OL 333 Assignment Six Discussion
Climate Smart Agriculture

Assignment 6. Selecting the most appropriate climate smart agricultural techniques from the previous three assignments and presenting the project design to the Farmer’s association.

This will be an exciting, short, simple assignment. Exciting, because we’re going to close the loop with our original project outline. Our original project outline probably said something like “farmer workshop on water conservation and management techniques”. But we never had the techniques—now we do!

Over the past three assignments we’ve investigated any number of techniques for solving the climate related, agricultural challenges that our farmers face. At the end of each assignment we then selected and prioritized techniques which were most appropriate for the project and for our community of farmers.

In this assignment are going to insert those techniques into our original project outline. So where it says “…. and management techniques” we can now list the techniques under that main activity as if they were sub-activities. So now we have highly specific things to hold our workshops on, and through the research that we did in these last three assignments we also have documents, handbooks and manuals to use in developing the workshops—or perhaps even for handing out to the workshop attendees.

As always, in a community-based development project, we need to share the newly expanded project outline with members of the Farmer’s Association for feedback, to make sure that they are in agreement with the newly expanded outline, and to continue maintaining their ownership of the project. So we’re going to arrange a very short meeting with just a few representative members. We can also find out from them during this meeting which workshop they think we should do first? Armed with that information, over the next two weeks we can begin developing a workshop.

This week’s resource is a miraculous study done by the FAO on the very techniques that we have been researching. They have been able to discover which of the techniques work best and under what situations. So for example, some of the techniques work best in a dry climate, other techniques work best in a wetter climate. You can compare the techniques that you prioritized against the results which they have discovered. You might elect not to choose one of your techniques because you’re located in a wetter area and it seems to work best in a dry area—but you could replace it with one that’s more appropriate for your location.

This Week’s Resource:
I just discovered a wonderful resource that can be linked to in “Links to Climate Smart Ag 333.”

The FAO recently published: Climate Smart Agriculture: a Synthesis of Empirical Evidence of Food Security and Mitigation Benefits from Improved Crop Land Management.

This document looks at 171 scientific studies that analyze the impact of utilizing the types of techniques that we’ve been studying in this course. The study looks at production increases at the farm level, profit increase at the farm level, food security potential, and mitigation potential. The papers which they studied from all over the world show that these techniques that are studying can increase productivity from between 45% to over 200%, and can increase average farm income from 40% to 161%. They also show that some of the techniques are more appropriate for dry regions and other techniques are more appropriate for moist regions. These techniques can also increase food security by between 55% and 164%, and make a significant increase in the amount of carbon sequestered in soil.

Good luck—I look forward to hearing about your project—please move on to Assignment Six.

Tim Magee