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March 16, 2015

Pushing climate smart agriculture

Climate smart agriculture will be one of the key solutions for sustainable food production. Tanzania serves as a great example of how it can be done.
Man in citrus farm
Man in citrus farm

“I believe 2015 and 2016 will be the years where we move from building a global movement to action on the ground. And the key words are climate smart agriculture, an area where Yara has products and knowledge ”, says Sean de Cleene, Vice President Global Initiatives, Strategy and Business Development in Yara.

On 9-10 March he was one of the speakers at the Global Climate-Smart Agriculture Summit, a part of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) in Abu Dhabi. This is an event that seeks to bring together partners working for sustainable agriculture, and delegates from more than 100 countries participated.

Tanzania as a role model

At the summit Sean de Cleene spoke about how we can learn from Tanzania and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) on how to add efforts for green growth to the already existing work being done to create economic growth.

SAGCOT is a public-private partnership aimed at increasing agribusiness investments that benefit the region’s small-scale farmers, and in so doing, improve food security, reduce rural poverty and ensure environmental sustainability. Yara was one of the founding partners back in 2010, with amongst others the Tanzanian government.

“Tanzania has managed to build a green growth strategy on top of the corridor growth strategy”, says Sean de Cleene.

Global alliance – local initiatives

At the UN Climate Summit in September 2014 the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture was launched. Yara International has been a partner of the alliance since the beginning, and co-hosted a session on climate smart agriculture at the World Economic Forum in January, together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FAO, World Bank, CGIAR, the US Department of State, UK’s DFID and NEPAD.

Within the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture Tanzania is co-chairing, with the British government, the investment action group.

“This is aimed at generating investments linked to food security, climate change and agriculture. I think Tanzania serves as a great example of what can be done at the country level. This is the way we are heading: towards country-led, very specific initiatives”, explains Sean de Cleene.

Sustainable intensification

Another public-private partnership doing on-the-ground-testing in Tanzania, is ECCAg -Environment and Climate Compatible Agriculture. This is a project Yara is engaged in with Syngenta, Sokoine University of Agriculture and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

A framework has been developed to measure the environmental impact of crop production, to promote sustainable intensification. Test results show on average doubling of maize yields and increased farmer profitability of 50-75 percent. This kind of sustainable intensification reduces the need for deforestation, thereby avoiding GHG-emissions.