Box 1

Climate-Smart Agriculture: a major driver of the Green Economy

[See the Nyéléni Newsletter no 10]

An original initiative of the FAO and supported by the World Bank, Climate-Smart Agriculture claims that “achieving food security and responding to the challenges of climate change are two goals that must be achieved together” and “that’s why agriculture, fisheries and forestry in developing countries must undergo a significant transformation.”

At a superficial level C-S Agriculture seems like a positive initiative. But when we look at the details of what is included, we realize it is essentially a project to rebrand industrial agriculture as climate smart. C-S Agriculture deliberately tries to blur the boundaries between agroecological peasant controlled Food Sovereignty and corporate controlled agriculture. For example it doesn’t recognize that it is the corporate food system that creates climate emissions or the urgent need to completely move away from this system towards peasant based agro-ecology to help solve the climate crisis.

Climate-Smart Agriculture puts the agribusinesses in charge of agriculture and even rewards them.
Several major agribusinesses like Monsanto (GMOs) Yara (fertilizer) and Walmart (retail giant) are all backing Climate-Smart Agriculture. Monsanto is claiming that GM agriculture is climate smart because it helps no-till farming and drought tolerance. Yet as we know from decades of experience, GMOs increase the use of agrotoxics, promote corporate agriculture and, in addition, have not produced a single useful trait to adapt to climate change.

Moreover, Climate-Smart Agriculture promotes agriculture to become a part of carbon offset schemes that will create one more driver of land dispossession of small-scale food producers, particularly in the Global South, and unfairly place the burden of mitigation on those who are most vulnerable to, but have least contributed to, the climate crisis [Civil Society Organizations letter (September 2014) Corporate-Smart Greenwash: why we reject the Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture] also expanding the carbon market and its use for financial speculation [Via Campesina (September 2014) UN-masking Climate Smart Agriculture].

Climate-Smart Agriculture “tries to cover-up and hide the need for genuine agriculture and land reform. It also hides, and lies about, the issue of scarcity of land and natural resources. Land and natural resources are only scarce for peasant and small holding farmers because of grabs by corporations [Via Campesina (September 2014) UN-masking Climate Smart Agriculture]”. Many Governments find Climate-Smart Agriculture attractive and are taking part in its initiatives.

Let’s mobilize to stop them.