Institutional perspectives of climate-smart agriculture

Totin, Edmond; Segnon, Alcade C.; Schut, Marc; Affognon, Hippolyte; Zougmoré, Robert B.; Rosenstock, Todd; Thornton, Philip K.


Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is increasingly seen as a promising approach to feed the growing world population under climate change. The review explored how institutional perspectives are reflected in the CSA literature. In total, 137 publications were analyzed using institutional analysis framework, of which 55.5% make specific reference to institutional dimensions. While the CSA concept encompasses three pillars (productivity, adaptation, and mitigation), the literature has hardly addressed them in an integrated way. The development status of study sites also seems to influence which pillars are promoted. Mitigation was predominantly addressed in high-income countries, while productivity and adaptation were priorities for middle and low-income countries. Interest in institutional aspects has been gradual in the CSA literature. It has largely focused on knowledge infrastructure, market structure, and hard institutional aspects. There has been less attention to understand whether investments in physical infrastructure and actors' interaction, or how historical, political, and social context may influence the uptake of CSA options. Rethinking the approach to promoting CSA technologies by integrating technology packages and institutional enabling factors can provide potential opportunities for effective scaling of CSA options.