First results analysed from FAO-EC project in Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia
Preliminary results from a project aimed at helping Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia make the transition to a "climate-smart" approach to agriculture show that some farmers are struggling to adopt the new methods, while others are finding ways to cope well with climate-change problems like late rains. Launched in January 2012, the €5.3-million three-year FAO-EC project promotes a climate-smart agriculture approach in each country, with supporting activities ranging from research to policy support and investment proposals. One of the main activities of the project is identifying which agricultural practices are "climate smart" for specific conditions.
For example, the project has studied conservation agriculture (CA), which involves reduced tillage, permanent soil cover and crop rotation. The practice has been promoted by the governments of Malawi and Zambia. In Vietnam, at the project site in the northern part of the country, maize is planted on sloping land all the way to the tops of mountains, which in theory should be covered only in forest. Once the maize is harvested, the rains come, washing away the soil. The erosion has led to landslides, with loss of life. The project works to identify areas of potential conflict between climate change and agricultural policies and supports high level policy dialogues to resolve them. It also brings together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss what climate change may mean for the future and the options available to confront it.