Posted By in AgriProFocus Netherlands
Posted 21 April 2017 at 01:38

Adapting to climate change: Dutch network members exchange

AgriProFocus Share-a-Slice meeting with network members - 20 April 2017

This informal gathering of AgriProFocus members was hosted by Heifer Netherlands and members exchanged experiences about their interventions to deal with the challenges of climate change in food and agriculture.


ScopeInsight’s Maryse Blom started with the statement that ‘professionalism is the key, also for climate smart agriculture’. ScopeInsight has developed several tools to assess the professional quality of agribusinesses (incl SMEs) and trains partners in LMICs to use these effectively. The organization is a business intelligence provider, scoring companies on 8 clearly defined dimensions. As a separate service, they facilitate aligned capacity building that is provided by a group of organisations in the AMEA alliance. This set of services to support capacity building of farmers and SMEs in the agrifood sector is key as a basis to also tackle with climate change. The collaborative partners of ScopeInsight, such as Heifer and the members of AMEA, jointly learn about the most effective interventions.

Soil & More international’s Aart van den Bos explained the involvement of this 10-year old company in climate change solutions in South Africa, Mexico, Egypt and Ethiopia. Soil & More is among the innovators working with carbon credits, and promoting the re-use of natural resources and organic material, amongst others through circular soil and energy solutions.

In Heifer’s integrated approach to agricultural development, in which livestock has a prominent role, the challenges of climate change are on top of the agenda, besides youth employment and value chains development. Livestock is important as it gives good proteins; provides high value products; and provides income all year through; while “manure is the gold product of livestock”. When developing and monitoring projects, Heifer realizes that climate change is a real problem: the availability of water, for example, is declining rapidly over a time span of a few years. Farmers and the organizations supporting them need to find ways to cope with that. Heifer implements a major a climate resilience programme in Tanzania, with partners such as Meta meta, Acacia Water, Aqua for All and others called the Igunga Ecovillage Project. Water retention, recharge, and re-use are part of the focal actions, as well as interventions to transform livelihoods. NRM groups and local government make situation analysis in the area together with the experts, and decide on actions thereafter. Local SMEs are approached when their products/services are needed.

Group discussions: the concept of 'climate resilience'

The AgriProFocus members’ group discussion started exchanging about the concept ‘climate resilience’. It includes the capacity to deal with shocks, e.g. through diversification of crops or diversification of the landscape, tree planting. It also includes access to knowledge about weather forecasts, risks, and options to respond; as well as climate awareness and access to relevant ICT tools. Farm level resilience means that a farming system is strong and takes into account long-term financial solidity, fertility of the soil, etc. Social and financial aspects are part of resilience too, e.g. access to good insurance.

As compared to a few decennia ago, the climate risks have become much more prominent for farmers and the agricultural system as a whole. In fact, climate risks come on top of risks that are already there. As a result of agricultural modernization some of the trends have been reinforced, e.g. while yields increased, e.g. deforestation has been enhanced. In a country such as Ghana it is clearly visible that there is less fallow land, so farmers don’t have opportunity to leave the land fellow for some time to restore fertility.

The meeting continued with an inventory of climate related actions by each of the AgriProFocus members and their partners. These actions can be summarized in 5 clusters:

1. Technical and production-related solutions

2. Access to finance

3. Cross-sector collaboration

4. Learning measuring and sharing

5. Building social capital

We ended with exchanging from what organisations we'd like to learn more and follow-up coffee -dates were planned!

Further reading:

- AgriProFocus pages on Sustainable Agriculture.

- Food & Business Knowledge Platform - Portal pages on Sustainable Agriculture.

- International research programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security: CCAFS programme of CGIAR.