The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.

Project completion report Southern Africa CSA

Weather patterns highly influence agricultural activities in southern Africa, and in turn the food security, nutrition and income of rural households. The high vulnerability of the region to climatic change causes recurrent swings between food scarcity and surplus and, food insecurity for up to six million people. The project sought to contribute to increase the resilience of food security, nutrition and income of smallholder households to climate change by facilitating farmers’ access to four mutually-reinforcing climate-smart agricultural solutions. These solutions were identified having taken cognizance of the different but, interconnected challenges that smallholder farmers in southern Africa face:
less and erratic rainfall, drier weather conditions for farming – hence the promotion of drought-tolerant seeds by the projectweakened and poor state of the traditional (face-to-face) extension – hence the project focuses on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled dissemination of information to farmers extensionlimited and vulnerability of farmers’ livelihoods options when severe climate occurs –hence the project sought to expand and diversify livelihood options for farmers through integrated crop livestock farmingabsence or fast degrading traditional communal fallback safety nets for smallholder farmers – hence weather insuranceThe project also recognised that adoption of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices requires a combination of field and policy-level support but the policy context in many countries are not conducive, hence it facilitated policy actions to promote CSA/weather insurance. Working with a consortium of partners including the private sector (telecommunications, seed companies), government agencies (extension departments, climate change and meteorology departments), producer organisations (Zimbabwe Farmers Union, National Association of SmallScale Farmers NASFAM, Southern African Confederation of Agric Unions SACAU), knowledge centres on climate change (weather data companies, universities), the project’s aim was to deliver bundle of CSA solutions to smallholder farmers using ICT-enabled extension mechanism, innovative partnership and facilitated support environment. CTA’s activities in response to climate change has focused on helping to build the resilience of farmers to climate change by scaling an integrated bundle of climate solutions to farmers through a consortium of partners and models of partnership models. Project activities are carried out in two main prongs:
Prong A: Field-based activities to bridge the gap between the potentials of CSA interventions and the actual level of uptake among farmers
The field activities are directed primarily at farmers to promote their access to a bundle of CSA solutions using digital-enabled agricultural extension approaches. The “bundled solutions” approach was adopted to ensure a combination of interventions that provide mutually reinforcing and multiple layers of protection to farmers to strengthen their ability to adapt to climatic variations. The bundled CSA solutions are:
Stress-Tolerant Germplasms: Improve farmers’ access to drought-tolerant seeds to reduce risks under a changing climate. These germplasms are genetically improved varieties that can withstand diverse climate stress conditions such as heat or drought. These varieties enable farmers to continue to produce food (crops and livestock) even in climatically stressed situationsICT-Enabled Climate Information Services and Advisory Services: provide weather information forecast and agricultural advisory services to farmers to help them make informed decision about their farmer operations to ensure improved income and profitDiversified Livelihood Options: promote diversification of farming options to reduce farmers’ reliance on a single commodity, by helping them to spread their livelihood risks to a second commodity which can be another crop or livestockWeather-based Index Insurance: working with private sector to design farm insurance products to protect farmers against shocks emanating from adverse weather patterns and conditions in a given farming seasonProng B: Multistakeholder engagement in policy processes to facilitate adoption of CSA at national/regional levels
These are activities focus on the following:
action plans to facilitate conducive policy environment for the accelerated uptake of CSA solutionsidentifying opportunities from existing policy frameworks for investment that support climate actions in agricultureThe project began in September 2017 and ended in May 2020 with a target to reach 140,000 smallholder beneficiary farmers primarily in three project countries – Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.