Smallholder farmers make up a significant percentage of global land users but they are a challenging group to reach, and they often lack access to investments, knowledge and information. The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) channels climate finance to smallholder farmers so they can access the tools and technologies that help build their resilience to climate change. Launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), ASAP is the world’s largest climate change adaptation programme for smallholder farmers, reaching millions of smallholders worldwide.
- World’s largest climate change adaptation programme with a specific focus on smallholder farmers;
- More than USD 300 million channeled to at least eight million smallholder farmers to build their resilience to climate-related disasters;
- Smallholder farmers provide nearly 80 per cent of the food in many parts of the developing world.
In the past, smallholder farmers could count on the seasons and traditional knowledge when it came to predicting the weather. Climate change has made that much harder. Seasons, floods, and storms no longer come when expected. Water stress, soil erosion, and infestations all contribute to making small farmers more vulnerable than ever before.
Climate change‐related hazards are hitting smallholder farmers especially hard, but international climate finance is not benefitting them nearly enough. Losses and damages from extreme weather events keep increasing, as the patterns of droughts, floods and tropical storms are becoming more unpredictable.
In parallel, rural livelihoods are undermined by the creeping effects of erosion, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. Faced with climate change as a threat multiplier, development organizations need to devise new financial and programming instruments to address these emerging problems.
ASAP is reversing this trend. Small farmers now know of upcoming storms and droughts in advance. They now grow crops more resistant to climate change and protect their villages better from floods and landslides.
ASAP channels climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers so that they become more resilient to climate change. The programme aims to improve the capacity of at least eight million smallholder farmers.
ASAP empowers community-based organizations to make use of new climate risk management skills, information and technologies and combine them with tried and tested approaches to sustainable land and water management. For example, improved weather station networks are providing farmers with more reliable seasonal forecasts while mapping technologies are helping farmers to better understand and monitor landscape use in a changing environment.
Putting a price tag on climate change impacts is informing more robust policy decisions, while access to drought-resilient crop varieties and innovative land management practices is empowering agricultural workers to manage risk and uncertainty.
ASAP is having many benefits for smallholder famers. For example, mixed crop and livestock systems, which use drought‐tolerant crops and manure, help increase agricultural productivity. Systems of crop rotation, which consider both food and fodder crops, reduce exposure to climate threats while also improving family nutrition. A combination of agroforestry systems and communal ponds, which improve the quality of soils, increase the availability of water during dry periods, and provide additional income.
IFAD also facilitated cooperation between Kenyan engineers and the Indian Institute of Technology, which has provided a platform for scaling up the system internationally. Through ASAP, IFAD is driving a major scaling-up of successful “multiple-benefit” approaches to increase agricultural output while simultaneously reducing vulnerability to climate-related risks and diversifying livelihoods.
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