Climate-smart agriculture key for higher productivity

Patrick Kajuma Kagaba

What you need to know:

  • Much needs to be done by the government, as we are seeing many changes in the state of our unfolding climate. Extreme events and long-drawn catastrophes are taking a toll and sapping resilience, while adaptation efforts are failing due to planning gaps and financing woes requiring need to adopt and adapt climate-smart agricultural (CSA) technologies.

The last seven years, 2015 to 2021, were the warmest on record. This means that the world must act urgently to prevent the ever worsening climate impacts and keep temperature increase to below 1.5°C.

Much needs to be done by the government, as we are seeing many changes in the state of our unfolding climate. Extreme events and long-drawn catastrophes are taking a toll and sapping resilience, while adaptation efforts are failing due to planning gaps and financing woes requiring need to adopt and adapt climate-smart agricultural (CSA) technologies.

Climate-smart technologies (CST’s) including practices are critical enablers of climate-informed agricultural practices that enhance food security. The worsening humanitarian crises in 2021 exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic put a growing number of countries at risk of famine. The status of food security in Uganda is such that food prices in markets are skyrocketing.

Well, Uganda has mainly two planting seasons, with the first stretching from the end of February to May across the country, and the second starting in August to September in many parts of the country. However, the current situation spells unusual climatic change issues where seasons have been severely disrupted and this calls now for adaptation of newer approaches like CSTs to enhance resilience and food security. 

CSA is defined as agricultural practices that sustainably increase productivity and system resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CSA has the potential to increase productivity and resilience while reducing the vulnerability of millions of smallholder farmers and can benefit smallholder farmers directly by increasing efficiency of precious inputs such as labour, seeds and fertilisers, increasing food security, plus opportunities for income generation. By protecting the ecosystems and landscapes, CSA practices will help to protect the natural resources for future generations and also help to ensure that climate change adaptation and mitigation are directly incorporated into agricultural development planning and investment strategies.

Hence the perspective of CSA is sustainable agriculture, based upon integrated management of water, land and ecosystems at landscape scale which can be a good ingredient of the Parish Development Model (PDM) that government sees as a magic bullet in her vision 2040 of achieving the middle-income status. The CSA would be an approach to guide the management of agriculture in the era of ever changing climate.

Well-functioning agri-food systems have an important role to play in increasing food security and advancing sustainable development, especially in Uganda. They are vital for achieving a number of the sustainable development goals, including ending hunger, malnutrition, and poverty, and addressing climate change. This is the ideal future we all aspire to have in Uganda.

Thus, PDM should be hinged upon a climate smart agriculture approach through an integrated strategy to support the government’s effort on climate change adaptation (CCA) by strengthening knowledge and capacities of national, district, cultural and government institutions plus communities, improving better access to water for livestock and crops through water for production investments and improving resilience of agriculture production systems through community-based adaptation options.

There is also need to create learning alliances and other spaces whereby networks of farmers and technology providers can be initiated and strengthened. Thus, for PDM to realise good fruits in as far as agriculture is concerned, the government must adapt to the climate smart agricultural technologies to enhance food security.

Mr Patrick Kagaba Kajuma is an MPA scholar at Uganda Management Institute

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