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Participatory policy-making and implementation in climate-resilient farming

September 16, 2016

The policy space in climate-resilient agricultural solutions is an open space.  It is also a contested space, one in which, partners should creatively and systematically work together to achieve the shared vision.

Scenarios in achieving a shared vision

It is one thing to decide on the vision of what cereal and livestock farming should be in 1, 5, 10, and 15 years time. And another thing to set and agree on the steps to take in order to achieve the vision of climate-resilience. To decide on the series of actions needed to come up with a step, is yet another challenge. In the three scenarios presented, it becomes critical for actors in policy making and implementation to be clear on the decisions that they wish to see in place, the approach they will take, and the action plans they will be committed to.

Farmers, as observed by some of the participants at the on-going CTA and SACAU's joint Regional Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, have insights and lessons which all other policy actors can take cues from. What farmers do, don't do, and even plan to do, have the potential to positively impact on policy.

The policy-making arena

Policy-making is traditionally known as what governments can do and cannot do. It is an interface between the government and the governed. The policy-making and implementation space is also an area where partners, such as CTA with a track record in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, bring new insights such as the systems approach into the policy discussions with farmers, who are recognised as key actors. CTA and its partners' four proven solutions add to the policy space. It is a frontier in which, among many things, a systems approach to building climate resilience and co-implementation emerge central to the success of the emergent solutions.

As such, cereal and livestock farmers in Southern Africa are called to make use of the policy arena to share their experiences, lessons learned, and failures encountered along the way. To be an active policy actor does not necessarily mean drafting new regulations and legislations, though that is important. It means recognising that even as farmers, their decisions at farm level are pivotal in building resilience to climate change. They are decisions with far-wide consequences, and even authorities' work is informed by some of their decisions and actions, at household level.

Everything evolves around policy

It could be argued that to build and implement policies, take part in policy discussions and to share as well as test out new ideas is an act of policy. As the regional meeting continues to interrogate the four solutions, multiple viewpoints from all actors in the policy space would enrich the action plans. The injection of constructive ideas will assist the farmers to produce more, solve problems that arise, and take preparatory measures, in case the environment surrounding the policy space changes.

Creative minds and committed actors will remain important in building climate-resilient farming. As we look ahead to the successful implementation of the Southern Africa Flagship Project, the actors' shared values and principle will ensure that farmers' experiences, needs, and concerns directly feed into policy making and implementation.

Blog post by Raymond Erick Zvavanyange, Social Reporter for the Regional planning meeting on 'Scaling-Up Climate-Smart Agricultural Solutions for Cereals and Livestock Farmers in Southern Africa'.

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Read more

Publication: 'Climate Solutions that Work for Farmers' (CTA, 2016)

Article: 'Building climate-resilient cereal and livestock farming in southern Africa'

Blog post: 'Strengthening partnerships to leverage existing ICT enabled climate information services'

Blog post: 'Climate information through ICTs'

Blog post: 'The Road to climate-resilient cereal and livestock farming

Blog post: 'Knowledge management to support ICT-enabled climate information services'

Watch the video interviews carried out during the meeting