Credit: CORAF

CORAF and the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT provide national stakeholders with tools to develop Climate Smart Agriculture projects

From 26 to 28 July 2023, in Abidjan, a regional workshop was organized by CORAF and the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT through the AICCRA project, in collaboration with the FSRP program (Food System Resilience Program). The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of actors of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances (CSA) in the development of CSA projects and the use of tools to assess the climate-smart characteristics of CSA practices and technologies.

Promoting capacity building for CSA stakeholders

The workshop was a unique opportunity to bring together key actors involved in agricultural research in West Africa and Chad. Members of the CSA West Africa Alliance, researchers and technicians representing the NARS, leaders of the West Africa Food System Resilience Programme (FSRP) at the national level, the team of the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT actively participated in this event.

“Our governments are promoting climate-smart agriculture. In this context, it was appropriate to strengthen the capacities of the various actors of implementation of these government policies on what gives climate-smart character to agriculture, a technology, a practice. This workshop aims to strengthen the capacities of a number of agricultural actors so that they can carry out their mission of agricultural transformation,” explained Dr Lamien Niéyidouba, CORAF Program Manager and Component 2 Coordinator of the FSRP.

“At the end of this workshop, these different actors will be able to develop good projects that will be able to respond to the approach of smart agriculture in the face of the climate, but also to know how to identify the technologies and practices that respond to this approach,” he insisted.

Dr Diomandé Kedro, representative of the Director General of the National Center for Agricultural Research of Côte d’Ivoire recalled the threat that climate change poses to our food system. For the CNRA as for the other actors, West Africa must respond to the challenge of climate change through climate-smart agriculture.

“The damage caused by climate events in recent years in the countries of the subregion is enormous. The urgency of the need to take action is well established. Climate change affects the different components of the ecosystem, but also people, crop yields, water availability, soils, etc,” said Dr Alcade Segnon, researcher at the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT and scientific leader of the West Africa cluster of the AICCRA project.

Meeting the challenges of climate-smart agriculture

During three days of exchange and experience sharing, four training modules were discussed in depth. The first module was a reminder of the fundamental concepts of climate change and Climate Smart Agriculture, emphasizing the challenges and need for adaptation. The second module focused on understanding CSA for more resilient agricultural systems.

Participants were able to capitalize on and share their experiences in project development in their respective countries. The vulnerability study was also addressed, providing actors with tools to assess risks and develop appropriate strategies. The third module addressed methods and tools for assessing the climate-smart characteristics of agricultural practices and technologies.

The trainers provided insights into traditional practice assessment methods, while presenting an innovative methodological approach to assess the climate-smart characteristics of an agricultural practice or technology. Finally, the fourth module was devoted to the design and writing techniques of pro-CSA projects, as well as specific considerations in the implementation of these projects.

A fruitful sharing of experiences made it possible to identify ideas for valuing the knowledge acquired, and the importance of conceptualizing bankable CSA projects was highlighted.

Highlighting CSA in West Africa

The trained national and regional actors were urged to apply the knowledge gained to improve their future projects and to be able to integrate the CSA dimensions into ongoing projects. Their role is crucial in the climate-smart transformation of agriculture and food systems in Africa.

CORAF, along with the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT, through the AICCRA project continues to build the capacity of agricultural actors to build a resilient future in the face of climate challenges. The West African region can now count on trained professionals, armed with the knowledge needed to promote smart, sustainable and climate-smart agriculture.