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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: Preferences and trade-offs in climate smart agriculture

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change, urbanization, population growth and increasing agricultural demands have led to many ecosystems being converted or degraded.

Related research groups

Global Environmental Change and Earth Observation

Poverty and malnutrition rates are high, especially in rural areas, increasing people’s vulnerability to climatic variation, as farmers in this video tell. Climate smart agriculture is being hailed as an approach to increase farmers’ livelihoods and resilience; but does it really contribute to multidimensional poverty alleviation?

The project developed a set of trade-off analyses to assess the contribution of climate smart agriculture (CSA) to more sustainable development pathways in Malawi. At district level, a scenario analysis assessed the potential impacts of scaling up climate smart agriculture on social, economic and environmental objectives. It demonstrated that these land use decisions often involve complex trade-offs and were unlikely to benefit the most vulnerable stakeholders unless enabling and supporting action would be undertaken.

At household level, by using individual and deliberative choice experiments and multi-criteria analyses, the project is analysing different CSA option impose different upfront costs and risks onto farmers. This means that not only will farmers want different CSA techniques, but also CSA interventions will have to be tailored to local conditions and vulnerable groups.

Funding: ESPA (NERC/ESRC/DFID)

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