On climate-smart agriculture practices  

Nashir Uddin   | Published: April 16, 2018 22:37:20 | Updated: April 17, 2018 21:17:45


The losses caused by last year's flood in haor areas notwithstanding, Bangladesh has been doing well for years in production of agricultural commodities, including rice output in particular. Still, Bangladesh's food system in general is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The country was ranked 131st out of 188 countries in the vulnerability index. On readiness front in response to climate change, Bangladesh was ranked 167th. As for the country's green house emission, agriculture accounts for 39 per cent.

This raises a question whether Bangladesh's agriculture is sustainable. Against this backdrop, the launching of the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) scheme last Wednesday is apparently a confidence-building initiative.  Supported by the World Bank (WB), it is aimed at offsetting the climate change threats in the agriculture sector and resulting in greater productivity, enhanced resilience and low emission. In the region, the CSA is already in practice in Bhutan, Pakistan and Nepal.

With climate change and agriculture being better understood by scientific community in recent years, international and national public policy efforts to support agricultural adaptation and mitigation have intensified. Support for bringing agriculture more centrally under climate change negotiations has been steadily strengthening since Copenhagen's 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15). Following this, research and policy links between climate change and agriculture have advanced and the CSA has emerged as a framework to capture the concept that agricultural systems can be developed and implemented to simultaneously improve food security and rural livelihoods, facilitate climate change adaptation and provide mitigation benefits.

Since it emerged in 2010, the CSA concept has been adopted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the WB. FAO emphasises 'adopting an ecosystem approach, working at landscape scale and ensuring intersectoral coordination and cooperation' while the WB stresses 'integrated planning of land, agriculture, fisheries, and water at multiple scales (local, watershed, regional)'.

According to a study published in Science Advances, climate change would hit South Asia. Impacts will be particularly intense in the food and agriculture sector. It is, hence, reassuring that the WB is using the lens of CSA practices in a bid to address various challenges, being faced by Bangladesh's farming sector, in an integrated manner.

nashir@gmail.com

 

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