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Climate smart agriculture rapid appraisal (CSA-RA): A tool for prioritizing context-specific climate smart agriculture technologies

Caroline Mwongera, Kelvin M. Shikuku, Jennifer Twyman, Peter Läderach, Edidah Ampaire, Piet Van Asten, Steve Twomlow, Leigh A. Winowiecki
Agricultural systems 2017 v.151 pp. 192-203
agroecological zones, climate, climate change, experts, farmers, farms, gender differences, interviews, issues and policy, private sector, rapid rural appraisal, researchers, socioeconomics, stakeholders, Tanzania, Uganda
Approaches that aim to identify and prioritize locally appropriate climate smart agriculture (CSA) technologies will need to address the context-specific multi-dimensional complexity in agricultural systems. The climate smart agriculture rapid appraisal (CSA-RA) is a mixed method approach that draws on participatory bottom-up, qualitative, and quantitative tools to assess the heterogeneity of local contexts, and prioritize context-specific CSA options. This is an imperative if countries are to respond to the COP21 agreement and meet their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). The CSA-RA is designed to assess biophysical including climatic, socio-cultural, economic and technological characteristics at the household, farm and community/regional level. The CSA-RA employs gender-disaggregated methods, including gender differences in perceptions of climate change and its impacts. The CSA-RA combines common participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and rapid rural appraisal (RRA) tools into one methodology, that disaggregates the gender dimension, and includes resource mapping; climate calendars; historical calendars; cropping calendars; organization mapping; transect walks; key informant interviews; farmer interviews; and pairwise ranking matrix. The tool collects qualitative and quantitative data from various stakeholders (farmers, local leaders, researchers, local-level agricultural experts, private sector actors, donor organizations, and policy implementers), allowing expansive analysis, triangulation and validation. Application of the CSA-RA in Tanzania and Uganda reveals heterogeneity across the sites in terms of vulnerability, constraints and CSA priorities among different social groups (gender) and agro-ecological zones. Thus, the CSA-RA allows stakeholders to simultaneously take into account biophysical and socio-economic aspects to target and implement CSA.