Myths and Reality of Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) as advocated by Food and Agriculture Organization is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate. CSA aims to increase agricultural productivity and income; build resilience to climate change; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CSA is one of the 11 Corporate Areas for Resource Mobilization under the FAO’s Strategic Objectives. According to World Bank, Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries–that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change. Therefore, it is clear that CSA is focused on dealing with climate crisis and it talks about the application of new technologies to adopt with it. Another interesting thing is that World Bank is advocating the issue and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are the leaders of bringing new technologies.

What is Climate Crisis and how is it impacting Rural Peasants?

Climate crisis is a result of the greed of capitalist and imperialist governments, their corporations, haphazard industrial and business activities plundering the world’s resources and amass more wealth. We have realized that the capitalism is destroying the natural resources and polluting the environment resulting climate crisis. The result of the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to the global warming has already resulted in melting of the polar ice caps, rise in sea level, depletion of ozone layer, loss of different species and there is serious impact on livelihood of people. Climatic crisis at present scenario is major form of environment crisis which is not only threatening the livelihood of millions of poor farmers around the world but also the existence of many creators in this planet. Therefore, without stopping the greed of capitalism and changing the system, it is not possible to combat with climate crisis. Unfortunately, those who are responsible for the climate crisis are not the sufferers. The poor people living in rural and coastal areas mostly of least developed countries are hard hit.  Now the issue of further Investment in agriculture, involvement of World Bank and MNCs has proved that it is not towards the solution, but the continuation of capitalist greed and new plan of exploitation to make profits.

Myths and Reality

Reality is that, at present, it is not big farm or national and multinational companies who produce most of the world’s food. It is the peasants, small and marginal farmer, who in harmony with nature, using diverse seeds and breeds, produces more than 70% of the world’s food. For those peasants, source of income and employment and livelihood is agriculture. That is one reason why capitalism is always trying to displace those people and production, as they see a huge prospect of profit in the area not only for mono-cropping, selling agri-inputs but also create labor reserve and displace them to be able to grab their resources. Realizing that the environmental and climate crisis is hitting hard to those rural peasants, they are now offering false solutions to wipe out rural peasantry and agriculture. Bourgeoisie even influences policy makers, agriculturist and technocrats to talk about GMOs and new varieties which they claim adoptive to climate change. They not only advocate Chemicals, mono-cropping, industrialization and commercialization of agriculture, but also talk about bio-fertilizer, bio-pest and high tech farming.

It is clear, we cann’t expect anything from those who are responsible for the crisis. These institutions which are advocating the issue most are the tools of neo-colonialism and imperialism which has only objective of profit at any cost. Therefore, what is likely to happen in CSA is that MNCs such as Monosanto producing organic compost, bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticides and selling to grow organic food. They will be talking about climate resilient new varieties of Genetically Modified Seeds and Breeds which already have devastating impacts on health of people and genetic diversity.

MNCs and Agribusiness could not understand the worth of rural agriculture in harmony with nature and using vast biodiversity and what they know is how to grab the resource, displace those communities and sells agri-inputs. Since the idea and the approach is not farmers driven it is obvious that the agribusiness corporations promoting synthetic fertilizers, industrial meat production, and large scale industrial agriculture who are widely recognized as contributing to climate change and undermining the resilience of natural farming systems are those who label themselves as climate smart. Very soon they may say that, rural agriculture and small peasantry is not climate smart. Small farmers mostly are monsoon dependent and they don’t have either technology or knowledge nor seeds and breeds for climate resilience. Therefore, they may say that small peasants agriculture should be replaced by mono-cropping, big farm and MNCs.

Solution

We know that best thing that can be done to help the peasants to deal with climate crisis is to promote agro-ecology and empower rural peasants. Solution of climate change is to change the system and stop the consumerism of bourgeoisie. La Via campesina, the largest peasants global platform and along with International Forum for Agro-ecology put forwarded agro-ecology as the solution and resilience to climate change, which both cools the planet and feeds the world. CSA is criticized by all section of civil society organisations worldwide with the slogan “Don‟t be fooled! We say no to climate smart agriculture, and yes to agro-ecology”. GMOs, Agrocarburants/Agrofuels, REDD+, and the last one, Climate-Smart Agriculture, all are false solutions. The solutions for climate change should be holistic and should address the root cause of the problem and not its symptoms. Agro-ecology is such locally practiced, eco-friendly and pro-peasants approach to deal immediately with the changing climate where as for the long run, let’s not talk about climate change, let’s talk about system change. – Pramesh Pokharel