Ex ante mapping of favorable zones for uptake of climate-smart agricultural practices: A case study in West Africa uri icon


  • Developing relevant decision-support tools for policymakers to support large-scale implementa-tion of climate-smart agriculture in the Global South is challenging given the great diversity in biophysical, socio-technical, and organizational conditions. This article describes a pilot exercise inspired by the recommendation domain literature that aimed at mapping, beyond "classical" biophysical and socio-technical variables, the institutional variables (i.e., the existence of policy incentives in national policy documents) that could influence the large-scale implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices. Four practices were considered: cereal-legume intercrop-ping, fodder legume cultivation, farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) of Parkia biglo-bosa, and crop residue mulching. The biophysical and socio-technical variables were classified based on thresholds identified in the literature and mapped with a geographic information sys-tem. The policy documents considered were investment plans, adaptation plans for climate change, nationally determined contributions, and Technology Needs Assessments project reports. Sixteen policy documents for four countries were thoroughly reviewed and classified as unfa-vorable, intermediate, and favorable for the four selected practices, based on a decision tree built for that purpose. Our analysis shows that areas where biophysical, socio-technical, and institu-tional variables are aligned for the four practices considered are small, particularly for fodder legume cultivation and crop residue mulching. For cereal-legume intercropping, incentives from national policies strongly differ from one country to another while for FMNR of Parkia biglobosa policies are more homogeneously conducive across countries. Nonetheless, it was possible to identify areas where biophysical, socio-technical, and institutional dimensions of the transition toward climate-smart agriculture (CSA) were aligned, for example, cereal-legume intercropping in southern Mali. The delineating of favorable and unfavorable areas allows specific recommendations to be made for policymakers as levers for action differ in favorable, interme-diate, and unfavorable zones. Based on the exploration made for the four practices, this study highlights the need for further articulations from local to national scale to implement CSA.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020