Improving Security Through Climate & Nutrition-Smart Agriculture

Using climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices, PCI believes we can make a sustained and positive difference in helping vulnerable communities improve their nutrition and food security while adapting to climate change.

Improving Security Through Climate & Nutrition-Smart Agriculture

Using climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices, PCI believes we can make a sustained and positive difference in helping vulnerable communities improve their nutrition and food security while adapting to climate change.

Overview

Climate change is one of the most defining issues of our time and we are increasingly experiencing the repeated devastating effects such as droughts, floods, and storms. As weather patterns continue to change, poor communities, especially in developing nations, remain the most impacted.

Climate change affects multiple dimensions of food security—food availability, food

accessibility, and food systems stability. The disruptions resulting from cyclical droughts and floods directly impacts food production, changes in purchasing power, market flows, and community health. Changes in average temperatures, rainfall, and climate extremes threaten to negatively affect crop production and livestock health.

Smallholder farmers and pastoralists in developing countries are especially vulnerable as their production systems often lack the resources to manage an effective response to climate threats. These agriculture-based livelihood systems, which are already vulnerable to food insecurity, face immediate risk of increased crop failure, new patterns of pest infestation, and limited availability of seeds and planting materials adapted for new climate conditions. Their livestock productivity and mortality risk has increased due to inadequate access to water and reduced pasture and rangeland that supports grazing and prevents disease.

These combined factors make climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices core to sustainable household food security.

The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods

Climate change can have a dramatic, negative effect on food security and livelihoods, leaving the world’s most poor at risk—particularly women and children. This makes the implementation of climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices increasingly important. Here are just two of the ways climate change is impacting food and livelihood security.

Poor dietary diversity and health

Human health relies on a diverse diet of macro- and micronutrients that come from a range of foods such as fruits and vegetables and animal-sourced foods like meat, eggs, milk, and fish. Climate change puts local food systems not only at risk of insufficient quantities of food, but can also lead to a reduction in nutritionally diverse crops—meaning people won’t have access to the variety of foods their bodies need to thrive. Additionally, crops that are destroyed by pests or food that is spoiled due to poor storage negatively impacts both food supply and nutritional quality.

When agricultural production fails, household food availability and income significantly decreases. Families and communities are often forced to cope by skipping meals and substituting nutritious foods with lower-cost, nutrient poor staples. Without meals rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins malnutrition occurs, affecting the health of pregnant mothers and development of young children, which can result in permanent developmental delays.

Increased Losses

Smallholder farmers and poor rural households in developing nations are most at risk to the shocks and stresses of climate change. Changes in climate and increased natural disasters put farmers at greater risk of crop failure, livestock loss, and property damage which can result in devastating losses. The potential loss of income and food production, along with the cost of rebuilding homes, makes meeting basic daily needs like food, health care, childcare, and education extremely challenging for vulnerable families.

If farmers fail to adjust to the changing climate, it can also impact the quantity, quality, and variety of foods available to local communities, their household’s ability to purchase them, and market supply at large.

girls working

Strengthening Communities Through Climate-Smart & Nutritionally-Targeted Agriculture

PCI strives to improve food security for the world’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. We recognize that the climate is changing and believe climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector goes hand-in-hand with reducing the risk of food and nutrition insecurity. In turn, we seamlessly weave climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices into projects that are designed to strengthen the resilience of rural farmers and help them cope with the threat of food insecurity, nutritional deficiencies, and reductions in income.

Some of the climate-smart and nutritionally-targeted agriculture practices and technologies PCI promotes include conservation agriculture, introduction of various climate-adapted crops, production of nutritionally dense vegetables and fruits, integrated pest management, improved crop storage systems, rainwater harvesting and small-scale irrigation structures, improved production of poultry, goats, and sheep and livestock grazing systems, support for local animal healthcare providers, and regeneration of damaged watersheds through productive agroforestry approaches.

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Our Approach

PCI’s goal is to help vulnerable individuals and communities to become more food secure while improving their nutrition. By merging climate change adaptation, nutritionally sensitive production, household asset building, and shock mitigation into our sustainable agriculture development strategies we can address the closely linked challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition, and livelihood loss.

PCI understands that effective solutions are based on:

  • Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes,
  • Embedding nutritional planning in production,
  • Ensuring households build the assets needed to absorb inevitable shocks,
  • Adapting and building resilience to changing weather patterns while reducing greenhouse gas emissions whenever possible, and
  • Focusing on women’s empowerment.

The continuous application of these approaches lead to enhanced food security, improved nutrition, increased incomes for small-scale producers, and stronger household resilience to shocks.

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