Climate-smart agriculture and food security in MENA

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This article suggest for more climate-smart agriculture can bolster food security in the MENA region and is featured in Orient I/2023.

Climate change continues to attract significant research and policy interests, as a result of the large impacts of extreme weather and climate events on smallholder production and farming systems. Climate change leads to significant yield losses and renders smallholder farmers more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region which represents a hotspot for extreme weather events, these impacts of climate change are already increasingly felt, especially in the yields of staple crops, such as wheat and maize. The effects are particularly exacerbated by water scarcity and the aridity of the region. Climate-smart agriculture (CsA) as opposed to conventional agriculture offers to reverse some of these losses and build resilient farming systems. specifically, CsA aims to offer the triple wins of (1) increased productivity with ensuing implications on incomes and food security; (2) improving resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, and (3) reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (climate mitigation). We examine these linkages and highlight the relationship between CsA and food security in the MENA region. We discuss how CsA can be leveraged to achieve these triple wins paying some attention to a burgeoning literature that has documented these positive implications. We end with a discussion on some of the entry points to increase the adoption of CsA to enable viable food security in the region.

Martin Paul Jr. Tabe-Ojong is a Development Economist and works as an Associate research Fellow at the Development, strategy, and Governance Division of the International Food Policy research Institute (IFPrI), and is based in Cairo, Egypt. Passionate about international development, poverty reduction, and shared prosperity, his research focuses on selected strands in development, agricultural and behavioural economics using econometric impact evaluation. Previously, he has worked on issues covering agricultural transformation and rural development as well as aspirations and rural poverty. His ongoing work includes climate change adaptation, food security, social protection and labour market outcomes, digitalization in agriculture, and socioemotional skills. Martin holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Bonn,
Germany. He also holds an Msc in Agricultural and Food Economics from the same university where he was awarded the Hans H ruthenberg award for an excellent thesis from the Foundation Fiat Panis in 2019. He has advised and consulted for the World Bank, World Fish, ICrIsAT, the German Development Institute, Global Crop Diversity Trust, and, the Alliance for Bioversity and CIAT. He is highly skilled at data collection through household surveys with fieldwork and research stays in Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Egypt, and Cote d’Ivoire.

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