Climate smart agriculture to improve livelihoods and conserve forest in the Congo Basin

Background

The Congo Basin has been identified as a region that is extremely vulnerable to climate change – not so much because of the changes in climate itself, but much more because of the socioeconomic vulnerability of the population that lives in great poverty with low adaptive capacity. In general, it is predicted that extreme weather events will occur more frequently, primarily more hot days and nights, dry spells during the rainy season and increased rainfall intensity. Hence, the already low food security of the population will be further decreased due to erosion, increased pest pressure on crops and livestock and crop failure due to floods, heavy rains and dry spells. The latter, together with increased population density, will lead to increased pressure on the Congo Basin rainforest, the last carbon and diversity hotspot in Africa, which mitigates climate change. In other regions of the world, agricultural intensification, unfortunately, has mostly gone hand in hand with deforestation.

Objective

To i) determine multiple ecosystems services across primary forest, fallow and agricultural ecosystems; ii) co-develop, implement and evaluate community-supported agricultural practices in cassava-based ecosystems; iii) assess land requirements, forest savings and greenhouse gas balances under different community-supported agriculture scenarios; and 4) inform policy.

Expected benefits

In partner countries: The project may improve smallholder livelihoods by increased adoption of community-supported agriculture in a supportive local and regional governance and policy context. The project design will also ensure that all segments (i.e. young and old, male and female) of the communities will benefit from the activities. In the long-term, the communities will benefit from multiple ecosystems linked to forest conservation.

In Switzerland: Food security and forest conservation in sub-Saharan Africa are important for political and economic stability in both Africa and Europe, both continents being intricately linked on political, geographical, climate and historic levels.

Contact information

Johan Six, jsix@ethz.ch, phone: +41 44 632 84 83

Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zürich (http://www.sae.ethz.ch/)

Climate smart agriculture
Climate smart agriculture

Partner countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon

Cost: CHF 6 Mio

Duration: 6 years