Targeting, out-scaling and prioritising climate-smart interventions in agricultural systems: Lessons from applying a generic framework to the livestock sector in sub-Saharan Africa

Notenbaert, An; Pfeifer, Catherine; Silvestri, Silvia; Herrero, Mario


As a result of population growth, urbanization and climate change, agricultural systems around the world face enormous pressure on the use of resources. There is a pressing need for wide-scale innovation leading to development that improves the livelihoods and food security of the world's population while at the same time addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation. A variety of promising climate-smart interventions have been identified. However, what remains is the prioritization of interventions for investment and broad dissemination. The suitability and adoption of interventions depends on a variety of bio-physical and socio-economic factors. Also their impacts, when adopted and out-scaled, are likely to be highly heterogeneous. This heterogeneity expresses itself not only spatially and temporally but also in terms of the stakeholders affected, some might win and some might lose. A mechanism that can facilitate a systematic, holistic assessment of the likely spread and consequential impact of potential interventions is one way of improving the selection and targeting of such options. In this paper we provide climate smart agriculture (CSA) planners and implementers at all levels with a generic framework for evaluating and prioritising potential interventions. This entails an iterative process of mapping out recommendation domains, assessing adoption potential and estimating impacts. Through examples, related to livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa, we demonstrate each of the steps and how they are interlinked. The framework is applicable in many different forms, scales and settings. It has a wide applicability beyond the examples presented and we hope to stimulate readers to integrate the concepts in the planning process for climate-smart agriculture, which invariably involves multi-stakeholder, multi-scale and multi-objective decision-making.