Topic Guide: Climate change, food security and agriculture


This Topic Guide focuses on two major issues:

  • how climate change affects food security and agricultural growth
  • how programming around climate-smart agriculture can help adapt, build resilience and decrease greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating economic growth and poverty reduction in the agricultural sector.

Written for DFID staff, the Guide is suitable for non-experts and experts on food, farming and climate change. It is not a comprehensive manual, but aims to provide sufficient information to enable development professionals to take some practical steps in their day-to-day work, as well as to know where to look for more information.

The main message from this Topic Guide is that climate change is already affecting food security and agricultural growth under all types of agriculture, and is expected to continue to have an increasingly serious impact on smallholders and large scale agriculture. A well-considered approach that tackles both technical and structural issues in agriculture is essential, and can create a prosperous climate-resilient agricultural sector that enables inclusive growth.

The guide comprises 4 sections. Section 1 provides an overview of the challenge of climate change, food security and agriculture. Sections 2 and 3 focus on \"hot topics\" on climate smart agriculture (CSA) including: CSA practices, gender, the economics of climate change and agriculture, the debate around multiple benefits and financing CSA approaches. Section 4 looks at programming and draws out key messages for advisers and policy makers.

Two country case studies for Malawi and Nepal accompany the guide. Summaries are included in the text.

This Topic Guide has been produced by the Overseas Development Institute for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Adaptation Knowledge and Tools programme and published through Evidence on Demand.

The Adaptation Knowledge and Tools programme is a DFID-funded programme intended to maximise the effectiveness of UK and international investment in climate change adaptation and resilience. The knowledge and tools generated through this programme are expected to promote greater understanding of what constitutes best practice in adaptation, as well as better international cohesion and coordination around adaptation. Through these entry points the programme expects to increase the quality of international and UK adaptation programming and reduce its risk.


Grist, N. Topic Guide: Climate change, food security and agriculture. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) x + 63 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_tg.april2015.gristn]

Topic Guide: Climate change, food security and agriculture

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