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Climate-Smart Agriculture in African Countries: A Review of Strategies and Impacts on Smallholder Farmers

Authors:
  • Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta

Abstract

The agricultural sector contributes approximately 10–20% of the total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. Consequently, climate change can negatively affect crop yields and livestock production thus threatening food security, especially in a vulnerable continent like Africa. This review provides an overview of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and their impacts on smallholder farmers in five African countries (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia). A total of 164 published articles on CSA practices were reviewed. Analysis of extracted data showed that CSA practices are classified as follows: agricultural practices, restoration practices of degraded lands, forest and cropland regeneration practices, practices in the livestock sub-sector, water resources and use of weather and climate information services. Moreover, climate change effects differed alongside strategies adapted from one country to another. Adoption of these strategies was often influenced by financial means put in place by governments, the role of policy legislation, access to climate information and farmers’ intellectual level. To address this deficiency, scientific-outcome-based research should be used to increase the effectiveness of climate adaptation management programs. In conclusion, to enhance the uptake of climate-smart agricultural practices in Africa, this review recommends the use of scientific-research-driven adaptation measures and prioritization of climate change in governments’ agendas.
Citation: Ariom, T.O.; Dimon, E.;
Nambeye, E.; Diouf, N.S.; Adelusi,
O.O.; Boudalia, S. Climate-Smart
Agriculture in African Countries: A
Review of Strategies and Impacts on
Smallholder Farmers. Sustainability
2022,14, 11370. https://doi.org/
10.3390/su141811370
Received: 24 June 2022
Accepted: 1 September 2022
Published: 10 September 2022
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sustainability
Review
Climate-Smart Agriculture in African Countries: A Review of
Strategies and Impacts on Smallholder Farmers
Thaddaeus Obaji Ariom 1, , Elodie Dimon 2, , Eva Nambeye 3 ,*, , Ndèye Seynabou Diouf 4 ,† ,
Oludotun Olusegun Adelusi 5, and Sofiane Boudalia 6,
1
Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research, Department of Microbiology,
Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta P.O. Box 2240, Ogun State, Nigeria
2Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Health and Production, Faculty of Agronomy, University of Parakou,
Parakou P.O. Box 123, Benin
3Department of Animal Science, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia,
Lusaka P.O. Box 32379, Zambia
4Independent Researcher, CitéIsra Bel Air, Dakar 10000, Senegal
5Department of Animal Nutrition, Federal University of Agriculture,
Abeokuta P.O. Box 2240, Ogun State, Nigeria
6
Laboratoire de Biologie, Eau et Environnement, Facultédes Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie et Sciences de la
Terre et de l’Univers, Université8 Mai 1945 Guelma, P.O. Box 4010, Guelma 24000, Algeria
*Correspondence: eva.nambeye@unza.zm; Tel.: +260-973-649-082
All authors contributed equally to this work.
Abstract:
The agricultural sector contributes approximately 10–20% of the total anthropogenic
greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. Consequently, climate change can negatively affect crop yields
and livestock production thus threatening food security, especially in a vulnerable continent like
Africa. This review provides an overview of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and their
impacts on smallholder farmers in five African countries (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and
Zambia). A total of 164 published articles on CSA practices were reviewed. Analysis of extracted data
showed that CSA practices are classified as follows: agricultural practices, restoration practices of
degraded lands, forest and cropland regeneration practices, practices in the livestock sub-sector, water
resources and use of weather and climate information services. Moreover, climate change effects
differed alongside strategies adapted from one country to another. Adoption of these strategies was
often influenced by financial means put in place by governments, the role of policy legislation, access
to climate information and farmers’ intellectual level. To address this deficiency, scientific-outcome-
based research should be used to increase the effectiveness of climate adaptation management
programs. In conclusion, to enhance the uptake of climate-smart agricultural practices in Africa, this
review recommends the use of scientific-research-driven adaptation measures and prioritization of
climate change in governments’ agendas.
Keywords: climate change; smallholder farmer; impact; food security; adaptation strategies
1. Introduction
Climate change refers to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) such as
nitrous oxide (N
2
O), carbon dioxide (CO
2
) and methane (CH
4
) in the atmosphere causing
irregularity, variability and unpredictability of rainfall, temperature increase, floods and
drought. These effects will likely be “severe, pervasive, and irreversible” in the years to
come, and the African continent seems to be one of the most vulnerable zones across the
globe [
1
,
2
]. Many studies have shown the vulnerability of African countries to climate
change in recent years. For instance, Hulme et al. [
3
] and the IPCC [
1
] both projected that
by 2050, East Africa will experience warmer temperatures, a 5–20% increase in rainfall
between December and February and 5–10% less rainfall from June to August. This change
in climate will affect fishing in coastal and aquaculture systems and will cause a decline
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811370 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 2 of 32
in crop production, particularly in maize [
4
]. Furthermore, in West, Central, Eastern and
Southern Africa, drought and a rise in mean annual temperature were cited as the most
prevalent climate variables that pose a high risk to rainfed crop production systems and
the livelihoods of subsistence farmers [5].
The agricultural sector contributes approximately 10 to 20% of the total anthropogenic
GHG emissions [
6
]. Consequently, climate change negatively affects yields of the crop,
livestock and fishery production thus threatening food and nutrition security [
7
]. Moreover,
globalization, urbanization, mechanization and population growth will accentuate and
accelerate these effects. To deal with these effects, several research studies and technical
reports have recommended the transformation of agriculture, food systems and generally
our consumption models to more sustainable systems (decreasing the carbon footprint and
greenhouse gas fluxes, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, genetic conservation
and preservation of local breeds that are well adapted to the local environment, redeploying
biodiversity) [1,2,814].
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has been identified as an important tool that can
be used to overcome the challenges presented by climate change to agricultural systems
and better incorporate agriculture in international climate negotiations [
15
]. Indeed, CSA
enables farmers, key institutions and service providers to farmers build the capacity to
adapt and effectively respond to long-term climate change as well as manage the risks that
come about as a result of increased climate variability [5].
Using climate-smart agriculture (CSA), the agricultural sector has the potential to
assist in mitigating climate change and increasing resilience by means of adaptation. Ac-
cording to the FAO [
7
], CSA was defined as agriculture that improves resilience, increases
productivity in a sustainable way, reduces or removes greenhouse gases where possible and
boosts attainment of national food security and development goals [
16
18
]. Furthermore,
these strategies aim to mitigate and adapt to the climate change effects as well as provide a
fair and stable income and good working conditions to smallholder farmers and vulnera-
ble populations. CSA practices and technologies include a variety of integrated options
that build on the diversity of Africa’s farming systems and fisheries. These integrated
options include agro-ecological approaches, sustainable natural resource management and
ecosystem management that are central to climate change adaptation [19].
The CSA strategies could contribute significantly to social equity and local economies,
especially, in southern countries [
20
23
]. A lot of interest has been shown in CSA in recent
years and a number of actors such as governments, farmers, civil society organizations
(CSOs), international organizations, the private sector and the research community have
initiated different interventions in CSA [
24
]. In this paper, we assume that climate-smart
practices are used in African countries and that their impact has been noted by smallholder
farmers. However, the current status of the prioritization of climate change in the govern-
ment agenda varies from one country to another. In Algeria, the climate change subject
is not prioritized at all. The country is considered a “rentier state” (e.g., living on income
from natural resource assets), and the extractive industry plays a key role in the country’s
economy, and therefore, climate change remains a very sensitive subject [25].
In Senegal, climate change presents a significant challenge. Hence, the country has
prioritized adaptation actions and mainstream adaptation into development planning. This
measure was taken to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and to increase the
resilience of its ecosystems and populations to the impacts of climate change [
26
]. However,
an implementation gap remains between adaptation plans and project realization. This
could be due to financial constraints and limits in available, accessible and locally derived
data on climate change and its impacts on various sectors and communities [
27
]. In Benin,
in the year 2021, the government developed its national climate change adaptation plan [
28
].
The plan aims to reduce the impacts of climate change by developing resilience and adaptive
capacity and facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation strategies into all
planning projects. Moreover, it focused on eight most vulnerable sectors: energy, forestry,
tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, water, health and the coast [29].
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 3 of 32
Nigeria conducted a review of its National Policy on Climate Change for 2021–2030
with the aim of defining a new holistic framework to guide the country’s response to the de-
velopment challenge of climate change. The document outlined sectorial and cross-sectorial
strategic policy statements and actions for the management of climate change within the
country’s pursuit of climate-resilient sustainable development. The goal is to promote
low-carbon, climate-resilient and gender-responsive sustainable socio-economic develop-
ment [
30
]. The National Climate Change Learning Strategy was introduced in Zambia as
a follow-up to the country’s National Climate Change Policy of 2016 with the goals of in-
creasing awareness and strengthening climate change knowledge, developing institutional
and individual capacity for mitigating and adapting to climate change and mainstreaming
climate change learning into national priority sector policies and systems [
31
]. The main
objectives of this systematic review are to: (i) identify climate-smart agriculture practices
used to improve resilience in five African countries, distributed from north to south (Al-
geria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia) (Figure 1), and (ii) assess the impact of these
practices on smallholder farmers.
Sustainability 2022, 14, x FOR PEER REVIEW 3 of 33
adaptive capacity and facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation strategies
into all planning projects. Moreover, it focused on eight most vulnerable sectors: energy,
forestry, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, water, health and the coast [29].
Nigeria conducted a review of its National Policy on Climate Change for 20212030
with the aim of defining a new holistic framework to guide the country’s response to the
development challenge of climate change. The document outlined sectorial and cross-sec-
torial strategic policy statements and actions for the management of climate change within
the countrys pursuit of climate-resilient sustainable development. The goal is to promote
low-carbon, climate-resilient and gender-responsive sustainable socio-economic develop-
ment [30]. The National Climate Change Learning Strategy was introduced in Zambia as
a follow-up to the countrys National Climate Change Policy of 2016 with the goals of
increasing awareness and strengthening climate change knowledge, developing institu-
tional and individual capacity for mitigating and adapting to climate change and main-
streaming climate change learning into national priority sector policies and systems [31].
The main objectives of this systematic review are to: (i) identify climate-smart agriculture
practices used to improve resilience in five African countries, distributed from north to
south (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia) (Figure 1), and (ii) assess the impact
of these practices on smallholder farmers.
Figure 1. Location map of African countries involved in this review (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria
and Zambia) from which data concerning climate-smart agriculture during the last decade (2010–
2022) were extracted and analyzed.
Figure 1.
Location map of African countries involved in this review (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria
and Zambia) from which data concerning climate-smart agriculture during the last decade (2010–2022)
were extracted and analyzed.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Method of Literature Search
As shown in Figure 2, publication search and article selection were conducted accord-
ing to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
guidelines [
32
]. A literature review of published research articles and technical reports re-
garding CSA practices from five African countries, distributed from north to south (Algeria,
Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia) was conducted (Figure 1).
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 4 of 32
Sustainability 2022, 14, x FOR PEER REVIEW 4 of 33
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Method of Literature Search
As shown in Figure 2, publication search and article selection were conducted ac-
cording to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
(PRISMA) guidelines [32]. A literature review of published research articles and technical
reports regarding CSA practices from five African countries, distributed from north to
south (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia) was conducted (Figure 1).
Figure 2. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) flow di-
agram showing the detailed selection process of studies in the systematic review.
In order to conduct an effective search for systematic reviews, it is essential to com-
bine multiple databases since it eliminates or drastically reduces the possibility that qual-
ified papers on a certain topic would be overlooked [33]. During the identification phase,
several keywords and their synonyms, related terms and variations were combined using
Boolean operators “OR and/or “AND”: “Climate-Smart agriculture”, “Climate-Smart ag-
riculture AND Africa” and “Climate-Smart agriculture AND Country (Algeria OR Sene-
gal OR Benin OR Nigeria OR Zambia)” (Table 1). The initial search in the scientific litera-
ture was carried out on different databases: ScienceDirect, Scopus and PubMed. Our re-
search was limited to papers published within the last 12 years (from 2010 to 2022).
The Endnote X software (version 5, Thomson ISI ResearchSoft, Philadelphia, PA,
USA) was used to import found references. Moreover, the references part of imported
articles was checked to retrieve other related studies even in other databases such as
Google Scholar. Duplicate articles were deleted, and only articles with further details were
kept.
Records identified through database
searchin g (Scopus n = 331, PubMed
n = 102 and ScienceDirect n = 56)
Total: (n = 508)
Articles included in
quantitative synthesis
(n=164)
Records excluded after title, abstract
and keywords review:
Irrelevant studies (n= 153)
Duplicates removed (n= 39)
Full-text articles excluded after
evaluation :
Out of scope : (n = 152)
-Intensiveagriculture
- Preci sion agriculture technology
IdentificationScreeningEligibilityIncluded
Records screene d (n=316)
Additional records identified
through other sources
(Google Scholar n= 19)
Figure 2.
PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) flow
diagram showing the detailed selection process of studies in the systematic review.
In order to conduct an effective search for systematic reviews, it is essential to combine
multiple databases since it eliminates or drastically reduces the possibility that qualified
papers on a certain topic would be overlooked [
33
]. During the identification phase, several
keywords and their synonyms, related terms and variations were combined using Boolean
operators “OR” and/or “AND”: “Climate-Smart agriculture”, “Climate-Smart agriculture
AND Africa” and “Climate-Smart agriculture AND Country (Algeria OR Senegal OR Benin
OR Nigeria OR Zambia)” (Table 1). The initial search in the scientific literature was carried
out on different databases: ScienceDirect, Scopus and PubMed. Our research was limited
to papers published within the last 12 years (from 2010 to 2022).
Table 1. Search string used for the systematic review process.
Database Keywords Used
Scopus and PubMed
(“Climate-Smart agriculture” OR ((“Climate-chang*” OR “global-warmin*”) AND Agriculture) AND
(Algeria OR Senegal OR Benin OR Nigeria OR Zambia))
ScienceDirect “Climate-Smart agriculture” AND (Algeria OR Senegal OR Benin OR Nigeria OR Zambia)
“Climate-Smart agriculture” AND Africa
The Endnote X software (version 5, Thomson ISI ResearchSoft, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
was used to import found references. Moreover, the references part of imported articles was
checked to retrieve other related studies even in other databases such as Google Scholar.
Duplicate articles were deleted, and only articles with further details were kept.
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 5 of 32
2.2. Relevant Screening, Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Two researchers conducted the review independently (S.B. and N.S.D.). No restrictions
were imposed based on the publication’s source. To make sure the articles were appropriate
for inclusion, a preliminary screening was performed by reading the titles and abstracts.
The full text of the retrieved articles was then downloaded.
Based on the review of published summaries, we excluded reviews, opinion pieces,
book chapters, conference abstracts, letters to the editor and research articles that: (1) were
published before 2010; (2) recorded data from other countries outside of Algeria, Senegal,
Benin, Nigeria and Zambia; (3) recorded data from intensive agriculture; or (4) covered
scientific articles and technical reports not published in the English or French languages.
Moreover, duplicate articles were deleted, and only detailed articles were kept.
Data concerning CSA practices in participating countries were extracted from the
selected qualitative and quantitative documents. The main criterion was the capacity
to improve agricultural productivity and build resilience. More precisely, CSA practice
efficacy was measured through the capacity of agriculture to achieve adaptation to and/or
mitigation of climate change effects and to ensure food security. The selected articles were
thoroughly reviewed, and the required information that was extracted was as follows: first
author, year of study, provincial and geographical information and detailed description of
agricultural and livestock innovative practices implemented at a small and large scale, in
one or many countries.
2.3. SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis is a method of strategic planning used to assess the strengths, weak-
nesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in many different fields [
34
]. Here, from data
concerning CSA practices in participating countries, the SWOT methodology was used to
determine CSA internal factors consisting of strengths and weaknesses influenced by a local
ecosystem, on the one hand, and the CSA external factors consisting of the opportunities
and threats that are affected by an external ecosystem, on the other hand.
3. Results
3.1. Characteristics of Eligible Studies
From the first stage of the PRISMA methodology which served to identify documents
in the “topic” section using pre-defined search strings, document types (research articles
and technical reports), language (English and French) and within the year range from
2010 to 202
2, a total of 508 publications were found (Algeria: 46, Senegal: 73, Benin: 45,
Nigeria: 174 and Zambia: 151). During the second stage (screening), an examination of the
title, abstract and keywords was carried out, and 192 articles were excluded because they
were found to be duplicates or did not meet the inclusion criteria.
Among the 344 qualified documents for the third stage (eligibility screening), 152 doc-
uments were excluded after full-text analysis, as those studies were related to intensive
agriculture and precision agriculture technology topics.
In the long run, we identified 164 research publications that matched our objectives
(Algeria: 30, Senegal: 48, Benin: 22, Nigeria: 39 and Zambia: 25). (A flowchart illustrating
the choice of studies is shown in Figure 2).
3.2. Algeria
Algeria is located in the north of Africa (Figure 1), with an area of 2,381,741 km
2
and a rapidly growing population, which has gone from 25.911 million people in 1990 to
42.008 million people in 2018. Despite this growth, the rural population remains stable; it
represented 27.4% of the total population in 2018 [
35
]. Sahara represents about 85% of the
landmass, characterized by an entirely arid climate, with extremely low levels of surface
water availability and less than 9% of the total population [36].
Algeria is located in an area considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate
change [
37
39
]. A number of studies have reported a future decrease in total annual
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 6 of 32
rainfall by 15–30% [
40
] and an increase in the desert climate with the loss of the temperate
northern zone, which is demonstrated by both an increased temperature and a decrease
in precipitation [
37
,
41
]. Moreover, in this region, the climate is dry, and most agricultural
soils comprise a limited organic matter content of less than 1% coupled with poor soil
aggregate structure. The prevalent practices of tilling the land, overgrazing and exposing
bare soils have always worsened the situation. The long-term effects are severe degradation
of land and ultimately desertification, as observed in several parts of the region [
42
]. Due to
these effects, agriculture production is not stable and presents severe fluctuations. For that
reason, more adaptive agriculture with regard to climate change must be implemented, and
the use of more advanced technological solutions must be enhanced to limit the climate
change effects on agricultural productivity.
3.2.1. CSA Practices
Smallholder farmers in Algeria are currently required to raise agricultural produc-
tion while using fewer resources (such as less energy and more water) and under more
constraints (e.g., an increase in temperatures, soil salinity and desertification). A number
of CSA practices have been initiated and implemented, such as water saving, construc-
tion of dams and hill reservoirs, fight against erosion and desertification, anti-drought
programs, protection and rehabilitation of steppe lands and preservation and extension of
forests [4348]
. Here are some examples of climate-smart innovations in the agricultural,
livestock and forestry sectors, financial resources and policy evolution.
-Agricultural practices
During the 1980s, the Biskra region in the southeast of Algeria’s Sahara experienced
quick changes in agriculture which resulted in the transformation of the terrain. Production
of horticultural crops in greenhouses coupled with the development of irrigated agriculture
has resulted in a noticeable agricultural boom [
44
]. However, water- and land-use efficiency
remain very weak, and these problems are exacerbated with: low-cost water which is
pumped free, low annual precipitation estimated at <250 mm and an intermittent transfer
of greenhouse construction to escape problems with soil-borne diseases [48].
To avoid these problems and to enhance investment and trade in a modern, sustainable
horticulture sector, Algeria has collaborated with the Netherlands to realize a practical
greenhouse system best suited to the local harsh arid environment. Adaptive greenhouse
systems are based on what is called the SmaSH concept of GHI, which stands for smart
sustainable horticulture and aims to optimize greenhouse designs to one specific setting,
climate conditioning, greenhouse climate control, substrates and nutrition control [
49
51
].
Since then, farmers have widely used this mode of production (using greenhouses) which
has allowed them to increase their yields in a very significant way.
Another strategy developed by smallholder farmers, especially in the semi-arid regions
of Algeria is the integration of crop–livestock systems (ICLSs). This system is centered
around interactions between animal and crop activities which are temporal and spatial [
52
].
This strategy is considered a conservative farming practice based on minimum mechanical
soil disturbance and the permanent cover of soil using crop residues and/or cover crops.
This is also coupled with the diversification of crops using a crop rotation system [
53
]. ICLS
practices under conservation agriculture principles have contributed positively to growth
yield and the reduced climate vulnerability of farmers, promoted more diverse on-farm
crops and reduced market fluctuation vulnerability (in terms of fuel, seeds, feed resources,
labor, seeds, etc.) [53,54].
-Forest and cropland regeneration practices
In 1972, the green dam (le barrage vert) was launched to protect watersheds against
erosion and manage the use of forests, rangelands and other dryland natural resources in a
sustainable way. This project played a key role in adapting and mitigating climate change
thus improving the food security and livelihoods of the people in Algeria [
55
]. From east
to west, it extends over a strip of 1000 to 1500 km long and about 20 km wide and over
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 7 of 32
an area of 3000 ha [
56
]. The project has produced significant positive results such as the
replenishment of pastures and species diversification (Atlas pistachio, Acacia, Arizona
cypress (Cupressus arizonica), Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) and Atriplex (Atriplex halimus,
A. nummulaira) almond). However, human overexploitation and agricultural expansion
caused negative effects [55].
-Practices in the livestock sector
A scientific project was launched in 2018 in collaboration with smallholder farmers
to bring together African nations (Algeria and Tunisia) and European nations (Greece) to
implement CSA practices through biodiversity restoration and more sustainable livestock
establishment [
22
]. Algerian autochthonous bovine populations resemble the Brown Atlas,
and it is segmented into subpopulations, namely Guelmoise, Cheurfa, Krouminiène, Cheli-
fienne, Sétifienne and Djerba. These subpopulations are well adapted to the local harsh arid
and semi-arid environment. The size of these populations has been estimated by the Re-
censement National des Exploitations Agricoles et d’élevage RGA [
57
] at nearly 896,287 subjects.
Moreover, these animals are characterized by good rusticity, which represents an essential
socio-economic element thus largely contributing to the nourishing of the rural people.
However, the introduction of exotic livestock breeds in Algeria has led to a profound
mutation in the genetic structure of the dairy animal. This has resulted in a drastic decrease
in the local cattle population. Consequently, the proportion of local breeds has decreased
from about 82% in 1986 to 48% in 2016 [58].
In northeastern Algeria, local breeds were identified and tracked [
11
,
14
]. Products
(such as milk and traditional cheese) were researched because consuming milk and its
derivatives from these breeds is historically a very old eating practice [
59
]. The studies
found that the products could contribute significantly to the local economies as they could
easily be associated with contemporary food trends such as “local” and “slow food” [
22
].
Results show that among the ecotypes studied, the Sétifen ecotype will be very beneficial
for a genetic selection program [
11
]. Concerning products, a large certification program is
underway.
-Water resources management
Farmers in the Algerian Sahara devised a number of techniques to combat the effects of
drought, on the one hand, and the pressures on water resources from other sectors such as
the extractive industry, on the other hand [
25
]. A good example is the widespread practice
of sustainable use of water in potato crop production in the El Oued region (southeast of
Algeria). In this region, an enormous Sub-Saharan Aquifer occurs close to the surface; thus,
agriculture has developed on a substantial scale over an area of more than 30,000 hectares
of sand used for potato cultivation of two harvests yearly. Currently, the smallholder
potato producers (approximately 2000) in El Oued continuously irrigate the potatoes using
center-pivot irrigation. These practices have been reported to be unsustainable, and there is
room for improvement in terms of water use efficiency, fertilizer and pesticide applications,
CO
2
footprint, field layout, the choice of appropriate varieties, the quality of the starting
material and prevention of postharvest losses [60].
To avoid these problems, and to make potato production more sustainable, several
strategies have been tested on five-hectare demonstration farms. These strategies include
smart irrigation using complex scheduling, innovative equipment and precision techniques
and the introduction of new (climate-smart) potato varieties. Results show an estimated
water saving of more than 50% by introducing underground drip fertigation. Moreover,
tuber yields have slightly increased in autumn (9.2 tons/hectare to 11.5 tons/hectare
using center-pivot irrigation and subsurface fertigation, respectively). The new potato
varieties, i.e., Arizona, Manitou and Rudolph, had better yields than the traditionally
used Spunta [
45
]. Despite being a relatively simple installation, in which planting and
installation of driplines can be carried out at the same time, subsurface fertigation is not
yet widely used in Algeria, probably due to the current costs of water (fully supported by
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 8 of 32
the authorities), investment costs, knowledge gap on technology and lack of skills to get it
running.
-Access to credit and financial resources
For the past 20 years, Algeria has adopted national policies for increasing investment
in CSA to provide a fair, stable income and good working conditions to smallholder farmers
and to contribute to social equity and rural economies. This policy has been implemented
through various national plans, including the National Agricultural Development Program
(PNDA: Programme National de Développement Agricole from 2000 to 2010), the Agricul-
tural and Rural Renewal Policy (PRAR: la Politique de Renouveau Agricole et Rural from
2010 to 2014) and the FILAHA Plan from 2014 to 2020.
The PNDA is the most important program which aims to counter the problems
arising due to challenges and constraints which are natural, technical, organizational and
institutional. These problems have been the cause of weak national food security, degrading
natural resources and reducing cohesion and social peace in rural areas. Results from these
reforms show a growth rate of total factor productivity which recorded significant annual
growth from 1.6% per year over the 1991/2000 period to 6.6% per year over the 2008–2013
period [61].
3.2.2. Impact on Smallholder Farmers
The impact of CSA practices on smallholder farmers in Algeria is poorly documented
when compared to other African nations. Here, we included data collected for Maghreb
countries (Tunisia and Morocco) which present similarities in terms of climatic conditions
and CSA practices [62,63].
CSA practices using conservation agriculture principles have shown very beneficial
results on farmers’ finances. In the region of Sétif (northeastern Algeria), a comparative
study of two cropping systems used on 28 farms namely no-till and tilled wheat showed
that the no-till system had the best economic results (in terms of the average annual costs
and returns per hectare) with a difference in gross margin of 84 USD/ha compared to
conventionally tilled wheat. Additionally, no-till was shown to need less labor and fuel,
with 241 min/ha and 42 L/ha compared to 624 min/ha and 99 L/ha for conventional
tillage [64].
In addition, with regard to the development of crop diversification in Sahara regions
in Algeria, palm tree monoculture and tunnel greenhouses have dramatically expanded on
the margins of traditional oasis and horticultural production under greenhouses, and the
expansion of irrigated agriculture experienced very significant growth [
44
]. In the city of
El Ghrous in the region of Biskra, data collected from a survey of 100 farms specializing
in early tomatoes under greenhouses showed the comfortable profitability of this activity.
With an average cost price per kilogram of tomato of 26 DZD/kg and an average selling
price of 61 DZD/kg, the average gross margin of the producer amounted to 35 DZD/kg,
i.e., 57% of the sale price [65].
A study conducted in Morocco in 2013 which covered 21 major wheat-producing
provinces (representing 79% of the total number of wheat producers) analyzed the impacts
of the conservation agriculture adoption. Results show that the adoption of zero tillage,
crop rotation and crop residue retention led to higher yields of 307 kg/ha (35%), higher
gross margins of 99 USD/ha (44%) and 23 kg/capita/year (38%) more consumption of
wheat relative to the conventional system [66].
Moreover, the non-adoption of CSA strategies by farmers can lead to economic losses.
In Tunisia, a study was carried out to assess the overall economic loss caused by the ineffi-
cient use of irrigation water. About 724 farms producing the main 20 crops were randomly
sampled with respect to the type of farm, bioclimatic area and system of production. Results
show that the total direct economic losses of both types of water inefficiencies were valued
at around TND 470 million (
USD 150 million) [
67
]. Another study, also carried out in
Tunisia, evaluated the economic viability of two tree-based adaptation strategies (cactus
intercropping and olive tree plantations) in the rangelands of central Tunisia. The results
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 9 of 32
show that whereas rainfed plantations were not at all profitable, the cultivation of irrigated
olive trees was advantageous for farmers and society as a whole. Additionally, intercrop-
ping with cactus to supplement livestock food and watering was a very effective approach
to boost farmers’ revenues without increasing agricultural water consumption [68].
3.3. Senegal
Senegal is a West African country (Figure 1), which covers 196,712 km
2
and has more
than 16,000,000 inhabitants. The main economic activities are livestock production and
agriculture, which account for 17.5% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product). These
sectors employ 69% of the country’s population [69].
The agriculture sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who grow millet, sorghum,
maize and rice for subsistence purposes [
70
]. The ecosystems, society and the economy of
Senegal are all extremely vulnerable to climatic changes. The main climate challenges to
the nation are increasing temperatures and unpredictable precipitation that cause drought,
more frequent pluvial flooding and associated health problems [
71
]. A concerning scenario
amid remote regions is made even worse by a raise in the frequency and severity of floods,
droughts, cyclones and the increase in sea level. Due to the huge reduction in harvests,
water shortages and escalating health challenges brought on by these natural calamities,
the populace is becoming increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity [
72
]. Senegal has expe-
rienced eight (8) severe droughts since 1977, with the droughts happening periodically for
several decades. Around 800,000 people were reported to have experienced food insecurity
as a result of the drought in 2011, which resulted in a 20% drop in grain production and a
31% drop in groundnut production. Most of the affected people relied on agriculture to
meet their daily necessities. In addition, Senegal experienced floods frequently, affecting
an average of 400,000 to 600,000 people per year, between 1980 and 2008 [
73
]. Rainfall
is the principal determinant of farmers’ activities because more than 70% of the agricul-
tural production is rainfed and irrigation covers less than 5% of all arable farmland [
74
].
According to the report of some studies, low-input rainfed agriculture will be severely
damaged by climate change, with yields for sorghum and millet dropping by about 50% by
the year 2080. Depending on the type of crop, high-input rainfed agriculture’s production
will decline more gradually, from 2–3% in the 2020s to 15–40% in the 2080s [75].
Since then, many initiatives have been taken by both development partners and the
State to enable producers to cope with the effects of climate change. Among these initiatives
is the promotion of CSA to improve food security and people’s livelihoods [
17
]. Senegal has
undertaken significant initiatives to encourage resilience through the adoption of climate-
smart practices [
76
]. The nation is making huge strides in creating a political landscape
that will strengthen CSA programs [
74
]. Although the term “climate-smart agriculture”
(CSA) may be new for a set of agricultural innovations, tools and policies, the concept
is already ingrained in many indigenous practices, tools and methodologies that have
assisted farmers in producing food in the face of rapidly changing climatic conditions [
17
].
3.3.1. CSA Practices
In Senegal, good agricultural practices related to CSA have been identified [
26
,
72
,
77
79
].
Results from the previously cited literature show that CSA practices can be divided into six
groups: agricultural practices, restoration practices of degraded lands, forest and cropland
regeneration practices, practices in the livestock sub-sector, water resources and weather
and climate information services.
-Agricultural practices
These methods are used by smallholder farmers to mitigate the effects of climate
change. These include the adaption strategies used in the agricultural sector to increase
productivity [72]. The practices are:
Erosion control practices;
Development of stone bunds;
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 10 of 32
Stabilizing of gullies by filtering dikes;
Fixing the dunes;
Using improved varieties. For the countries of Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso,
Ghana and Guinea in particular, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) pub-
lished 28 climate-resilient high-yielding rice cultivars that are also iron and salinity
tolerant [80];
The application of novel cultivation techniques adapted in farmer field schools (FFS)
for the subsequent extension to producers.
-Conservation agriculture
It is also recognized that land degradation reduces the productive capacities of culti-
vated soils [
81
]. The use of CSA is driven by increased degradation of soil in West Africa,
especially in the dry and semi-arid regions, where crop yields are relatively low due to
low soil organic matter, insufficient fertilizer use and frequent droughts [
82
]. The main
practices used in Senegal are composting, the organic manure technique and the manure
pit, Zaï, desalination of mangrove rice fields and restoration of salty soils [72].
-Forest and cropland regeneration practices
Some practices have also been promoted by researchers and are related to the regen-
eration practices of forests and cultivated lands and the integrated management of water
resources. Farmers used: assisted natural regeneration (ANR); agroforestry; defending;
crops of recession; and use of neem pesticides. A total of 11 million Faidherbia albida trees
were reported to have been planted on 27,000 acres of degraded land in the Kaffrine region
of Senegal [19].
-Practices in the livestock sector
To combat the effect of climate change, breeders in the livestock sector currently
employ the following strategies: practice of haymaking; treatment of straw with urea;
agricultural pastoralism; and pastoralism. Livestock keepers are reportedly likely to be
impacted by a drop in the availability of animal feed and water, changes in the severity and
distribution of pests and illnesses that affect both livestock and pasture and smallholders’
mixed crop–livestock systems [83,84].
-Water resources management
According to long-term observational data and climate projections, freshwater re-
sources are vulnerable to climate change and may be significantly influenced, with sig-
nificant consequences for Senegal’s human communities and ecosystems [
85
]. When that
happens, managing water resources becomes a prerequisite to coping with the effects of
climate change. All efforts taken to promote effective and efficient management of water
for profitable agriculture are considered water resources: construction of anti-salt dikes
and stormwater retention; practice of micro-irrigation; storage of runoff by micro retention;
rainwater harvesting; and integrated management of water resources.
-Weather and Climate Information Services (WCIS)
Improved weather and climate information services (WCIS), or the packaging and
distribution of downsized and useful weather and climate information (WCI) that satisfies
end users’ needs, have received a lot of attention in recent years [
86
91
]. Particularly
in Senegal, several studies have shown that the use of WCIS has become very popular
among farmers, fishermen and livestock breeders in recent years [
17
,
70
,
92
94
]. Millions of
Senegalese farmers have been receiving simplistic forecasts since 2011 as part of climate
information services. The National Weather Agency has been empowered by partners such
as the USAID, CCAFS/ICRISAT, WFP FAO, etc., to develop climate information for produc-
ers, breeders and fishermen. More specifically in the field of agriculture, consultations and
meetings have been organized before to identify the needs for climate information with the
different categories of users. The National Meteorological Service (ANACIM) then started
producing tailored climate information. To ensure proper understanding and better use of
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 11 of 32
CIS, training sessions were organized with producers to share with them the content of the
messages transferred but also the likely decisions for each type of information received.
Partners responsible for disseminating climate information (community radio stations,
private companies, etc.) have also been trained to better convey information [
5
,
70
,
95
].
The forecast data offered include the total amounts of rainfall, the beginning and end of
the rainy season, as well as a 10-day prognosis for the duration of the rainy season [
5
].
Farmers are better prepared to deal with global climatic change by receiving pertinent and
understandable climate information [
24
]. Documented evidence from Ghana and Senegal
reported a great potential in improving the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers to
climate variability and extreme weather events [96].
Moreover, ANACIM formed Multidisciplinary Working Groups (the Multidisciplinary
Working Group (MWG) was an initiative of the Agro-Hydro-Meteorology (Agrhymet
for the Sahel) national committee. More than 27 MWGs have been created in Senegal.
Members of MWGs include all relevant state extension technical services and relevant
local organizations within the districts. The mission of the MWG is to ensure the close
monitoring of the climate phenomena and to alert timely, competent structures in order
to prevent potential risks. They receive meteorological information such as the seasonal,
weekly and instant forecasts from the meteorological office and tailor the information using
the updates from the actual ground reality with regard to the areas of competency of each
participating service. They meet three times a month during the cropping season to discuss
and take action for better planning of the farming activities within the district for the next
10-day period. Each MWG should have a legal status and be led by the prefect of the
district [
71
]) (MWGs) in partnership with other technical services (agriculture, livestock
and environment) for the dissemination of WCIS to farmers. The MWGs served as a forum
for interaction where meteorologists and stakeholders from other industries, including
agriculture and water, could work together to develop early warning information [97].
Additionally, “Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA)”, a
new strategy for expanding climate information services, has been launched. Using histori-
cal climate records, participatory decision-making tools and seasonal climate forecasts, this
method helps farmers identify and better plan livelihood options suitable to their circum-
stances and climatic conditions [
98
]. Together with local government extension officers,
the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA) and CGIAR World Agroforestry
Center (ICRAF) adopted this strategy.
Furthermore, crop insurance has received extensive partner promotion and has
emerged as a promising risk transfer tool. However, caution is advised about its inte-
gration into a more comprehensive risk management strategy. The viability of pricing
agricultural insurance products in Senegal at rates that are both affordable to impoverished
farmers and profitable for insurance providers, without the need for significant, ongoing
subsidies by the government or outside donors, is a particular challenge that deserves to
be explored in the upcoming years [72].
The analysis points out opportunities to create the political will to build an environ-
ment that is conducive to the widespread adoption of CSA. The analysis identifies prospects
to create and channel CSA needs from the perspective of public opinion [76].
3.3.2. Impact on Smallholder Farmers
In this section, we provide evidence from the literature regarding the effects of CSA use
in agricultural production. However, Senegal continues to have a relatively low adoption
rate for climate-smart behaviors and technologies [
99
]. Researchers have criticized the
linear approach for its dominance in knowledge generation and its restrictive perspective
of innovation, but it is nevertheless used in many programs and organizations [77].
Regarding forest and cropland regeneration practices, a study involving 1080 house-
holds in the Sudano-Sahelian ecozones of Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Senegal’s Sahelian
revealed that farmer-managed natural regeneration can be a crucial safety net for farmers
in the event of crop yield and livestock underperformance brought on by climate variability.
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 12 of 32
The study reported that by planting and maintaining multipurpose trees on farmlands, a
community of 1000 households may improve its income by USD 72,000 [
100
]. Nyasimi,
Amwata, Hove, Kinyangi and Wamukoya [
19
] showed that trees provide a source of fuel
and feed and that replanting has decreased the amount of time women spend gathering
firewood from 2.5 h per day to 0.5 h today. In addition, the tension between farmers and
herders has been reduced by 80% as a result of regreening the land.
Moreover, with regard to weather and climate services, a study carried out by Diouf,
Ouedraogo, Ouedraogo, Ablouka and Zougmoré[
93
] showed that the adoption of seasonal
forecasts (SF) has a considerable impact on Senegalese farmers’ ability to produce their
principal crops and earn a living from farming. Depending on the type and sex of the crops,
this effect varies. For millet and rice crops, the users (men and women) of the seasonal
prediction gained an average of 158 kg/ha and 140 kg/ha, respectively, more yield than
the non-users. Men are more affected by the application of SF on rice (321.33 kg/ha vs.
25.3 kg/ha) and millet (202.7 kg/ha vs. 16.7 kg/ha). The rise in agricultural production
was the most notable result of improved seasonal forecasts for farmers in Senegal [
101
]. The
initiative developed test farms that rigorously followed forecasts and related agricultural
recommendations and matched them to control farms employing conventional techniques
to test yield increases. Similar information was provided for groundnut flowers and souna,
demonstrating increases in yields of 50% and 15%, respectively [
24
]. Seasonal predictions
were being distributed to 7.4 million rural Senegalese as of August 2015 using 102 rural
community radio stations and short messaging services (SMS) [
92
]. Climate data are now
regarded as agricultural inputs in Senegal, alongside the fundamental production inputs of
seeds, fertilizer and machinery [
70
]. According to an impact assessment study, the use of
CIS in Senegal increased household income by between 10% and 25% [96].
The usage of weather and climate information services, particularly seasonal forecasts,
has been found to alter farmers’ attitudes and strategies, according to some authors, in-
cluding Hassan and Nhemachena [
97
] and Ingram et al. [
102
]. Additionally, Chiputwa,
Wainaina, Nakelse, Makui, Zougmoré, Ndiaye and Minang [
94
] researched the effects of
the Multidisciplinary Working Group in Senegal. Results show that depending on the type
of information provided, MWGs are positively related to farmers’ awareness, access to and
adoption of WCI, leading to farm management responses. Farmers’ knowledge of WCI
normally rises by 18%, their access improves by 12%, and their adoption rises by 10% when
MWGs are present.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Bonilla-Findji et al. [
103
] discovered that although
159 male and 110 female farmers adopted the CSA techniques promoted in Kaffrine, the
adoption rate was lower for households headed by women than for those headed by men.
Higher acceptance rates for agroforestry and reduced tillage were reported (70%), medium
adoption levels for manure (40%), organic matter plus micro-dose of artificial fertilizers and
FMNR (about 23%) and low acceptance rates (15%) for micro-dose (NPK plus urea) and
drought-tolerant varieties. Approximately 90% of farmers who adopted CSA techniques
reported positive results in terms of providing substantial incomes, trying to improve food
access and diversity, enhancing climate resilience and not increasing agricultural labor time.
From 8 to 88%, different CSA practices and gender differences were assessed to impact
yield improvement.
Evidence suggests that PICSA specifically encouraged farmers to consider and then
implement a number of innovations, such as (i) adjusting the timing of activities such as
sowing dates, (ii) implementing soil and water management practices, (iii) choosing crop
varieties, (iv) managing fertilizer and (v) adapting their season plans (farm size, etc.) to the
actual resources available to them [98].
3.4. Benin
Located in West Africa at latitudes 6
30
0
and 12
30
0
north and meridian 1
and
30
40
0
east, it is in the tropical region between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer
(Figure 1). Africa’s coastline developing nation of Benin is subjected to the harmful conse-
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 13 of 32
quences of climate change [
104
]. Significant disturbances have been a feature of climate
change since the 1960s. In the same way, future predictions have been made on increased
drought, late and violent rains, floods and temperature rise. By 2100, the temperature is
expected to rise by +2.6 to +3.2
C. In addition, rainfall in the southern part of the country
will continue to be higher (+0.2%), but it will decrease by 13–15% in the northern part
of the country by 2100 [
105
107
]. Without taking any action to adapt to climate change,
agricultural productivity will suffer more under these scenarios and is predicted to fall by
5 to 20% by 2025 [
108
,
109
]. Since 80% of the population relies on agriculture for livelihood,
this will have a negative effect on their quality of life [110].
3.4.1. CSA Practices
In Benin, to assess climate change farmers’ perception, as well as the adaptation strate-
gies put in place, several CSA practices have been initiated, conducted and implemented:
-Agricultural practices
Farmers have created some climate-smart agriculture techniques in the Zou Depart-
ment of southern Benin, including the diversification of crops and livestock, the use of
improved varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides to combat diseases and pests and
agroforestry and perennial plantations (oil palms, orchards, forest species). Additionally,
to diversify their sources of income, several farmers have adapted small ruminant and
poultry husbandry [111].
Maize is one of the major staple foods of the municipality of Zè, which is located
in the sub-humid Guinean zone in the southern part of Benin. It is cultivated by 85%
of the country’s farmers, and the government of Benin has made it one of its key areas
in its effort to combat extreme poverty and hunger [
112
]. Consequently, maize yield
is anticipated to decline by 5 to 25% by 2050 in the absence of proactive measures to
develop adaptation strategies [
113
]. Beninese maize farmers have therefore established
some adaptation strategies to deal with it and lessen the negative effects of climate change,
such as adjusting the cropping calendar by changing planting dates and sowing times, using
improved crop varieties, integrating crops and livestock and planting trees to naturally
shade crops during prolonged dry seasons [112].
Arouna et al. [
114
] showed that the best strategies developed by Beninese farmers
were the adoption of short-cycle varieties, the adjustment of the sowing period, staggered
sowing, agroforestry and the construction of cages for animals to fight strong winds. In
addition to these strategies, other farmers have developed additional strategies such as the
practice of transhumance of herds in search of fresh grass and water points. Diversification
of income-generating activities is another strategy developed by farmers in the commune
of Banikoara to adapt to climate variability [
115
]. Farmers in northern Benin have imple-
mented intercropping, crop rotation, field relocation, altered cropping patterns and water
and soil conservation measures [116].
-Conservation agriculture
In northern Benin, the adoption of conservation agriculture principles on upland rice
soil showed significant results in soil carbon storage. The emission of carbon from the
decomposition of organic matter is counterbalanced with the use of manual tillage, 3 Mg
ha of rice straw and 60 kg/ha of fertilizer [117].
Additionally, a study was conducted in the Boukombéwatersheds of Benin to evaluate
the agricultural practices, soil conservation techniques and river erosion-prone areas. A
standardized questionnaire was used to conduct interviews with a total of 250 farmers.
According to the findings, the following agricultural methods were used: a combination of
crops (100%), rotation system (70%), monoculture (66%) and cultivated fallow (100%) [
118
].
-Forest and cropland regeneration practices
In the Department of Zou (southern Benin), 120 farmers were interviewed to evaluate
the CSA strategies that they adopted to fight against global warming. Results show that
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 14 of 32
35.5% of surveyed farmers adopted “agroforestry and perennial plantation (oil palm,
orchard, tree species)”, which is considered as being the most promising strategy as it can
protect the soil, improve biodiversity and participate in carbon sequestration [
111
]. In the
municipality of Zè(in southern Benin), maize farmers also adopted an improved crop
variety, change in sowing time and crop and livestock agroforestry (integration and tree
planting) CSA strategies [112].
-Practices in the livestock sector
Idrissou, Assani, Baco, Yabi and Alkoiret Traoré[
104
] reported that to cope with
climate change, cattle farmers integrated livestock and crop husbandry, developed tran-
shumance, used concentrated feed, reduced herd size and forage cropping and diversified
livestock. In northeastern Benin, herdsmen have developed practices and herding strategies
to manage both their herds and space using changing regional and seasonal movements of
herds to better deal with the available natural forage [119].
Moreover, in the watershed of the Sota at Malanville municipality in the far northeast of
Benin, Zakari et al. [
120
] showed that agro-pastoralists (livestock and crop husbandry) have
used numerous strategies to combat climate change, such as compliance with vaccination
campaigns (85%), watering in the river (37.50%) and spatial mobility (59.50%). In the
periphery of Cotonou in Benin, Koura et al. [
121
] showed that herders faced difficulties
in feeding their animals and have adopted different feeding strategies such as moving
animals to other areas, including peri-urban and rural, or abandoning breeding activity.
-Water resources management
In order to examine the effectiveness of water management, rice farmers from the
inland valleys of Koussin-Lélé, Bamèand Zonmon in South Benin were interviewed.
Results show that the long-term lowland variety IR-841 with “rice-straw” mulch at 10
Mg/ha enables farmers to use their water resources more efficiently and boost yields in their
upland plots [
122
]. Moreover, in northern Benin, vegetable production was observed in
inland valleys and around agro-pastoral dams, and rehabilitation and optimized utilization
of these resources have been encouraged in light of climate change uncertainty to increase
agricultural production and ensure food security [123].
-Use of Weather and Climate Information Services (WCIS):
Crop yield can be optimized with the use of weather and climate information services.
The use of a GIS-based technique that evaluates and integrates biophysical factors (climate,
hydrology, soil and landscape) in the Tossahou inland valley in central Benin (mostly
including the hydromorphic zones) showed that 52% of the area is suitable for irrigated
farming, 18% for farming under natural flood and 1.2% for rainfed bunded rice [124].
3.4.2. Impact on Smallholder Farmers
The profound effects of climate change on agriculture, coupled with the low resilience
and high vulnerability of populations to shocks, could considerably reduce the capacity of
smallholder farmers in Benin to manage natural resources and thus alter their livelihoods,
their food security and their well-being. It is becoming imperative to comprehend the
actions taken by farmers to combat climate change [107].
According to Issifou Moumouni et al. [
125
], the fluctuation in mean daily temperature
and the minimum temperature of the coolest month are the two most crucial factors for
forecasting the geographical and temporal dynamics of soybean-producing areas. By 2050,
climate change will significantly alter the agro-ecological zones that produce soybeans.
These changes will be marked by an increase in non-adapted soybean production areas.
Moreover, Danvi, Jütten, Giertz, Zwart and Diekkrüger [
124
] assessed the viability
of rice production in a central Benin valley. Rainfed dike farming (RB), farming under
irrigated farmland (IR) and natural flooding (NF) are rice farming systems based on soil
and landscape suitability. For all cropping systems, rainfall and temperature were limiting
factors. The naturally flooded crop was most constrained by flooding, whereas irrigated
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 15 of 32
and rainfed dike cropping were primarily constrained by steep slopes and soil texture,
respectively.
One of the key basic foods in Benin is maize, which is also one of the government’s top
priorities for reducing poverty and food insecurity. It is one of the government’s priority
sectors and is produced by around 85% of farmers. Changes in the climate, temperature,
rainy season and drought have an impact on maize production [112].
Livestock farmers in the dry and sub-humid tropics of Benin perceive climate change.
Concerned livestock farmers have highlighted the negative consequences of climate change
on animal fertility, health and output [104].
3.5. Nigeria
The population of Nigeria is projected to be over 200 million inhabitants, and this
makes it the most populated African country [
126
]. The country covers about a 923,768 km
2
area. Uniquely, the geography of Nigeria (Figure 1) provides a climate that varies from
tropical rainforest in the south to semi-arid and arid in the north and thus allows the
production of different crop varieties. With a south–north gradient, the average monthly
temperatures vary from 22
C to around 38
C. Nigeria is also the biggest economy in
Africa with the agriculture sector contributing around 30% of the gross domestic product
(GDP), with over 70% of the residents directly involved in farming and the food supply
chain [
127
,
128
], making it a significant proportion of the country’s economy [
129
]. Nigeria
is characterized by diverse contexts and heterogeneous production environments [
130
].
Agricultural production systems in Nigeria are principally dependent on rainfall with
around 69% of the less-privileged engaged mostly in rainfed agriculture, which exposes
their living conditions to unpredictable climatic fluctuations, with grave implications
for food security [
131
]. More so, being a signatory to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Nigeria is accountable to reduce its national
GHG emissions as a fair contribution to the global efforts to mitigate climate change [
132
].
The impact of climatic variations on Nigeria’s many ecological zones is having a negative
effect on the country’s ability to feed its increasing population [126].
3.5.1. CSA Practices
Nigeria faces varying degrees of climate risk such as rising temperature, changing
rainfall patterns, distribution and volume and extreme climate events such as floods,
droughts and desertification [
130
]. Sea levels have been reported to steadily increase along
with the coastal areas of Nigeria, and it is predicted that a 1 m rise in water levels could
cause a loss of about 75% of the total landmass in the Niger Delta region, which has led to
coastal erosion and the loss of some villages (e.g., Erstwhile Village in Delta State) [
133
].
Using time-series data that spanned 43 years and an econometric analytical technique,
Olayide et al. [
134
] assessed the differences between rainfall and irrigation’s effects on total
production and its sub-sectors (all crops, staples, livestock, fisheries and forestry), and they
found that irrigation had a favorable and significant impact on both. The results indicate
the necessity for CSA approaches that would incorporate the complementing development
of larger arable land areas under irrigation in Nigeria in order to reduce the impact of
climate-induced production risks [
134
]. Practices under CSA are relevant in increasing farm
yield or productivity, reducing vulnerabilities or enhancing climate adaptations, as well as
improving carbon sequestration [
135
]. This among other reasons is why the Government
of Nigeria in conjunction with civil society organizations developed a National Adaptation
Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change (NASPA-CCN) in 2011 [136].
-Conservation agriculture
This approach has been widely reported in most farming communities in Nigeria.
Giller et al. [
137
] noted that conservation agriculture involves three approaches which
include minimum or no-tillage, maintaining soil cover via cover cropping or mulching and
crop rotation. In the northeast regions of Nigeria, soil degradation is high, and conservation
agriculture is being used to combat reduced crop yields due to the low percentage of soil
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 16 of 32
organic matter, limited use of fertilizer inputs and persistent droughts [
138
,
139
]. Reports
have shown that the practice increases the productivity of primary food crops such as
maize, sorghum and millet even on poor soils and offers economic benefits from diversified
schemes of crop rotation [
137
,
140
]. Mulching provides adequate soil cover which has led
to lower rates of run-off, better water infiltration, improvements in soil organic matter and
moisture retention. Using zero or minimum tillage grants advantages such as reductions
in costs expended on land preparation and early planting, which matches the onset of
rainfall. This CSA practice appears promising to the farmers whose objective is to maximize
production outcomes [130].
-Agricultural Practices
The usage of improved crop varieties has been found to be prevalent among cereal
growers in Nigeria as an adaptation approach to coping with the impact of climate change
due to high pest/disease resistance, low water requirement and early maturity. In Kwara
State, rice farmers planted a local variety of rice crossbred in Kebbi State which matures in
12 weeks while some other farmers are still cultivating older varieties that are ready for
harvest in 4 months and above [141].
Rainfall is important for farming activities; however, excess rains cause flooding and
erosion of cultivated fields causing crop loss and disintegration of top soils, with about 40%
of sampled farmers indicating that gully erosion had affected their crop production [
142
].
The techniques used by farmers are mixed cropping, tied ridging, mulching and tree
planting [
143
,
144
]. In the southern and northern parts of Nigeria, to combat flooding and
erosion caused by excess rains, farmers use terracing”, which consists of constructing
ridges and channels across the slope [145].
Moreover, in the Sahel areas of Yobe, farmers adopt the use of water harvesting
techniques called Zaï”, which are planting pits to retain moisture for sorghum and millet
production [
146
]. It involves burrowing pits (20–40 cm wide and 10–15 cm deep) to
accumulate water before planting which is often done with the application of biological
materials such as compost, crop residues and animal dung. It includes tedious manual
labor requirements (about 300 men/hectare) during the dry season due to unpredictable
rainfall patterns and high temperatures. The crops that have been successfully planted
by employing other conservation agriculture techniques such as the application of animal
manure or compost include sorghum, millet and cowpeas [138,139].
The use of sack farming as a conservation practice where storage materials (sack,
nylon) which are considered to no longer have use for the original purposes are filled with
soil and used for vegetable farming, rather than allowed to waste on dumpsites [
147
]. The
practice of farming in sacks involves growing seedlings in large sacks filled with soil [
148
].
-Practices in the livestock sector
Zougmoré, Partey, Ouédraogo, Omitoyin, Thomas, Ayantunde, Ericksen, Said and
Jalloh [
5
] opined that the measures for climate change mitigation in the livestock sub-sector
could include technical and management opportunities that promote the reduction in
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through efficient feeding systems, balanced feed rations
and efficient manure management. These actions work by maximizing feed resource use
efficiencies which would increase livestock productivity and decrease emissions per unit of
product. Adaptation activities due to extended dry periods include seasonal migration in
search of fresh forage and water by pastoralists, which is common with handlers of cattle,
sheep and goats [
149
], forage preservation as fodder for off-season utilization [
150
], feed
formulation with alternative feed resources [
151
] and use of resistant breeds, increased
spacing and routine vaccination [152].
-Use of Weather and Climate Information Services (WCIS)
Services that provide weather and climate data can be a vital tool in building the
resilience of farmers in addressing the increasing threats associated with climate variability
in Nigeria. Studies conducted by Ajaero and Anorue [
153
] reported that Nigerians have not
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 17 of 32
given sufficient attention to climate change information. Similarly, another study captured
that the degree of information available is capable of influencing the level of awareness of
climate change issues [
154
]. Having access to specific weather information such as early
warning and forecast technologies is capable of helping farmers to develop and readjust
coping or adaptation strategies [155].
Consequently, Nigeria’s National Determined Contributions of COP21 Paris Agree-
ment call for climate-smart agriculture, with weather and climate information services
serving as primary safety nets [
156
]. Hence, access to timely weather forecasts and other
adaptive mechanisms is required in ensuring food sustainability in Nigeria.
According to reports from Nigeria, giving cassava and yam farmers information
about climate change through extension agents dramatically raises the possibility that
they will engage in climate-smart actions such as planting early-maturing crop types
and planting trees [
157
]. However, this information was not available, as Tarhule and
Lamb [
158
] showed that 60% of respondents (farmers included in their study) received
no information on how to prepare for drought or what to do during and after a drought.
Moreover, 30% of respondents received little information during the same period, mostly
through non-governmental organizations or bilateral projects. However, only 8% of the
30% implemented the recommendations received.
3.5.2. Impact on Smallholder Farmers
Rural households in many communities of Sub-Saharan Africa are continuously mod-
ifying the existing practices in farm management as an attempt to mitigate the climate
change effects, the majority of which are autonomous [
145
]. A survey conducted on maize–
poultry value chains by Liverpool-Tasie et al. [
159
] in two Nigerian states (Kaduna and
Oyo) showed that economic actors with more direct exposure to climate events (such as
women, poultry farmers and maize farmers) are more likely to perceive these events than
those whose exposure is more indirect such as men, feed millers and maize traders. The
correctness of climate change perception could be attributed to the fact that farmers recall
production rather than the climate itself [160].
In Nigeria, scientists and policymakers in the area of agriculture and sustainable
development have pushed for the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices
over the last decade [
126
]. According to a study conducted by [
161
] in Ondo State, Nigeria,
57% of 120 farmers interviewed were unwilling to pay for extension services due to their
smallholdings and other socioeconomic constraints such as low farm income and incon-
sistency in government policies, while the remaining 43% were willing to pay for limited
extension services on improved seed varieties and funding sources.
The findings of Oyawole et al. [
162
] reported the percentage of farmers adopting CSA
practices in northern Nigeria such as green manure (17.0%), crop rotation (29.0%) and
zero/minimum tillage (37.0%). The study also recorded that refuse retention was adopted
on 45.0% of the maize farms sampled while organic manure and agroforestry were adopted
on 43.0% and 42.0% of the maize farms, respectively.
The use of improved variety with good management has increased the production
yield of cereal farmers. A case study of three cropping seasons reported by the FAO
and ICRISAT [
138
] showed a better harvest of 900 kg/ha with planting the improved
SOSAT millet cultivar compared to 550 kg/ha using the local Gwagwa millet variety, which
increase farmers’ income. Moreover, intercropping with sorghum and cowpea gave a
yield that is 64% higher than the traditional local variety, while limiting the intercrop to
cowpea yielded an 88% advantage. Leveraging on the early maturity of improved varieties,
Aderinoye-Abdulwahab and Abdulbaki [
141
] observed that rice farmers planted a locally
crossbred variety that matures in 3 months and provides farmers with an opportunity to
plant and complete production cycles twice in one growing season, particularly when the
farmer leveraged on early-planting strategy.
A report by the FAO and ICRISAT [
138
] showed that the average yields recorded from
terraced farms for sorghum and maize were 47% higher when compared to non-terraced
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 18 of 32
farmlands in the areas sampled. Terracing as a soil-water conservation technique has also
been reported in the South-Western region of Nigeria [
160
], and a study conducted by
Danso-Abbeam, Ojo, Baiyegunhi and Ogundeji [
145
] reported that 67% of sampled farm
households utilize the technique along with planting trees along slope contour, watershed
management, irrigation and water harvesting to combat climate change.
The merits of micro-dosing fertilizer usage in comparison with the broadcasting
method of application include a reduction in quantity (saving cost) and wastage of fertilizer.
Ayanwale et al. [
163
] conducted a study using the method on underutilized vegetables and
observed that the innovation had economic viability of between 32 and 50% and an expected
adoption rate of 25%. In another report, the adoption rate of micro-dosing was up to 80%
in areas with a general awareness of the benefits of the practice, recording cereal yields
of about 2000 kg/ha compared to broadcasting which gave a yield of 1200 kg/ha [
138
].
However, the method is labor intensive.
Olawuyi and Mushunje [
130
] concluded that farmers with a high propensity to partic-
ipate in collective action have a high likelihood to adopt climate-resilient farming practices
compared to their counterparts with a lower propensity to participate in collective ac-
tion. The determinants of climate-smart agriculture in southeast Nigeria from the report
of Onyeneke, Igberi, Uwadoka and Aligbe [
135
] include farmers’ schooling attainment,
revenue, credit, extension services, livestock ownership, experience in agriculture, size of
cultivated land, proximity to the market, distance to water resources, leadership position,
risk orientation of the farmer, gender, land ownership, family size and exposure to infor-
mation. Designing policies that will enhance these factors that determine the adoption of
climate-smart agriculture in smallholder farming systems has great potential to increase
the use of these practices.
Agricultural extension systems play a crucial role in providing information and edu-
cational programs on new technologies to farmers. Olorunfemi et al. [
164
] reported that
although the extension agents were currently involved in the dissemination of some CSA
initiatives, they were still not involved in the dissemination of a wide range of practices that
are prominent among which are the irrigation-related water management initiatives, con-
version of waste to compost, agroforestry and land reclamation initiatives, use of resource
conservation and agro-weather-related initiatives. The study observed that the significant
factors influencing the involvement of extension agents in disseminating CSA initiatives
are educational qualification, participation in CSA training, years of experience and the
number of communities covered.
3.6. Zambia
Zambia covers an area of about 752,618 km
2
and is alienated into three agro-ecological
zones which are based on climatic, geo-physical and soil type parameters. The country
is located in southern Africa and lies between 8
and 18
south of the equator, largely on
a plateau area (Figure 1). The climate is sub-tropical, and 95% of the precipitation falls
between November and April [
165
]. Zambia has a total population estimated at 16.6 million
out of which 69% are found in rural areas and more than 84% of the population work as
subsistence farmers [
166
,
167
]. From a global warming point of view, Zambia is a mini-
mal contributor to GHG emissions. However, an increasing number of climate-related
vulnerabilities are being faced by the country’s agricultural practices [
168
,
169
]. Agricul-
ture in Zambia is dominantly rainfed which means climate change poses a considerable
challenge [170].
According to climate trends in Zambia, the average yearly temperature increased by
0.34
C every decade between 1960 and 2003. Since 1960, the average annual rainfall has
declined by 2.3% every decade, or 1.9 mm/month. In Zambia, climatic extremes include
drought, extremely high temperatures, seasonal and flash floods and dry periods which
are frequent occurrences. The frequency, intensity and magnitude of several of these have
all increased [171].
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 19 of 32
After simulating 32 weather sequences drawn from historical climate data, Thur-
low et al. [
172
] reported that accumulated agricultural losses related to climate variability
in Zambia would reach USD 3.1 billion over the next 10–20 years. The disastrous effects
that result from these are primarily brought on by flooded fields, a lack of water, crop
devastation and an increase in agricultural and livestock illnesses [
173
]. Several initiatives
have focused on the promotion of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) methods in Zambia in
order to lessen and adapt to the consequences of climate change [165].
3.6.1. CSA Practices
The Republic of Zambia’s government and collaborating partners have been push-
ing the adoption of CSA methods in order to sustainably raise agricultural productivity,
strengthen farmers’ resistance to the effects of climate change and eliminate or lower
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [
174
]. The commonly promoted practices have been as
follows:
-Conservation agriculture
As already mentioned, conservation agriculture is an agricultural method that aims
to conserve, improve and use natural resources more effectively in the production of food
through integrated management of available soil, water and biological resources as well
as external inputs [
175
]. Conservation agriculture in Zambia has mainly been promoted
by non-governmental organizations for over 20 years. There are currently 250,000 farmers
in the estimated reach out of the 1,200,000 smallholder farmers in the country [
176
]. The
practices under this category include minimum soil tillage, continuous soil cover and crop
rotation. The specific technologies under minimum soil tillage include hand-hoe basins,
ox-drawn ripping and tractor ripping [177].
Kuntashula et al. [
178
], investigated the impact of minimum tillage and crop rotation
on maize yields for farmers who adopted the strategies across six districts in Zambia. They
recorded that using low tillage and crop rotation increased maize productivity by 26 to
38 percent and 21 to 24 percent, respectively.
-Forest and cropland regeneration practices
Several studies conducted on a small scale in Zambia have clearly shown how agro-
forestry can increase crop yields, soil fertility and a host of other advantages for smallholder
farmers [
179
]. Moreover, a variety of rural development goals connected to bettering land
use and farmer livelihoods can be accomplished with the support of agroforestry activities,
which are usually regarded as a longer-term sustainable land-use approach [
180
,
181
]. In
Sub-Saharan Africa, planting nitrogen-fixing trees has been regarded as a crucial technique
to fight widespread reductions in soil fertility and diminishing food production [182]. An
indigenous, nitrogen-fixing acacia species of trees commonly known as Musangu (Faidher-
bia albida) is widely promoted for agroforestry practices in Zambia. However, adoption
rates have typically been low, and this has been attributed to a lack of interest and low
availability of seedlings [
183
]. It is also important to note that a study by Kafwamfwa [
184
]
reported that the use of Faidherbia albida in agroforestry tends to acidify the soil in the long
run compared to the use of eucalyptus trees which neutralizes soil acidity.
-Practices in the livestock sector
Climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies in the livestock sector in Zambia
include: (i) micro-level adaptation such as shifts in species, breeds and/or production
systems; (ii) institutional changes (policy) such as the development of animal breeding
policy; and (iii) technological development such as breeding animals for high resistance to
drought, heat and other harsh environmental conditions [174].
Agroforestry integration into crop–livestock production systems, enhanced housing
and feeding approaches and improved management of grazing, forages, animal waste and
other practices [169,174].
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 20 of 32
-Water resources management
Over 90% of Zambia’s smallholder agriculture is rainfed, and this makes farmers more
vulnerable to climate shocks such as droughts and floods. Irrigation is therefore promoted
as a way of building resilience and adaptation to the climate change
effect [185,186]
. Accord-
ing to research conducted by Chisola et al. [
187
], the main stressors on water availability
in Zambia were growing rainfall variability, protracted dry periods, decreased rainfall
intensity, rising reservoir percentages and irrigated croplands. They also suggested certain
adaptation measures, such as more effective agricultural water use and farmer-aided natu-
ral regeneration of forest patches, as they are essential to enhancing landscape hydrological
processes that increase seasonal water availability.
3.6.2. Impact on Smallholder Farmers
Long-term welfare effects on Zambian households have been observed for the majority
of climate-smart agriculture strategies. The short-term advantages are ambiguous and
could be limited by insufficient access to financing, input and product markets and capacity
building [169].
Several studies have documented the impact of varying climate-smart practices
on smallholder farmers in Zambia. Arslan, McCarthy, Lipper, Asfaw, Cattaneo and
Kokwe [
166
] investigated the effect of reduced tillage, crop rotation and legume inter-
cropping, combined with the use of improved seeds and inorganic fertilizer on maize
yields in Zambia. The study found that CSA practices (legume intercropping) increased
significantly maize yield and reduced the probability of low yields even under critical
weather stress, which improve farmers’ income. The study of Mupangwa et al. [
188
]
is in agreement with data reported by Arslan, McCarthy, Lipper, Asfaw, Cattaneo and
Kokwe [
166
]: intercropping of maize with cowpea produced significantly greater yields
when compared to the conventional ridge-tillage system in eastern Zambia. The yield
benefits for smallholder farmers were higher in dry spells from conservation agriculture
systems than from conventional practice. However, crop performance was also dependent
on seasonal rainfall distribution regardless of the cropping system used [
188
]. Additionally,
a study by Omulo et al. [
189
] showed that mechanized conservation agriculture among
small- and medium-scale farmers had significant short-term economic advantages over
conventional methods, but it also made note that smallholder farmers would need access
to capital markets in order to hire equipment and purchase inputs. In the dry season, maize
gross margin was highest in farms using direct seeding plots (zero tillage) (790 USD/ha)
compared to farms using conventional practices (746 USD/ha). These effects are more
pronounced in soybean crops: direct seeding had the highest gross margins compared
to conventional practices in both seasons dry and wet (537 USD/ha and 392 USD/ha,
respectively).
Despite being a leader in Sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to promoting conservation
agriculture measures, Zambia has generally had poor adoption rates among smallholder
farmers. Cash and resource shortages, lack of access to agricultural inputs, incompatible
land management practices, such as land preparation by fire and livestock browsing,
insecure tenure rights and disincentives brought on by cultural practices, such as matrilineal
inheritance, all contribute to low adoption [
179
]. There is a need for tailoring CSA practices
in Zambia toward site-specific, considering the different conditions in the three agro-
ecological regions to enhance adoption.
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 21 of 32
4. General Discussion
From the analyzed literature, it is glaring that topics on the impact and perception
of CSA practices on smallholders are being documented in recent years; however, more
efforts are needed for more evidence. In Africa, as well as other countries in the world, such
as Myanmar [
190
], Nepal [
191
], Pakistan [
192
], Colombia [
193
], Brazil [
194
], China [
195
]
and India [
196
], several studies investigating farmers’ perception on climate change and
adaptation strategies have been conducted. Moreover, all these studies emphasized the
necessity to determine the factors that can hinder climate change information services and
help farmers in implementing the most appropriate adaptation strategies.
In the Southern African region (Malawi and Botswana), Simelton et al. [
197
] recorded
huge differences between what farmers perceived and meteorological data regarding
rainfall, rainfall variations and changes (onset, duration or cessation, amount, frequency,
intensity or inter-annual variability), and this lag is probably related to the confusion with
changes in farming system sensitivity. In the South-West region of Nigeria, smallholder
rice farmers’ perception of climate change intensity (temperature and precipitation) is often
influenced by farm size, farming experience, marital status and educational level [
160
].
The same results were reported in Ghana where farmers’ climate change perception is
influenced by their level of education and farming experience. Moreover, deforestation as
an anthropogenic factor seems to be the most important determining factor [198].
Depending on their perception, farmers adopt strategies to fight against the cli-
mate change effects, and these adaptation strategies are context- and locality-depen-
dent [112,199201]
. It was observed that the effect of climate change and vulnerability
were not the same in the countries we covered in this review. Since 1975, Algeria has
experienced a decline in rainfall and an increase in the frequency of flooding. The country,
which is ranked 18 out of 184 countries most vulnerable to drought, is experiencing a
spread of the desert, and nearly 10% of its population (3,763,800 people) is at risk. A record
heat wave in June 2003 that featured three weeks of high temperatures exceeding 40 C is
estimated to have caused 40 deaths [37,202,203].
The same disasters were observed in Senegal, but at very different levels and intensities,
floods occurred more frequently than droughts. In Gambia and Senegal rivers, heavy rains
can provoke floods, but droughts had more consequences affecting more people per event.
Moreover, sea-level changes and increased intensity of storm surges lead to coastal erosion
and pose a major threat to the population and economy. Sea-level rise is exacerbated by
the country’s geology (including sediment deficits, natural instability of slopes and surface
runoff) and threatens 74% of households living in coastal areas [
202
,
204
]. In Benin, sea-level
rise threatens the southern coastal region where over 50% of the population (over 3 million)
reside on the coast and in the city of Cotonou. The coast of Benin has been eroded for more
than 400 m in certain areas over the last 40 years. Moreover, floods and recurrent droughts
are becoming increasingly severe and more destructive, which has an impact on the spread
of infectious diseases, such as malaria, which accounted for around 40% of all visits to
health facilities [202,204].
Like in Benin, Nigeria has experienced recurrent floods that have become more fre-
quent all over the country. This has negatively affected agriculture, health, infrastructure
and the economy. Sea levels have been rising by the side of the coast of Nigeria, causing
erosion. Studies estimated that a 1 m rise in sea level could cause the loss of 75% of the
Niger Delta land. Furthermore, desertification has been occurring in Nigeria, and desert
conditions have been expanding southward [
202
,
205
]. In Zambia, between the years 2000
and 2007, the number, intensity and frequency of droughts and floods increased, affecting
41 districts of the nine provinces. Consequently, the size of the affected population has also
increased (from about 1.23 million in 2004-05 and 1.44 million in 2006-07) [202].
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 22 of 32
Data extracted from our database and the literature demonstrated that CSA practices
can be classified into six categories: agricultural practices, restoration practices of degraded
lands, forest and cropland regeneration practices, practices in the livestock sub-sector, water
resources and use of weather and climate information services [86,97,104,111,157].
From the SWOT analysis (Table 2), we can emphasize that among the constraints in the
implementation of adaptation practices and strategies against climate change and global
warming in African countries included in this review, the financial factor remains the most
important [
1
,
2
]. It is also noted that the involvement of donors is decisive in the access
and use of CSA. This is in agreement with data from the literature, where a significant
difference was recorded between the local farmers who had access to credit and those
who did
not [206,207].
Moreover, the implementation level of CSA practices can be influ-
enced by information campaigns (public discourse and/or the media). In Zimbabwe, the
effectiveness of climate CSA practices, as reported in newspapers, was assessed using quan-
titative data on crop production, animal production, fisheries, postharvest management,
food safety, value addition, marketing and administration as they relate to climate change.
According to the analysis of 469 articles on food security, climate change was discussed
in 22.6% of the articles, while 77.4% of the articles dealt with other food-security-related
topics [
208
]. These deficiencies in the dissemination of information were also recorded in
European countries. In Romania, Marinescu et al. [
209
] showed that journalists covering
sustainable food-related themes frequently lack a thorough understanding of the subject
and thus utilize sources insufficiently, leading to the spread of erroneous information. The
media’s coverage of sustainable food is severely limited as a result of this deficiency in
aspects relating to the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. This attitude of the actors
in the communication sector regarding CSA is probably due to the general policy of the
country in question. For instance, in Algeria, which is considered a “rentier state” (e.g.,
living on income from natural resource assets such as oil and gas), the extractive industry
plays a key role in the country’s economy, and therefore, climate change remains a very
sensitive subject [25].
In addition, other factors may also influence the choice of adaptation strategies
such as cultural and policy factors [
157
,
200
] and access to information on adaptation
methods [210,211].
Using results from 1800 Bangladeshi rice farm households in eight
groundwater-depleted and drought-prone districts of three climatic zones, Alauddin and
Sarker [212]
reported that inadequate and/or limited access to climate change information
(20.1%), appropriate knowledge of adaptation measures (18.0%) and information about
drought-resistant rice varieties (16.8%) represents a major barrier to climate change adapta-
tion strategies. To address this deficiency, scientific-based outcome research was used to
increase the effectiveness of climate adaptation management programs [213].
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 23 of 32
Table 2. SWOT factors affecting CSA practices in African countries involved in this review (Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Zambia).
STRENGHTS WEAKNESSES
Agriculture is among the largest sectors of the African economy
Traditional and extensive farming practices maintain local livelihoods
Biodiversity protection, ecosystem services improvement and habitat and landscape
conservation
Agriculture sector contributes significantly to the rural economy
Off-farm employment opportunities
Strong tourism sector (agritourism)
Downstream multiplier effect on employment in other sectors such as the forestry
sector
Climate change (irregularity, variability and unpredictability of rainfall, floods and drought)
Poor access to credit and financial resources
Low funding of scientific-based outcome research on CSA
Inadequate institutional support and policy
Gender inequality (i.e., labor force vs. productive asset ownership)
Low income in agriculture and livestock sectors compared to other sectors
Increase in input costs (fertilizers and pesticides, water, equipment, etc.)
Non-existence or low number of PDOs/PGIs or other product certifications
Lack of diverse employment opportunities compared to large urban centers
Lack of information campaigns concerning CSA practices, in public discourse or in the media
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
Improved access to credit and financial resources
Increasing demand for safe, sustainable, local and healthy food
New and innovative technology use to increase efficiency
Increase farmers’ knowledge of management tools
Further development of circular economy
Introduction of legislation to protect smallholder farmers
Changing climate allows diversification of crop type
Advances in crop breeding and plant genetics
Increased opportunities for rural women
Effects of climate change on farmers’ lives, crop and livestock yield.
Necessity for generational renewal to increase uptake of new technology
Loss of small-scale family farms and extensive farming practices
Rural exodus: current age profile of farmers/herd owners and succession planning
Market volatility, price variations and input costs
Concurrence with imported agricultural products
Increased disease and pest pressures introduced through weak biosecurity measures
Agricultural activities impact on the environment (deforestation, water quality)
Inappropriate land-use/soil management
Habitat loss due to changes in land uses
Sustainability 2022,14, 11370 24 of 32
5. Conclusions
The review explored the climate-smart agriculture practices adopted in five African
countries and the factors that can influence farmers’ choices in terms of strategies adopted,
as well as their perception of the effects of climate change. From north to south and from
west to east, the effects of climate change are not the same; consequently, the adopted strate-
gies are equally not the same. Data analyzed showed that CSA practices can be classified
into six categories: agricultural practices, restoration practices of degraded lands, forest
and cropland regeneration practices, practices in the livestock sub-sector, water resources
management and use of weather and climate information services. Moreover, CSA adapta-
tion strategies are often influenced by many factors such as financial resources mobilized by
the governments, policy legislation, accessibility to the information on adaptation methods,
climate change information and the intellectual level of the farmers.
To enhance the adoption of climate-smart strategies and practices in Africa, this review
recommends, among others, the use of scientific-research-driven adaptation measures and
the incorporation and prioritization of climate change in the governments’ development
agendas. Moreover, it is necessary to strengthen public agricultural extension services,
provide climate services to farmers, implement policies to guarantee food security and
enhance the human capital of farm households to reduce their vulnerability to climate
change.
In order to develop resilient terrains for sustainable agriculture in Africa, future
research should be designed for and oriented toward the most adapted CSA practices in the
areas studied as well as the constraints to their funding by governments. It is a promising
future topic area to develop new measurements and assessment methods with regard
to their suitability for covering not only biophysical (productivity, yields, etc.) but also
socio-economic (food security, poverty, gender) CSA practices, focusing on the smallholder
household level in CSA pillars (adaptation and mitigation).
Last but not least, strategies for CSA promotion should be reconsidered by using both
institutional support policy and technology packages utilized to boost productivity. This
could result in opportunities for CSA alternatives to be scaled up effectively.
Author Contributions:
T.O.A., E.D., E.N., N.S.D., O.O.A. and S.B.: Conceptualization, Data curation,
Formal analysis, Writing—original draft preparation, Writing—review and editing. The review’s
published version has been read by all authors, who have given their approval. All authors have
read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable.
Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.
Data Availability Statement:
The data collected and analyzed for this study can be shared upon request.
Acknowledgments:
Authors would like to acknowledge the African Women in Agricultural Research
and Development organization (AWARD: https://awardfellowships.org/) for their covering the
Article Processing Charges and for allowing us to participate in the Online Science Forum on climate
change and gender dimension during the One Planet Fellowship program.
Conflicts of Interest: No conflict of interest have been disclosed by the authors.
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