CSIR - Crops Research Institute Calls for Enhanced Policy Clarity and Investment in Agroecology and Climate Action

CSIR - Crops Research Institute Calls for Enhanced Policy Clarity and Investment in Agroecology and Climate Action

The Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI) has called for urgent action to improve policy clarity on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), as well as to strengthen media capacity, Institutional Research capabilities, demonstration farms, and global investment in agroecology and climate action.

The appeal was made by the project leader, and a Research Scientist of CRI, Dr. Kwaku Onwona-Hwesofour Asante, following a successful launch of the Agroecology and Circular Economy for Ecosystem Services (ACE4ES) project, an initiative aimed at revolutionizing agricultural practices in Africa to combat climate change and ensure food sustainability.

The project which was funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), underscores the urgent need for coordinated efforts to reduce SLCP emissions from agricultural practices, particularly maize and rice production.


Call for Policy Clarity and Integration

Dr. Asante highlighted the critical need for clearer more comprehensive, and coherent policies on SLCPs within country-level NDCs and NAPs. “Effective climate action requires robust policies that specifically address SLCPs, which are major contributors to climate change. Clear policy directives at both national and regional levels are essential for guiding sustainable agricultural practices and achieving significant emission reductions,” he emphasized.

Enhancing Media Capacity for Education and Sensitization

The CSIR-CRI also stressed the importance of improving media capacity to conduct regular education and sensitization programs. Prof. Paul B. Bosu, Director General of CSIR, stated that both agroecology and circular economy are game changers and that the media would play a crucial role in raising awareness and educating the public on the benefits of agroecology and the need for climate action. “We need to empower media professionals with the knowledge and resources to deliver impactful and accurate educational content consistently.” He added.

Boosting Institutional Research Capacity

Dr. Asante revealed that to support the transition to sustainable agricultural systems, there is a pressing need to enhance Institutional capacity in research focused on agroecological systems. “Investing in research is fundamental to developing innovative solutions and practices that can be widely adopted. Strengthening our research Institutions will enable us to better understand and optimize agroecological practices,” He stated.


Expanding Demonstration Farms for Mass Adoption

Dr. Asante disclosed that one of the key components of the ACE4ES project is the establishment of demonstration farms. These farms according to him will serve as practical examples of successful agroecological practices.

Dr. Asante called for increased investment in demonstration farms to facilitate mass adoption. “Demonstration farms are vital for showing farmers the tangible benefits of new practices. Scaling up these farms will accelerate the adoption of sustainable techniques across the continent,” he added.

Technologies to be Validated by the ACE4ES Project

The ACE4ES project includes a comprehensive validation protocol to assess the effectiveness of various agroecology and circular economy technologies in mitigating SLCPs. Key technologies being validated include alternative wetting and drying (AWD) for rice, biomass composting, biochar application, drought-tolerant rice varieties, no-tillage and limited tillage practices, integrated soil fertility management, livestock biomass management, symbiotic ecosystems (such as rice-fish and rice-duck systems), site-specific nitrogen fertilizer application, and crop-livestock systems.

These technologies are being tested for their potential to reduce emissions of methane, black carbon, and nitrous oxide while improving soil health, crop resilience, and overall agricultural productivity.

Key Data on SLCPs

Short-lived climate Pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon from agriculture burning; methane and nitrous oxide from poor rice fields and soil fertility management among others. These pollutants not only exacerbate climate change but also pose direct threats to public health, agriculture, and ecosystem services.

From key global targets, black carbon emissions can be reduced by 70% globally by 2030, methane emissions by 40%, and HFCs by 99.5% by 2050 if stakeholders commit to action. Implementing control measures identified by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), and National and Regional Scientific Organizations could achieve up to 90% of these reductions using existing cost-effective technologies.

Rapid deployment of these measures could lower global warming by up to 0.6°C in the next few decades, prevent 2.4 million premature deaths annually by 2030, and avert 52 million tonnes of crop losses each year. In agriculture, effective SLCP mitigation strategies include improved management of rice paddies, animal health, and husbandry, and eliminating open burning practices.

Appeal for Global Investment in Agroecology and Climate Action

CSIR-CRI is therefore calling for increased global investment in agroecology and climate action. “The fight against climate change and the quest for food security require significant financial commitment. We call on international donors, governments, and private sector partners to invest in agroecology and climate initiatives. Such investments are crucial for building resilient, sustainable food systems,” Dr. Asante urged.

The ACE4ES project, with its comprehensive approach and strong stakeholder collaboration, is poised to make a lasting impact on African agriculture. However, achieving the broader goals of sustainable development and climate resilience will require concerted efforts and investments in all aspects of the project.

About CSIR-Crops Research Institute

The CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) is a leading research Institution dedicated to improving crop production and sustainable agricultural practices in Ghana and beyond. The Institute focuses on developing and disseminating innovative solutions to address the challenges of food security, climate change, and agricultural sustainability.

Source: www.gardjagh.org

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