The world’s climate is changing fast, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, no matter what measures are now taken. For agriculture, change will also be significant, as temperatures rise, rainfall patterns change and pests and diseases find new ranges posing new risks to food and farming. Until recently, agriculture has tended to be on the sidelines of discussions concerning human-induced climate change, and has generally been seen as the ‘victim’. There is now, however, a growing recognition of agriculture’s contribution to climate change, past and present, and of the means by which farming systems can adapt to cope with the changes, as well as the potential of agriculture to mitigate our climate impact. This recognition has led to the concept of 'climate-smart agriculture’.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines climate-smart agriculture as consisting of three main pillars:
• Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes (food security);
• Adapting and building resilience to climate change (adaptation);
• Reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), where possible.