Climate Smart Agriculture is “Agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (to climate change), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals”, FAO, 2010.
This agriculture approach is being widely regarded as a long term solution to the climate change problem as it solves the main problems which lead to the problem.
Different institutions governmental and non-governmental are conducting initiatives to teach farmers to start using the approach by implementing a combination of different best agriculture practices in their farms.
Among the Climate Smart Agriculture practices implemented by the farmers are Minimum Tillage, Agroforestry, Erosion Control-Water retention ditches (structures), Mulching, Irrigation, Intercropping, Fertilizers application with right amount at right time. The fertilizers must be used in a such a way that organic manure is in large amount and proportion than inorganic fertilizer.
In Rwanda, in the southern province through the Forest Landscape Restoration project in the Amayaga Region, under the component of Community Capacity Building in the Areas of Livelihoods and Agroforestry implemented by APEFA in a financial Agreement with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), CSA in being implemented as “Farmer Skills in Climate Smart Agriculture Enhancement” output.
Farmers formed 40 Farmers Field School groups across 20 sectors of the project intervention districts (Kamonyi, Ruhango, Nyanza and Gisagara), and during 6 months they tested the approach. In a field evaluation tour conducted by REMA, authorities of the four districts and APEFA, farmers testified that were very excited and praised the new technics of growing crops without disturbing the soil, crops were mulched, the reduction the of work they were doing in agriculture and the fact that they expected to produce more than what they used to harvest.
The beneficiaries highlighted the importance of practicing the Climate Smart Agriculture in their daily agricultural practices.
Damascene Gashagaza, a member of the Abakundamurimo FFS Group, said that they are optimistic to have more production due to the use of Climate Smart Agriculture.
“We used to farm normally, planting corn as usual, but after receiving training from the Project of Green Amayaga, on Climate Smart agriculture, we saw a change because, it reduces work and the amount of use money, we can’t forget the fertilizer even the plant grows faster. Normally, at Ares 55, the production used to be 1.5 tons, but we hope that our production will be 3 tons.”
He added: “We are going to mobilise our neighbors and show them the benefits of using Climate Smart Agriculture, because it is productive.”
On the Other hand, Emmanuel Ngiruwonsanga, a member of Abaharanira Impinduka, also confirms: “Climate Smart Agriculture reduces the money we used to spend on farming, prevents erosion, doesn’t harm our plants because they grow well compared the conventional agriculture. It reduces the energy we used, that is the productivity we calculate in money, where we used to farm in up to eight days, now we use no more than, we used to harvest 1,800 T, last time but now we expect 3 tons.”
Eight hundred (800) farmers are being facilitated to use Climate Smart Agriculture in their daily agricultural practices as a way of mitigating adverse climate change impacts, soil protection and agriculture production increase. It is expected that these farmers will spread the skills acquired to their fellow farmers to change the climate damaging agriculture to a more sustainable and conserving one, climate smart agriculture, CSA.
The farmers are recommended to copy the CSA practices in their farms, to plant agroforestry trees, make and maintain trenches for water retention, to make sure all records are taken trying how they can find the way to conserve water for irrigation for water management.
Besides, the authority and stakeholders are recommended to sensitive other farmers to adopt the CSA since it will help fix the problem of soil erosion, enrichment of the soil, increase production while sustaining the climate through reduction of Green House Gases emitted into atmosphere.