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Food security and adaptation impacts of potential climate smart agricultural practices in Zambia








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    Food security and adaptation impacts of potential climate smart agricultural practices in Zambia 2014
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    This paper analyzes how a set of widely promoted agricultural practices, including reduced tillage, crop rotations, legume intercropping as well as the use of modern inputs, affect crop yields and their resilience (i.e. probability of disastrously low yields) in Zambia using panel data from the Rural Incomes and Livelihoods Surveys (RILS). The RILS data are merged with a novel set of climatic variables based on geo-referenced historical rainfall and temperature data to understand whether and how the effects of the practices analyzed here change with climatic conditions. We estimate the impacts on the level of maize yields and the probability of very low yields controlling for time-invariant unobservable household characteristics. We find no significant impact of minimum soil disturbance, positive impact of legume intercropping and a negative impact of crop rotation on maize yields, which is off-set by a significantly positive impact under highly variable rainfall conditions. We also fi nd that the average positive impacts of modern input use are conditioned by climatic variables, whereas that of legume intercropping is robust to shocks. Timely access to fertilizer is the most robust determinant of yields and resilience. This paper provides important insights into the interplay between food security outcomes and climatic variables, and provides policy implications for targeted interventions to improve the productivity and the resilience of smallholder agriculture in Zambia in t he face of climate change.
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    Climate variability, adaptation strategies and food security in Malawi 2014
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    This paper assesses farmers’ incentives and conditioning factors that hinder or promote adaptation strategies and evaluates its impact on crop productivity by utilizing household level data collected in 2011 from nationally representative sample households in Malawi. We distinguish between (i) exposure to climatic disruptions, (ii) bio-physical sensitivity to such disruptions, (iii) household adaptive capacity in terms of farmers’ ability to prepare and adjust to the resulting stress, and, fina lly, (iv) system-level adaptive capacity that serve as enabling factors for household-level adaptation. We employ a multivariate probit (MVP) and instrumental variable technique to model farming practice selection decisions and their yield impact estimates. We find that exposure to delayed onset of rainfall and greater climate variability as represented by the coefficient of variation of rainfall and temperature is positively associated with the choice of risk-reducing agricultural practices suc h as tree planting, legume intercropping, and soil and water conservation (SWC); however, it reduces the use of inputs (such as inorganic fertilizer) whose risk reduction benefits are uncertain. Biophysical sensitivity of plots increases the likelihood of choice of tree planting and SWC. In terms of household adaptive capacity, we find that wealthier households are more likely to adopt both modern and sustainable land management (SLM) inputs; and are more likely to adopt SLM inputs on plots unde r more secure tenure. In terms of system-level adaptive capacity, results show the key role of rural institutions, social capital and supply-side constraints in governing selection decisions for all practices considered, but particularly for tree planting and both organic and inorganic fertilizer. Finally for productivity, we find that on average use of both modern and SLM practices have positive and statistically significant impact on productivity of maize. For SLM practices that also respond t o exposure and sensitivity, these results provide direct evidence of their potential to aide households in adapting to further climate change. Results presented have implications for understanding and overcoming barriers to selection for each practice, distinguishing structural aspects such as exposure and sensitivity from potential interventions at the household or systemic levels linked to adaptive capacity.
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    Cropping systems diversification to enhance productivity and adaptation to climate change in Zambia
    BRINGING TOGETHER EVIDENCE AND POLICY INSIGHTS
    2019
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    Spatial disconnect between cropping system diversification and climate risk. In Zambia, farmers residing in areas with low and medium rainfall risk are more likely to adopt diversified systems than farmers in areas with lower rainfall and greater rainfall variability. Lack of diversification in high risk regions poses a significant threat to livelihood resilience in those regions. Diverse cropping systems improve productivity and resilience. Increased level of diversification is associated to more stable crop income, when compared to maize monocropping. However, farmers facing land fragmentation, weakness of private input and output markets and uncertainty from the public policies are less likely to adopt these systems. Strengthen investment in the private input and output markets. Competitive input and output markets is an important driver of diversification in Zambia. Identifying policy options to improve private market conditions, such as improved predictability of agricultural trade policy and promoting stable macro-economic conditions, can help support Zambia’s diversification objectives. Secure land tenure and land access. Farmers adopting cropping systems of three or more crops hold, on average, 2 hectares of land more than farmers adopting two-crop or monocropping systems in the same areas. Land policies that support farmers’ access to land, now and in the future, is a critical element of crop diversification.

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