Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme

Informal Seminar Meeting shows the importance of upscaling climate proof concepts within the rural agricultural development agenda

Climate change imposes  stress on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, as their low availability and access to capital makes it difficult for them to properly deal with environmental pressure. The large impacts that climate change has and will have in the future pressures us to rethink the way of our investment. IFAD has set up the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) which aims to increase the resilience of small farmers against the impacts of climate change. An informal seminar, which was held at the 17th of September, informed country representatives about the urgency of the programme and the objectives of ASAP.

Biogas installation Mali

ASAP was launched in 2012, with a project in Mozambique currently running, and projects in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Djibouti and Mali to be starting  soon. Another nine projects are in the design process and will be implemented over the next two years.

One of the main objectives of the programme is to get climate finance to smallholders: most climate funds are now directed towards mitigation efforts, and even if they are spent on adaptation, the funding barely reaches small holders in low income countries. Besides, smallholders are very often not taking part in the climate debate. ASAP will make an effort to alter this situation. The second objective is to mainstream climate change awareness across all IFAD’s work. This will be considered successful once climate change is part of our risk and results management and when, for example, our economic analysis includes the costs of climate change. By creating mechanisms for direct finance and the mainstreaming in other investment programmes, ASAP is contributing to increasing smallholders’ resilience to climate risks.
The programme considers how smallholder farmers are affected by climate change in several ways. It aims to support farmers in reducing the losses caused by an increased variable climate, by for example financing early warning systems or creating knowledge about crop variety. But it is also taking advantage of new opportunities. When temperatures rise certain regions which have not been available for agriculture until now, such as high altitude regions, could become accessible for agriculture usage. Thus IFAD will responds to both the negative and positive impacts of climate change. In addition, ASAP, is focused on the upscaling of existing practices and technologies and the supporting of new, innovative approaches. An example of upscaling is agroforestry and watershed management, whereas early warning investments are new innovative approaches which are to be implemented and further explored.

ASAP strengthens  vulnerable links in the value chains as is the case of Bangladesh, where it is financing submersible road infrastructure to withstand  extreme weather events. Climate change affects all stages of  the value chain: from farmer to consumer. Therefore IFAD has created a programme which considers all those aspects in order to protect smallholders against the complex impacts of climate change.

One third of all IFAD's projects will have an ASAP component. They are funded by donor money received from Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden. However, the funding needs are enormous. In many regions a critical number  of smallholders are threatened by the effects of climate change. In order to garner much-needed additional resources, we must demonstrate our effectiveness in reducing climate risks.