual Framework
In this study, authors analyse the linkages between property rights and adoption of CSA. First, they discuss key characteristics of four CSA practices related to sustainable land management, then lay out a conceptual framework for evaluating the pathways by which expanding property rights and strengthening tenure security affects incentives to adopt technologies broadly, and finally apply the framework to each of the four CSA practices.

Climate Variability, Adaptation Strategies and Food Security in Malawi
This paper assesses farmers' incentives and conditioning factors that hinder or promote adaptation strategies and evaluates its impact on crop productivity by utilizing household level data collected in 2011 from nationally representative sample households in Malawi [...]

Climate-Smart Agriculture? A review of current practice of agroforestry and conservation agriculture in Malawi and Zambia
Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa must undergo significant productivity improvements to meet the combined challenges of population growth and climate change [...]

Adoption and intensity of adoption of conservation farming practices in Zambia

An analysis of the determinants and the intensity of adoption of two components of Conservation Farming in Zambia. Findings suggests that farmers are using these practices as a strategy to mitigate the risk of rainfall variability, providing evidence – albeit indirectly – of a synergy between these practices and adaptation to climate variability. Click here for a presentation of the paper. A journal version has also been published on Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment and it is available at this link.

Developing a Climate-Smart Agriculture strategy at the country level: lessons from recent experience
Prepared as background to the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, this paper highlights recent experiences with country-level implementation of CSA and identifies some key lessons to incorporate in ongoing efforts to expand the use of the approach in developing countries.

Identifying opportunities for climate smart agriculture investments in Africa
In this work, EPIC proposes a rapid screening methodology to examine the 14 existing National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (NAFSIPs), prepared in the context of CAADP, to ascertain their potential to generate climate change benefits. The screening showed that the activities planned would generate climate benefits in terms of adaptation to slow-onset climate change (60%), adaptation to extreme events (18%) and climate change mitigation (19%).

Climate change mitigation finance for smallholder agriculture: a guide book to harvesting soil carbon sequestration benefits
Building on FAO policy advice and incorporating lessons from ongoing agricultural carbon finance projects of FAO and other organizations, this document provides an overview of potential mitigation finance opportunities for soil carbon sequestration.

Climate-smart agriculture: a synthesis of empirical evidence of food security and mitigation benefits from improved cropland management
This paper synthesizes the results of a literature review reporting the evidence base of different sustainable land management practices aimed at increasing and stabilizing crop productivity in developing countries.

Climate-smart agriculture: smallholder adoption and implications for climate change adaptation and mitigation
This paper provides a brief review of the adaptation and mitigation benefits from various practices, and focuses in detail on empirical evidence concerning costs and barriers to adoption, both from household and project-level data.

Climate-Smart Agriculture, policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation
Developing Climate-Smart Agriculture is crucial to achieving food security and climate change goals. This paper examines some of the key technical, institutional, policy and financial responses required to achieve this transformation.

Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies
Potential synergies between food security, adaptation and climate change mitigation from land-based agricultural practices could help to generate multiple benefits needed to address the multiple demands placed on agriculture. This work explores these synergies and indicates promising mitigation options with synergies, options that involve trade-offs, possible options for required financing, and possible elements in designing country implementation processes.

Methodology for Sustainable Grassland Management

FAO-verified carbon standard (VCS) methodology for sustainable grassland management
This methodology is based on the project “Three Rivers Grassland Carbon Sequestration Project” in Qinghai Province, China.