Meeting the SDGs with climate-smart agriculture

fodder shrubs kenya

Kenyan farmer feeds his cow fodder shrubs. Photo: Kate Langford

“No goal is more complicated than the goal of sustainable development,” writes Bruce Campbell, director of the CGAIR research programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in an article on the website of the World Economic Forum.

At a UN summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders are expected to endorse 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have 169 related targets. Campbell asks “How do we traverse and embrace this complexity but also identify practical interventions and approaches that ensure sustainable development?”

He highlights how climate-smart agriculture will not only help to achieve SDG3, which centres on ending hunger through sustainable agriculture, but also address many of the other goals, including ending poverty (SDG1), ensuring availability and sustainable management of water (SDG6), promoting inclusive and sustainable growth (SDG8), and taking action to combat climate change (SDG13).

“If we enable rural farmers to innovate and use climate-smart practices, it’s not only hunger and poverty that will decline. Economic growth increases. Jobs are created. And climate change’s grip on our food supply will loosen.”

The article includes examples from 4 countries where climate-smart agriculture is being embraced. Among these is Kenya, where the World Agroforestry Centre is helping farming households to produce more milk with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, through the use of protein-rich fodder trees.

Milk production can increase by as much as nine times when cows are fed fodder trees. If this practice was scaled up to reach 1.8 million households (as the Kenyan government hopes) then this would decrease the country’s emissions by 3.3% of its 2010 emissions, while sustaining 180,000 jobs in the sector and improving smallholder incomes by $1,000-$2,000 a year. The project contributes to SDGs on hunger and nutrition, proverty reduction, climate change, economic growth, and empowering women and girls.

Campbell concludes the article by urging countries and investors to recognize the power of financing agricultural research and development that will contribute to many more SDGs than reducing hunger.

Read the full story: 4 ways countries are successfully fighting hunger

See also: Scaling up climate-smart dairy practices in Kenya through Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions

Download the publication: The Impact of Fodder Shrubs on Milk Production and Income among Smallholder Dairy Farmers in East Africa and the Role of Research Undertaken by the World Agroforestry Centre.'

Kate Langford

Kate Langford is a consultant writer with close to 20 years’ experience in communicating natural resource, environmental and land management issues for various government and non-government organizations. She previously worked as Communications Specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and has worked in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

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