Investing in and supporting small farmers is smart for the climate, says a new study released this week by one of the agricultural bodies of the United Nations.
The study, released Wednesday by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, found that if small farmers were taught to use “climate change adaptation initiatives,” it could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
More specifically, the IFAD taught small farming communities adaptation activities that include improved agronomic practices, afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands.
“These practices help address farmers' immediate needs, like dealing with unpredictable rains, and gradual shifts in crop suitability,” reported the U.N. news center.
These initiatives could also reduced C02 emissions by up to 30 million tons, according to the report.
“What this report shows is that smallholder farmers are a key part of the solution to the climate change challenge,” said IFAD Vice President Michel Mordasini. “With the right investments, smallholders can feed a growing planet while at the same time restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture's carbon footprint.”
The study highlights the benefits of focusing on adaptation technologies and techniques as a means to reduce climate change, rather than mitigation, say agriculture researchers.
“Currently over 90 percent of public and private climate funds go to mitigation, not adaptation. For future food security it would be very helpful if the majority of the world's farmers, who are smallholders, could access those funds,” said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
The IFAD is currently supporting projects in over 40 countries.