Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices in Zambia: An Economic Analysis at Farm Level
PROCEEDINGS ICAS VII Seventh International Conference on Agricultural Statistics I Rome 24-26 October 2016
10 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2019
Date Written: 2016
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) would enhance the capacity of farming systems to sustainably support food security in the context of climatic changes. CSA practices may constitute an ex-ante adaptation strategy while also generating environmental benefits in the form of climate change mitigation. However, questions arise about the profitability of CSA systems and the possibility of spontaneous adoption at smallholders level. A spatial assessment of benefits and costs of CSA systems as opposed to conventional ones in different agro ecologies in Zambia is proposed here, including opportunity costs of switching from one system to another. Primary data collected through ad hoc household and community surveys have been used. Zambian farmers adopt a wide combination of land management practices, applied to various crops. Isolating the productivity effect of each single practice was complicated by the adoption of various combinations of practices. To assess the extent to which SLM technology packages improve crop productivity and net incomes of Zambian family farms, Minimum Soil Disturbance (MSD) systems was selected as the main distilling factor to compared with „conventional tillage systems for key food and cash crops (maize, groundnuts and cotton). MSD in arid areas of Zambia has shown promising results in terms of land, capital and labor productivity and could represent valid CSA option providing that appropriate choices in terms of labor source (manual versus animal draft power), specific practice (planting basins/potholes versus ripping, legume inclusion in crop rotations and residue retention), crop (maize versus groundnut) and access to fertilizer subsidies are made. SLM technology options can also generate environmental benefits in the form of CC mitigation. To better understand mitigation potential, marginal abatement costs curve have been computed. Results show that negative marginal abatement costs for all MSD options imply synergies between increased farm incomes and climate change mitigation, and represent means of generating “win-win” solutions to address poverty and food insecurity as well as environmental benefit (climate change mitigation). The cost-effectiveness of different land management practices is proposed as synergetic decision criteria allowing policy makers to prioritize support interventions on the basis of the economic efficiency of GHG abatements.
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