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Leveraging social protection to advance climate-smart agriculture: evidence from Malawi












Ignaciuk, A., Scognamillo, A. & Sitko, N. 2021. Leveraging social protection to advance climate-smart agriculture: evidence from Malawi. FAO Agricultural Development Economics Working Paper 21-04. Rome, FAO




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    Book (series)
    Leveraging social protection programmes to advance climate-smart agriculture in Malawi
    FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief No. 21
    2020
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    This brief details the three functional elements of climate vulnerability: risk exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, in order to assess the interactions between participation in Malawi’s largest public works programme, the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) and three widely promoted climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices. Using three waves of national panel household survey data, we find that participation in MASAF significantly increases the likelihood that farm households adopt CSA practices. This suggests that MASAF participation improves farmers’ adaptive capacity by reducing direct and indirect constraints to adopting climate adaptive farm practices. Moreover, we empirically demonstrate that the joint treatment effect of MASAF participation in combination with the adoption of CSA practices generates greater and more consistent positive impacts on farm welfare than the standalone impacts of the treatments. This is indicative of synergies between social protection and agricultural interventions. Finally, we show that under extreme dry conditions the short term standalone adoption of CSA practices does not generate positive impacts on farm and household outcomes. However, when combined with MASAF participation, and particularly when the CSA practice is adopted for multiple years, evidence of positive impacts is found. These findings provide empirical evidence on the importance of multi-sectoral approaches that link agricultural interventions with social protection to address the climate vulnerability of resource poor farmers.
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    Book (series)
    Assessing the profitability and feasibility of climate-smart agriculture investment in Southern Malawi
    Understanding the costs and benefits in a volatile and changing climate
    2021
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    This working paper analyses the financial cost and benefit of adopting two different bundles of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices, which are tailored for the diverse conditions that prevail in southern Malawi. The results show the integration of CSA practices, including soil conservation, agroforestry, and livestock diversification, into conventional maize-legume and maize monocrop systems is profitable for farmers. Moreover, the profitability of these systems increases under extreme weather conditions that occur with increasing frequency in the region. However, the upfront costs and cost variability associated with the adoption of these CSA scenarios is high relative to conventional practices. In addition, while the Net Present Value is positive for the CSA scenarios, the monetary returns are small and are spread over a long investment period. These factors act as significant barriers to adopting CSA practices. Supporting farmers through climate financing or other mechanisms to make long-term private investment in CSA, based on the public benefits these investments generate for the environment, is critical for achieving widespread adoption.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Leveraging COVID-19 recovery strategies to build climate-smart agrifood systems in developing countries 2022
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    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the stability of agrifood systems and the welfare of the rural households that are actively engaged in the different components of these systems, particularly in developing countries. Efforts are underway to redress the negative impacts of the pandemic through investments to ‘build back better’. These efforts represent an enormous opportunity to make significant and lasting contribution to the longer-term resilience and sustainability of agrifood systems in the context of climate change. The objective of this report is to provide an overview of the current opportunities for harnessing short-term response and recovery efforts to address longer-term impacts on resilience and sustainability. The analysis focuses on the role of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in recovery strategies and outlines concrete policy objectives that can be implemented by national governments and their development partners. The report is structured in two parts. The first part outlines the nature of the challenges presented by climate change and COVID-19, their interrelationships, and the potential role CSA can play in addressing these interrelated challenges. The second part of the report outlines a set of policy options for enabling post-pandemic recovery efforts to contribute to longer-term resilience of agrifood systems through investments in CSA and associated enabling conditions.

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