This short review focuses on climate-resilient agriculture or climate-smart agriculture (CSA) as it relates to decisions made at the farm level. The concepts of CSA have emerged in response to the need to manage a variable and changing climate and to a large extent, build on well-established agronomic principles and crop improvement. However, the objectives of CSA are much broader and encompass increasing productivity and incomes, adapting practices and technologies to a changing climate and minimising emissions from agriculture, including the capture of greenhouse gases into soils. CSA may encompass single technological innovations, packages of innovations (e.g., a bundle of agronomic practices with climate information for decision-making) through to the design of farms and farming systems to cope with climate variability and extreme events. Examples from semi-arid farming systems in India are used.
This review finds that in the semi-arid agroecology where the majority of livelihoods are dependent on agriculture, adaptation to climate change and extreme events is of paramount importance. Given the cross-sectoral nature of climate change impacts, improving the adaptive capacity of people requires an inter-disciplinary and gender sensitive approach to implementing climate-smart technologies, policies and institutions. Science–policy engagement efforts to accelerate climate action in agricultural systems are therefore key to enabling the sector to contribute to climate and food security goals. Increased cooperation and partnership between farming communities, researchers, extension, the public and private sectors are the basis for real advances in adapting to these enormous challenges.