Sharing innovations in climate-smart agriculture
Representatives from Indonesia, Philippines and Viet Nam met to share innovations developed during the Climate-Smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia project
‘Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia’, said Medrilzam, head of the Directorate of Environment at Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning. He was speaking at the final Southeast Asia Regional Workshop of the Climate-Smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-invest) project, held 17 May 2017 in Jakarta. Smart Tree-Invest was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 2014–2017.
However, there were many innovations, he said, such as agroforestry, which could be used to improve smallholding farmers’ resilience to a changing climate while also maintaining environmental quality.
‘The economic needs of smallholders should be addressed while also involving them in conservation efforts’, he said. ‘To this end, the Government of Indonesia is encouraging green-growth plans at local levels to pursue sustainable development’.
ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre has developed one such plan for the province of South Sumatra as part of a separate project that also called for innovations to solve multiple problems.
Smart Tree-Invest in Indonesia worked in the district of Buol in Central Sulawesi Province to introduce agricultural innovations to farmers and local governments that would help address not only the problems facing the severely degraded watershed but also improve poor farmer’s livelihoods.
The innovations, which were warmly welcomed by both farmers and government, included simple, applicable and replicable technologies, such as methods for measuring river sediment and rainfall; community nurseries and farmers’ learning groups; a watershed game for raising awareness of the impact of human activities on watershed functions; and the establishment of a cross-sectoral collaborative working group on watershed management that involved all district agencies.
The best agricultural practices the project introduced were found to have contributed to environmental and economic benefits, encouraged the enactment of better environmental regulations, induced planning based on village needs, proved that women could participate in environmental programs, demonstrated that sustainable agricultural practices resulted in healthier and more productive landscapes, increased the knowledge and skills of farmers and governments’ in participatory watershed and tree management, and increased the knowledge of environmental services’ schemes and co-investment.
To ensure that all these skills and knowledge were not lost after Smart Tree-Invest’s closure, the watershed working group has taken charge of replicating the project’s activities into the future, funded through the district’s own development fund. For reference, Smart Tree-Invest published technical guidelines that will help with replication. Several district regulations are also in the process of development to ensure that the lessons learned are put into action: 1) District Head’s Regulation on the Village Fund will obligate 1% to be used for conservation; 2) District Regulation on Corporate Social Responsibility will obligate the private sector to co-invest in environmental services and conservation; and 3) the District Head plans to enact a regulation on integrated watershed management. Engagement of the private sector, particularly palm-oil companies, and villages in co-investment schemes will be mainstreamed through these regulations and related activities.
In Viet Nam, Smart Tree-Invest worked in the Ho Ho sub-watershed that straddles Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, introducing a range of innovations previously unfamiliar to both farmers and governments, including using research findings to develop environmental co-investment schemes; researching agroforestry and producing new concepts and techniques; compiling local and scientific knowledge that all could share; establishing advisory groups that involved people from different sectors and different levels of government; and, using the PhotoVoice method to document the process.
Best practices introduced to the two provinces included consideration of economic, social, environmental and gender aspects in research and action; demonstrating that agroforestry on sloping land can integrate multiple objectives for livelihoods and the environment; developing improved agricultural options based on local needs and preferences; providing initial investment for developing the improved models that after the stakeholders saw the benefits were adopted; and allocating tasks to specific government agencies to support farmers with technical issues.
IFAD’s Sustainable Rural Development for the Poor (SRDP) project in Ha Thinh has also adopted the homegarden method in its climate-smart agricultural activities. At the time of writing, Smart Tree-Invest is providing continuing technical assistance to SRDP in reviewing smallholders’ proposals to the homegarden scheme. Further collaboration is being negotiated.
The district and provincial governments have established or reinforced a number of regulations to help sustain the knowledge gained through Smart Tree-Invest. The two districts established 1) Decision No. 71/QD-HDND: Expansion of the Coverage of Homegardens policy in Huong Khe District of Ha Thinh; and 2) Decision No. 735/QD-UBND on Funding Support for Pilot Models of Homegardens in Quang Binh. The provinces of Ha Thinh and Quang Binh integrated the homegarden and sloping-land replanting concepts into their strategies for implementing national policies, specifically: 3) Decision No. 819/QD-BNN-KHCN: Program 135 and New Rural development Program, Local Agricultural Restructuring Program; and 4) Decision No. 923/MARD/2017 on Green Agricultural Development.
In the Philippines in Manupali Watershed on the island of Mindanao, Smart Tree-Invest Involved the private sector through public-private partnerships; used PhotoVoice as a research tool, for engaging farmers and for organizing communities; and introduced the term ‘co-investment’ in environmental services, which was new to the area and brought more flexibility for people who wanted to engage.
Best practices and lessons learned included embracing a landscape approach; bringing together multiple stakeholders; building the capacity of farmers to communicate with investors and policy makers by taking their stories outside their farms; recognising the need for champions in the private sector to raise awareness of environmental engagement that went beyond corporate social responsibility programs; identifying the need to communicate environmental rewards’ schemes and co-investment to a wide range of sectors; and revealing unexpected champions, for example, church leaders’ participation in watershed management councils helped give the groups a ‘moral compass’.
To ensure sustainability of the innovations, a local project partner, KIN, will become the fund manager for an upcoming co-investment scheme with farmers from the ALSA farmers’ group. KIN will be supported by the Payments for Environmental Services’ Working Group, who will verify the performance of co-investments twice a year. Several replication strategies are also already in place: 1) business plans are being developed by smallholders on environmental services and livelihoods; 2) policy forums are being planned to follow–up on opportunities; 3) expansion is occurring in other provinces; 4) expediting the message of co-investment through diverse channels, such as social media, artists, religious groups; and 4) institutionalization of the payments for environmental services and co-investment approaches in government activities has occurred through a local government resolution.
Watch videos about Smart Tree-Invest
Impact of Smart Tree-Invest after three years (in Vietnamese)
Smart-Tree Invest commune workshop 2017 (in Vietnamese)
Bermitra dengan Alam: melestarikan Bumi Pogogul (Partnership with Nature: conserving Bumi Pogogul) (In Indonesian with English subtitles)
This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.