Climate-smart agriculture, subsidies, and their effectiveness in Africa

A blog by Dr Nicole Nisbett, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Climate Politics. This blog was originally published on the Priestley International Centre for Climate website.

We’ve all seen the increasing frequency and devastating effects of climate change, most recently with the Pakistan floods and Hurricane Ian. Climate shocks are particularly felt in the agricultural sector in the Global South, where warming is increasing the frequency and severity of droughts, floods, heatwaves and cyclones, and causing harvest failures and disruptions to food supplies and the economy. Especially hard hit are those who rely on the land to survive. Currently, our food systems are responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions (milk and ruminant meat account for the majority of these), meaning agriculture and food are part of the problem.

Over the past few months through the Priestley Innovation Fellowship, I have been working with Christian Mann, the Policy Action Lead at Just Rural Transition (JRT) and Bruce Campbell (who is working for JRT and also has the fantastic title of Chief Innovation Strategist at Clim-Eat!). Our aim was to use the literature and in-person workshops to map the current state of agricultural subsidies to farmers throughout Africa, and how these are being future-proofed for the changing climate. We’re launching our findings through a policy brief at the first ever Food Systems Pavilion at COP27.

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