Strengthening the Resilience of Climate-Smart Agricultural Systems and Value Chains in the Union of Comoros

Project Overview

Comoros is particularly vulnerable to climate change, like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Due to its location and topography Comoros is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, and 54.2 percent of the population live in at-risk areas. The climate risk index of 25.33 for the year 2019 places the Comoros 16th (out of 180) of the countries most at risk. This value is mainly attributable to the passage of Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019 while the longer-term climate risk index, for the period 2000-2019, is 90.00 corresponding to the 97th rank. Comoros is extremely vulnerable to the amplification of rainfall variability linked to climate change, especially since the rural population is entirely dependent on rainwater harvesting. Models predict an increase in the annual average temperature, as well as increasing and intensifying risks associated with climate change, such as sea level rise, floods, droughts, and cyclones. Climate impacts are impacting agriculture, vulnerable ecosystems and livelihoods.

The proposed project “Strengthening the Resilience of Climate-Smart Agricultural Systems and Value Chains in the Union of Comoros” will aim to increase the resilience of 98,000 people, over 11% of the Comoros population, by focusing on key agricultural value chains vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including vanilla, ylang-ylang, and clove, the three main Comorian export commodities. The intervention will build capacities and support investments in climate-smart practices, more autonomous supply of inputs, better climate risk management and better access to knowledge and training, providing resilient livelihoods options for smallholders while reducing import dependence and increasing access to better quality, locally produced food. Implemented over a period of five years with an allocation of US$10 million from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund, the intervention will build on and make US$46 million worth of co-financed investments in agriculture and transportation in Comoros more resilient to climate change impacts. The project is aligned with and contributes to the Emerging Comoros Plan 2030, the flagship national strategy guiding the country’s development and green recovery efforts.

 

*The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations or UNDP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Expected Outcomes

Outcome 1: Enhanced capacity of national institutions and actors involved in agricultural development to guide, plan, supervise and implement climate-resilient practices.

Outcome 2: Increased resilience of agricultural actors through the identification and promotion of new climate-resilient value chain options with good prospects for profitability, increased access to national and international market information and equitable benefit sharing.

Outcome 3: Increased adoption of climate-resilient practices and crops/varieties by smallholder farmers and  value chains actors facilitated by support systems and adequate provision of inputs and resources.

Outcome 4: Improved development, management and dissemination of knowledge related to adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change to support the replication of climate-resilient solutions among CRDEs, nationally and in the region.

 

Project Details

Levels of Intervention

National

Source of Funds

Global Environment Facility - Least Developed Countries Fund

Key Implementers

National Governments
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Funding Amounts

US$10 million
US$46 million (Government of Comoros, UNDP)

Project Partners

Government of Comoros
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project Dates

2023 to 2028

Introduction

Comoros is particularly vulnerable to climate change, like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Due to its location and topography Comoros is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, and 54.2 percent of the population live in at-risk areas. The climate risk index of 25.33 for the year 2019 places the Comoros 16th (out of 180) of the countries most at risk. This value is mainly attributable to the passage of Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019 while the longer-term climate risk index, for the period 2000-2019, is 90.00 corresponding to the 97th rank. Comoros is extremely vulnerable to the amplification of rainfall variability linked to climate change, especially since the rural population is entirely dependent on rainwater harvesting. Models predict an increase in the annual average temperature, as well as increasing and intensifying risks associated with climate change, such as sea level rise, floods, droughts, and cyclones. Climate impacts are impacting agriculture, vulnerable ecosystems and livelihoods.

The proposed project “Strengthening the Resilience of Climate-Smart Agricultural Systems and Value Chains in the Union of Comoros” will aim to increase the resilience of 98,000 people, over 11% of the Comoros population, by focusing on key agricultural value chains vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including vanilla, ylang-ylang, and clove, the three main Comorian export commodities. The intervention will build capacities and support investments in climate-smart practices, more autonomous supply of inputs, better climate risk management and better access to knowledge and training, providing resilient livelihoods options for smallholders while reducing import dependence and increasing access to better quality, locally produced food. Implemented over a period of five years with an allocation of US$10 million from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund, the intervention will build on and make US$46 million worth of co-financed investments in agriculture and transportation in Comoros more resilient to climate change impacts. The project is aligned with and contributes to the Emerging Comoros Plan 2030, the flagship national strategy guiding the country’s development and green recovery efforts.

 

Barriers

Barrier 1. Insufficient capacities at different levels to plan and implement innovative agro-pastoral practices adapted to changing climatic conditions, oversee their adoption and train relevant parties.

(i) Limited capacities of CRDEs to provide local advisory, extension and agricultural support services to adapt practices to climate change: The weak capacities of CRDEs do not allow them to adequately fulfill their mandate, which is to supervise agricultural development, due to i) insufficient staffing caused by the constraint of hiring staff within the civil service, and ii) deficient skills. In some cases, the staff in place do not have the skills required to fulfill the functions entrusted to them (especially in the case of partisan recruitment) and certain profiles defined within CRDE staff - in particular planning and monitoring-evaluation - are not fulfilled. On the one hand, many technicians working in CRDEs are inadequately trained and have clearly insufficient technical capacities. On the other hand, technicians with adequate skills are available but are not recruited due to recruitment constraints within the public service. The CRDEs do not have the necessary resources to ensure the salary of the technicians who have acquired relevant work experience through their involvement in the CRCCA project. As a result, some CRDEs are not sufficiently operational, are understaffed and have insufficiently qualified staff. Continuing education opportunities for staff, especially to be better able to face the challenges of climate adaptation, are limited by the lack of a relevant curriculum in academic institutions. (ii) Insufficient capacities of the various actors responsible for planning, developing, disseminating climate-resilient practices is another key obstacle to their widespread adoption and implementation. Such capacity gaps exsit for the following actors and include: Insufficient technical capacity of state actors (DNSAE, regional directorates of Agriculture, CRDEs), local authorities (municipalities - mayors and councillors), non-state actors (national NGOs), and the private sector (especially for cash crops: collectors, vanilla preparers, exporters) to identify, develop and implement strategies and tools to oversee the adaptation to climate change of long-term agro-pastoral activities. (iii) The vulnerability of farmers is linked in particular to a lack of know-how and adaptive capacity and weak entrepreneurial capacities. Farmers and breeders have little mastery of sustainable cultivation techniques (soil preparation, organic fertilization, selection and access to adapted varieties, fodder cultivation, irrigation, pest and disease control), and lack the knowledge, know-how and models to adapt their practices on land that has lost its fertility, in unpredictable and restrictive hygrometric conditions, and to develop sustainable agriculture that strengthen climate resilience, including agro-pastoralism and agroforestry. The practices and calendars that have traditionally guided farmers are no longer adequate in the face of new climate conditions. The poor computer literacy and lack of openness to technological innovation of older farmers further limit their ability to adapt their practices to the challenges posed by climate change. (iv) There is insufficient technical knowledge and access to guidance /advice and information on technical pathways, technologies, infrastructure and markets to support the transition of agricultural systems to greater climate resilience based on healthier ecosystems. The traditional cropping calendar is inadequate; farmers still rely on predictions of elders based on unscientific practices, lack the knowledge for the identification and treatment of diseases and pests, and do not know enough about the diversification opportunities achievable in the Comoros. Short-term weather conditions are available and adequately cover the country, but the data is not translated into a crop calendar. Knowledge of parasite and disease infestations is insufficient and inadequately disseminated (mandate of INRAPE). Lack of information on prices (especially for cash crops) limits negotiating capacities. Access to information about market opportunities and requirements is inadequate.

Barrier 2. Lack of knowledge of alternative climate-adapted options with the potential to support a prosperous, diversified and equitable agricultural economy and insufficient political and private support for their adoption.

The vulnerability of Comorian agriculture to the effects of climate change is largely due to its lack of diversity and lack of knowledge and capacity to identify and develop alternative climate-resilient value chain options, and to assess their productive and commercial potential. In fact, the agricultural sector in Comoros is based on a narrow base limited to three cash crops and a few vegetable and food crops vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Furthermore, Comorian food products, which are mainly de facto organic[1], are more expensive than imported products despite the transport costs associated with imports. Imported food and vegetable crops, mainly from Tanzania and Madagascar, are grown industrially and therefore at lower cost. Consumers who can afford it prefer local products because they recognize the superior quality of organic terroir products. However, consumers with limited means are more likely to be reluctant or unable to buy it. The higher cost of local Comorian products is explained by the artisanal nature of the work, the remoteness of certain production areas which hamper access to local markets, and lack of access to market information for CRDEs, farmers, cooperatives, and other value chain actors. As a result, traditional agriculture is unprofitable, particularly in rural areas remote from urban markets, which limits young people's interest in this profession. Constraints to the fluidity of national markets, limited market connectivity (national and international), and lack of access to market information limit sustainable economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, due in particular to the country's insular nature, geographic remoteness, lack of reliable and regular transportation means between islands and suitable port infrastructure and lack of connection with reliable and predictable buyers. The profitability of agricultural activity is even more limited for smallholder farmers who are not integrated into cooperatives. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to other actors in the value chains who may take precedence in determining the conditions of production and the prices granted for the products, resulting in an inequitable sharing of profits. Another significant limitation to the profitability of Comorian agricultural products is the lack of processing and marketing capacities.

The diversification of agriculture through the development of new climate-resilient options that would give an edge in international markets, such as uniqueness of properties, is hampered by the lack of analytical capacity to perform the required characterization analyses. The Comoros agrobiodiversity, e.g. local coffee and ginger varieties, have unique characteristics that could be leveraged in niche markets. These characteristics must be documented and certified on the basis of biological and physico-chemical analyses which, currently, must be carried out by laboratories located in countries whose commercial interests may be in competition with Comorian interests, in addition to requiring complex logistics for the transport of samples to be analyzed.

Public and private investments for building the climate resilience of agricultural value chains and their diversification are limited due to the widespread negative perception of agriculture in Comorian society, coupled with the lack of awareness of its vulnerability to climate change and of its potential to evolve into a productive and resilient sector by decision-makers and investors disconnected from the reality on the ground. Another obstacle to improving the climate-resilience of agricultural practices is linked to the low attractiveness of agricultural activity for the younger generations who perceive the profession as obsolete and too risky because they do not have the assets or capital to deal with the risks inherent in adopting innovative agricultural practices. Faced with the urgency of daily needs, the elderly - who constitute a large part of the smallholders - are reluctant to adopt new practices because of resistance to change when facing new technologies, of too large gap between significant labor-intensive investments for soil conservation and restoration and other climate-adapted practices and the achievement of tangible effects, in a context where their livelihoods are precarious and known alternatives limited, leading them to pursue unsustainable land management practices for small short-term gains.

Barrier 3. Limited use of technologies and approaches to mitigate climate-related risks and low access to credit on appropriate terms to support smallholder farmers’ shift towards climate resilient agricultural value chains.

The adoption of resilient agricultural practices and approaches is hampered by the weak capacity to manage risks and uncertainties generated by climate change which is linked to the lack of knowledge on alternative options (barrier 2), on risk management approaches and on agricultural practices that increase resilience to climate change. Low financial autonomy and the difficulty of access to credit on appropriate terms for farmers, especially for men, worsens vulnerability to climate risks, and the culture of savings is insufficiently widespread in rural areas. Insufficient or lack of savings makes smallholder farmers very vulnerable to the effects of climate change since they do not have the resources to, for example, buy seeds for a second sowing following the failure of the first due to shifted or adverse weather conditions, or to purchase the equipment needed to adopt agricultural practices that increase climate resilience.

Lack of timely access to affordable agricultural inputs: Micro-irrigation equipment, tools, and seeds of varieties resilient to the new climatic conditions are difficult to access because they are imported and expensive. The lack of autonomous and timely local production of quality seeds and local supply of low-cost equipment maintains the dependence of farmers on external suppliers and results in prohibitive costs for the supply of suitable seeds, micro-irrigation equipment and with suitable tools

Lack of access to arable land due to the shortage and degradation of agricultural land and land tenure insecurity: Many plots are no longer fertile due to unsustainable soil management and support is needed to ensure restoration of soil fertility by techniques of soil conservation and restoration, agroforestry and agropastoralism, such as hedging. Also, the farmers who operate the state plots rent them out on the basis of an annual contract which allows them to cultivate them (about 10,000 KMF (≈ $ 23) per year). This situation is not conducive to the investments needed for the adaptation of agricultural practices.

Barrier 4: Limited consolidation and dissemination of knowledge on successful models and strategies (including developed by farmers) for the adaptation of agricultural practices to climate risks hinders their large-scale replication and limits the impact of efforts aimed at climate adaptation of agricultural value chains. CRDEs and national institutions concerned with climate adaptation of the agricultural sector do not have access to a sound knowledge base built from reliable data to support expert advice to manage climate risks appropriately and integrate it into agricultural land development plans and other guidance tools to support farmers in their decision-making. Farmers are thus left to resort to their traditional knowledge and non-adapted crop calendars and tools leading to inappropriate timing for agricultural works and maladapted practices, which results in a significant decrease and even a loss of yields.

Knowledge of climate-smart practices by all agricultural stakeholders is limited and not adequately recorded and disseminated. Also, the limited access of actors in agricultural value chains to appropriate information on agriculture, livestock, and climate prevents them from integrating climate risks into their decision-making. There is hardly any research being done in agriculture, and even less on the adaptation of the agricultural environment to climate change, whether by INRAPE, the University of the Comoros or the National Horticultural Center. In recent years, rare agricultural censuses have been carried out sporadically. There is currently no systematic monitoring of agricultural production at the national level, nor involvement of producers in the monitoring and evaluation of productions resulting from the adoption of new practices. Currently, the collection of agricultural data is limited to farmers supervised by CRDEs and to the production of CRDEs. Each CRDE collects data separately following a protocol defined by partners (through projects), so that the data cannot be compiled to give an overview of agricultural production in the country. The dissemination of knowledge developed by CRDEs is mainly through relay-farmers and limited to farmers in their territory and is not shared with all other CRDEs, even less so with other farmers, so that farmers who depend on poorly performing CRDEs have limited exposure to adaptation solutions that could improve the climate resilience of their agricultural activities. Capacities to develop and access best practices, information and technical know-how to support the development of guidelines for climate change adaptation in agriculture are nascent and need to be strengthened.

Barrier 5: Limited understanding of challenges and barriers specific to women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in adopting practices that promote agricultural climate resilience. Limited understanding of women and PWDs specific challenges and barriers limits the design and implementation of appropriate measures to address them and adopt an inclusive approach when strengthening agricultural resilience. Statistics show that the agricultural sector employs more women than men in the Comoros (CDN 2021). According to an ongoing project[2], 75% of farmers in Mwali are women. However, although women work more than men, men are much more often the owners of agricultural land and cultural traditions reduce the participation of women in decision-making. Women are mainly responsible for food crops and market gardening and in poultry farming. They also work in cash crops but very little in their marketing. Gender-specific differences, needs, roles, climatic and socio-economic vulnerabilities and priorities regarding different tasks across agricultural value chains have evolved in recent years, may vary among islands, and are not clearly documented. People living with disabilities (PWDs) are present in all communities but are mostly kept out so that they cannot earn a fair living, nor contribute to the economy and national growth. Although their representation within the population is not adequately documented in the absence of a comprehensive demographic census, it is estimated that over 60% of PWDs have never attended school and 67% are inactive[3]. Although new approaches and techniques that are less labor intensive are now available, PWDs are not encouraged to get involved in value chains. Lack of awareness of the obstacles to the integration of PWDs into agricultural value chains and their equitable access to the resulting benefits limits the development of solutions.

Such knowledge is essential for designing interventions where women and PWDs will be fully involved in all stages of the project, including those that involve decision-making and planning, capacity building that meets their specific needs, and concrete support for the application of climate-resilient agricultural practices. Also, women representation in governance bodies within CRDEs, cooperatives, unions, and other instances across the value chains is not representative of their actual participation in the sector. Without adopting a fully inclusive and participatory approach with particular attention to women, youth and PWDs, projects cannot ensure that vulnerable community members benefit equitably from the CRDEs extension services, such as demonstrations and close support for the adoption of climate-adapted practices and varieties that contribute to a sustainable development of agriculture in the future. A specific focus on women and PWDs and their economic empowerment is crucial for the sustainability of the long-term solution proposed by the project and, more generally, for the resolution of gender-related issues for a climate-resilient development.




T[1] The use of pesticides is limited in Comoros due to their unavailability and high cost.

[2] PREFER project, quoted on March 13, 2022 in the Gazette des Comores.

[3] UNDP 2021, Country Programme Document

 

Key Results and Outputs

Component 1. Systemic, institutional and individual capacities for climate-resilient agriculture includes one outcome: Outcome 1. Enhanced capacity of national institutions and value chain actors involved in agriculture development to guide, plan, supervise and implement climate-resilient practices. The strategy for achieving outcome 1 is based on 3 outputs related to capacity development (i) of the institutional actors responsible for developing climate-adapted solutions and of CRDEs responsible to provide extension services to support their adoption, and (ii) of smallholder farmers, collectors and retailers to help them cope with the risks and uncertainties related to climate change, and (iii) through the development of guidance tools to support the adoption of climate-resilient practices. The development of institutional capacities will facilitate the replication of the lessons of this project to the whole agricultural community and will allow the continuous adaptation of tools and approaches to the evolution of the climate.

1.1 Capacity development plans elaborated and implemented to increase the institutional skills required to plan, develop, disseminate, and support the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural practices among smallholder farmers, and value chain actors. In 2013, the government established a network of sixteen (later expanded to nineteen) Rural Economic Development Centers (CRDEs) in rural areas of the country to supervise rural development programs for the improvement of the economy through the production and environmental protection sectors. CRDEs are local support structures for farmers responsible for providing services adapted to their needs to strengthen the resilience of agricultural systems and value chains. The CRDEs are in particular responsible for training farmers, providing technical extension services, support and advice to producers, supervising professional organizations, ensuring the collection and management of data, providing support to improve rural populations' access to agricultural inputs and supporting the development of basic infrastructure (eg hydraulics, supply, etc.). CRDEs will therefore be key beneficiaries of the project's capacity building interventions and will be at the centre of the project interventions to support small agricultural enterprises and other value chain actors. The rationale for the selection of target intervention areas is presented in section 1b. Project Map and Coordinates.

Strengthening the capacities of CRDEs will require a significant involvement of the public administration to support the recruitment of staff with adequate training meeting the profiles defined for CRDEs and ensure their continuing training and include aspects of adaptation to climate change in the training curriculum for agricultural technicians (University of Comoros and National Horticultural Center): a) Redeployment of institutional staff: Faced with the recruitment constraint within the public service, the project will advocate with the authorities within the ministry and the national and regional directorates and the Governorates of each island for the redeployment of staff from the administrations towards the CRDEs. The Regional Directorate is responsible for proposing the assignment of technicians to the CRDEs and the ministry is responsible for their recruitment. b) The project will support the definition of criteria for the selection of candidates for the assignment of personnel to CRDEs to ensure that they have the capacity to fulfill the responsibilities of the personnel (Director, Accountant Manager, Administrative Assistant and Technicians of the Center) as defined in Article 14 of Decree No. 13-015 relating to the status of Rural Economic Development Centers (CRDE). For each of these positions, the project will provide details on the requirements and skills required and will specify the need to work in rural areas. c) The project will support the establishment of a continuous training system and promote self-training focused on adaptation and resilience to climate change for CRDE staff. The project will work with institutions that provide training (National Horticultural Center and UdC) in order to include these themes in their curricula. Also, online resources are available (fr.csa.guide) to facilitate self-training in climate-smart agriculture on the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) and CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) websites. Modules have also been developed by FAO and are available in French. d) The project will support the development of a training of trainers’ program (namely in collaboration with FOFIFA and FIFAMANOR of Madagascar), which will target technicians within the staff of CRDEs who have more capacities in the most relevant areas. The trainings will cover different themes relating to climate-smart agriculture, including the selection and production of suitable seeds. e) The project will support the strengthening of the skills of CRDEs in communication and their essential role as extension centers focused on the development, evaluation, demonstration and dissemination of improved and climate-resilient agricultural practices to farmers, and their support throughout their adaptation to new techniques and approaches as well as in the traceability process through digital platforms and technological solutions.

This output is also focusing on strengthening the capacities of the other parties responsible for planning and supporting the implementation of climate-adapted agricultural practices, namely the National Directorate of Agricultural and Livestock Strategies (DNSAE), local authorities, NGOs and the private sector. Based on assessments of capacity development needs, the project will support the strengthening of the technical capacities of state actors (DNSAE and regional directorates for Agriculture), local authorities (municipalities, including the mayor and councillors), NGOs (including DAHARI, ARAF, Initiative Développement, Ngochao, 2 Mains, GAD, Mesha, and the Jeune Chambre Internationale), and the private sector (especially in relation to cash crops including collectors, vanilla preparers, exporters) to identify vulnerabilities to climate change in agricultural and pastoral activities, and develop and implement long-term adaptation strategies, through training, dissemination of knowledge through various media, and the development of action research involving these actors. (b) The project will support the development of the capacity to develop and update agricultural land use plans and agricultural calendars through the establishment (composition, terms of reference and resources) of a multidisciplinary working committee in charge of to develop and update the agricultural calendar on an annual basis and based on meteorological data and the analysis of the vulnerabilities of the various segments of the targeted sectors.

1.2 Training packages developed and delivered by CRDEs to farmers and agriculture value chain actors to enable the implementation of climat risk reduction measures. To achieve this output, the project will target local farmers, men, women, youth, and people with disabilities (PWDs), working individually or within cooperativeswith a special consideration given to facilitating attendance by women and PWDs. Capacity development needs will be assessed during the preparation of the project document (PPG). The trainings will be organized by the CRDEs who will also ensure the demonstration of climate-adapted practices within their plots, and will be provided by relay farmers, to build the capacity of farmers to understand and assess the effects of climate change on the condition of plots, crops and livestock, and to identify appropriate measures to improve it. Where appropriate, training will take advantage of the digital platform of the CRDE network, which aims, among other things, to facilitate access to online trainings on climate-smart agriculture and the digital transition.

Measures to improve climate resilience may include: i) improvement of soil condition to restore or increase productive capacity and counter erosion; ii) selection of new climate-resilient agricultural crops and varieties, and livestock options, suitable to local weather and soil condition of the plots (identified under the output 2.1 and in line with guidance provided in the agricultural land use plans under the output 1.3) and to the needs and interests of farmers; iii) adoption of practices (such as agroforestry, hedging, associated crops, agropastoralism) that strengthen the climate resilience of agriculture and livestock, and identified under the output 3.1.

In accordance with a national strategy to encourage actors to further specialize within value chains, training will also address aspects of processing, marketing and packaging of agricultural products. The climate change impacts on these segments of the value chains will be assessed to identify vulnerabilities and required adaptation mesures to increase their climate resilience, and develop/implement related trainings.

To further reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in the context of climate change, the project will equally support the establishment or strengthening of local farmers cooperatives and improve their capacities in governance, microfinance and micro-entrepreneurship. To contribute to the financial sustainability of the climate-responsive solutions proposed under the project, trainings will include the development of business models that integrate the depreciation cost of inputs (e.g. infrastructure) into the price determination of products.

1.3 Guidance plans and tools to support the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture are designed, assessed, and disseminated on the basis of the analysis of the climatic and socio-economic vulnerability of each of the sectors of the targeted value chains, and include agricultural land use plans, crop calendars, advice sheets on varieties and agricultural practices for adapted varieties including for market gardening, cash crops, food crops, fodder, and for agroforestry including hedging (embocagement). To achieve this output, the project will undertake: (a) Climate and socioeconomic vulnerability analysis for all sections of targeted value chains. In order to identify the main issues affecting the value chains of targeted cash crop and market gardening and to better define the interventions needed to strengthen their resilience, the project will involve the value chains actors to document and assess climate, environmental, and socioeconomic vulnerability in all sections of the value chains. The vulnerability assessment will integrate the results of the assessments conducted by the CGIAR for tomatoes, bananas and manioc crops based on exposure to several factors related to climate change[1]. As part of the vulnerability analysis, the project will develop value chain climate risk profiles. Assessments of the impacts of climate change often focus on production while neglecting the other components of value chains. However, successful adaptation requires thinking about how climate change will affect all aspects of the value chain. It is proposed to carry out this reflection with the stakeholders concerned by following the approach of climate risk profiles[2]. Discussions will take place with value chain actors, i.e. producers, collectors, cooperatives and exporters, including the local populations involved, on their perception and experience of climate change and its impact on cultivation, harvesting, storage, transportation and processing of products. These discussions will also involve support and supervision structures for agricultural production in the field (CRDE) to consolidate understanding of the risks and effects/impacts of climate change on the different segments of the value chains. These consultations will help identify the individual and institutional actions and capacities needed at each level for the design and adoption of effective climate change adaptation measures, such as climate-smart agriculture practices or access to innovative information/communication tools or technologies that facilitate their adaptation. Solutions will be identified for each segment of the value chains – inputs, production, collection, storage, processing and marketing – to increase the adaptive capacity of value chain actors to climate change. This exercise will make it possible, among other things, to identify the most vulnerable actors (men-women-young people-people with disabilities) within each of the value chains. In addition, the review will document the land tenure situation of cultivated plots as well as governance, gender and inclusion issues in order to identify the challenges to tackle so that value chains are resilient, inclusive, sustainable and that the benefits are equitably accessible and distributed among the different actors, as between men and women.

(b) Agricultural land use plans within the areas supported by each of the CRDEs: The project will support planning for optimal land development that takes into account projections of climate change and its impacts, as well as the potentials and vulnerabilities of current and new crops using the FAO Ecocrop tool[3]. This planning will build on existing plans for individual plots (approximately 75% of smallholder farmers have developed climate-adapted land use plans for their individual plots, with the support of CRDEs, that take soil and climate into account) and knowledge, including studies carried out by CGIAR as part of the development of an IFAD project. Such plans will integrate the planning carried out for protected areas under the UNDP-GEF project and the planning carried out for the Mwali Island Biosphere Reserve with support from AFD. (c) Crop calendar: Development of an agricultural calendar adjusted to new weather conditions, supplied and updated on an ongoing basis according to the acquisition of new knowledge. (d) Operating plans: The project will support the parties concerned to develop or update plans for agricultural and agro-pastoral operations at the individual, cooperative and CRDEs levels. (e) Online tool: The project will support the development of an online tool to provide advice to farmers and disseminate knowledge on climate-smart agro-ecological practices on the basis of knowledge and best practices developed in the Comoros by CRDEs, farmers and other stakeholders in the sector[4]. The feasibility of enhancing the efficiency of the real-time dissemination of agrometeorological forecasts by contracting the dissemination of messages to individual operators to telephone companies will be assessed.

Component 2. Diversification of climate-resilient value chains includes one outcome: Outcome 2. Increased resilience of agricultural actors through the identification and promotion of new climate-resilient value chain options with good prospects for profitability, increased access to national and international market information and equitable benefit sharing. To achieve outcome 2, the project will support interventions to identify new value chain options which climate-resilience, profitability on national and/or international markets, and social acceptability will have been carefully assessed and validated with the support of CRDEs and INRAPE strengthened expertise. To achieve result 2, the project will support interventions aimed at identifying new value chain options whose climate resilience, uniqueness of components or properties, profitability in national and/or international markets and social acceptability will have been carefully assessed and validated with the support of the CRDEs and the enhanced expertise of INRAPE. Increased awareness of actors within national institutions, policymakers and private sector investors not only on the challenges posed by climate change to Comorian agriculture, but also on the potential brought by a diversity of new adapted value chains to the country's climate and environmental conditions, and by agricultural practices that will make it possible to increase the resilience of traditional crops, will promote the political support needed to make the changes, particularly at the level of the CRDEs, and mobilize the investments required from the private sector to develop value chains. Equity in benefit sharing between value chain actors and decent incomes are essential elements for the sustainability and replicability of the solutions developed under the project and will be ensured through the above-mentioned investments, political support and negotiation. and the signing of agreements between value chain actors ensuring the equitable sharing of benefits. Access to market information will enable value chain actors to position supply in relation to existing markets and negotiate appropriate prices commensurate with the quality and uniqueness or rarity of the products offered. Benefits to smallholder farmers will be optimized through developing product processing and marketing capacities, and improving CRDEs’ capacities to organize the distribution and the marketing through fairs, as inspired by Diboini CRDE’s successful experience, and promoting the multiple advantages of organic and fair-trade agriculture on the local and national scene and promoting the quality and specificity of Comorian products on the national, regional and international markets. This component will build on the contributions of co-financing projects aiming at eliminating obstacles in the commercial circuits (building on the achievements of co-financing partners for road rehabilitation, including Sima -Moya and other rural roads (BafD, PIDC-BM, AFIDEV-AFD).

2.1 Identification of climate-adapted agricultural varieties and livestock breeds to develop climate resilient and profitable value chains. A major focus of the project is to help famers shift from a few climate-vulnerable crops to a diverse selection of climate-resilient agricultural and livestock options that can support the development of profitable value chains. Diversification is an integral part of the strategy to build climate resilience, reduce risk and increase the chance of ultimate success. A more diverse array of crops/varieties is more likely to contain varieties that provide overall resilience to a farmer’s field (or to the several fields of a farmers’ group), as there is a greater chance of any one or a few of them having traits that enable them to adapt to a changing climate, or that confer resistance to new pests or diseases whose spread is favored by climate change. Diversifying farmers’ sources of income and spreading harvests and revenues throughout the year will also contribute to strengthen farmers resilience to climate change.

This will be achieved by identifying new climate-adapted cash and garden crops and livestock options whose demand is strong on national or international markets, which only require small areas (thus reducing the risk of expansion of cultivated areas at the expense of natural forests), which production cycle is short, and which can be processed locally[5]. (a) As part of the PPG, a series of Comorian products will be examined including varieties endemic to the Comoros or which have become rare on a regional or global scale and products whose specificity is based on traditional production techniques that meet the requirements of agroecological cultivation[6]. For each variety, the review will focus on the identification of its soil and climatic requirements and their correspondence in the Comorian context, the investigation of distinctive assets in existing and potential markets and will also include an assessment of the interest of farmers, men, women and youth. (b) The project will also seek to strengthen the climate resilience of market gardening sectors targeting local markets in order to increase household self-sufficiency and food security, reduce the need to import lower quality products, while creating new jobs, especially for women and young people. The project will work with CRDEs to demonstrate and disseminate adaptation solutions whose effectiveness has been demonstrated within the framework of the CRCCA project and will develop solutions based on soil-less cultivation of short-cycle varieties, which can be grown on small areas in urban or peri-urban areas (where the majority of the Comorian population is concentrated), using hydroponic systems with reduced water and input requirements, and therefore attractive and more accessible for young Comorians.

The project will also contribute to strengthening the climate resilience of poultry and goat farming value chains targeting local markets through the identification and assessment of new climate-resilient breeds. Integrating the rearing of climate-resistant goat and poultry breeds into the family economy will help increase self-sufficiency and food security for families, reduce the need to import lower quality products, while creating new jobs accessible to women and PWDs.

For poultry farming, the project will support the development of the CRDEs’ capacities to develop Kuroiler type breed chicken farming practices adapted to the Comorian climate, to demonstrate them, and to provide training to farmers. The project will build on a study conducted in 2019 by the Tanzanian company AKM Glitters on behalf of the Diboini/Hamalengo CRDE and UNDP-Comoros, to assess the situation of the poultry sub-sector in Comoros and recommend solutions adapted to the Comorian context and climate, with the intention of relaunching the subsector in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the cyclone Kenneth.

Goat and cattle breeding is practiced by many people in rural areas, especially young people and women. Goats generally possess high thermotolerance compared to large ruminants such as cattle that enable them to maintain their production under extreme climate conditions and to play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, namely i) their higher capacity than other farm ruminants to effectively convert feed sources into milk and meat, ii) their lower methane emissions in comparison to other domestic ruminants. For the rearing of goats, the project will promote a sustainable intensification approach through the hedging technique (embocagement) which has long been proven in the Comoros, especially in Ndzuani and the building of goat sheds[7] to protect them from predation. By creating a balanced environment combining trees, culture -including fodder, compost, and livestock in an enclosed space where the composting of animal and plant waste enriches the bocage according to the logic of the circular economy, and by associating water and soil conservation measures (bunds, ponds, living hedges), this approach will mitigate the effects of heat stress and ensure a supply of quality fodder and thus improve the resilience of goat herds to the effects of climate change. This approach allows at the same time to address the problems linked to extensive agriculture and slash-and-burn agriculture still practiced in the Comoros, to mitigate soil erosion and degradation, to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and to maintain biodiversity.

Through value chain analyses conducted for the climate adapted crops, varieties or breeds, the project will identify the options with favorable prospects for profitability. The value chains analyses will follow guidance provided in UNDP’s “Toolkit for value chain analysis and market development integrating climate resilience and gender responsiveness”[8] and will support their promotion with CRDEs, farmers, cooperatives, and the private sector by publicizing the successes of the new approaches by the beneficiaries (champions) themselves and by facilitating visits to demonstration plots and sites where new techniques have been successful. Communication approaches could use the contrast of “before and after” or “with and without” images. Messages targeting older farmers will be broadcasted through local radios and the project will include training of these older farmers in the use of phones and social media.

2.2 Capacity development plan elaborated and implemented to strengthen INRAPE’s capacities to characterize new climate-adapted Comorian agrobiodiversity products, and control the quality of export products. The project will build on the support provided by the Japanese government (source of co-financing) for the construction of a new multidisciplinary laboratory for INRAPE[9], which responds to the institutional assessments carried out as part of the UNDP project (2013-2016) for the development of a strategy to strengthen a sanitary and phytosanitary system (SPS) capable of supporting the development of the country's agricultural operations. The project will support the development of the capacities of this national laboratory so that the country has the necessary skills and equipment to carry out characterization studies independently and demonstrate the uniqueness of Comorian varieties, to certify and label them, and to preserve access to them for the benefit of the people of the country.

2.3 Web and mobile trading platforms developed to connect agricultural producers and buyers in national and international markets and ensure timely access to market information for climate resilient agricultural products. To enhance access to national markets, the project  will build on the physical connectivity provided through WB co-financing for the rehabilitation of small ports to improve transportation between the islands, and on interventions carried out by development partners through projects aimed at improving the business climate. The GEF investment will focus on the development of a web and mobile trading platform to access market information and that connects actors in the agricultural value chains and agricultural service providers, processors, and buyers by taking advantage of the intervention of the International Trade Center (ITC) which set up a platform in Ndzuani to communicate price information of Comorian products to cooperatives (to be identified in the baseline). Support has been limited to Ndzuani so far because ITC targeted well-established cooperatives and avoid opportunistic ones set up to benefit from project support. The project will draw on this experience to replicate the successful interventions as well as the platform set up by UNDP to improve the competitiveness and accessibility of products and services. This platform can be used to provide agricultural advice and information by experts, and to offer services for the development of profitable agriculture. The connection of producers and traders makes it easier to find all the information on innovations and business opportunities in the agricultural and agrifood sector and facilitates the necessary dialogue to develop equitable benefit sharing agreements.

2.4 Awareness campaign conducted to enhance understanding by institutional and private actors  of the sector of the climate change risks and adaptive measures. The project will carry out an awareness campaign targeting institutional and private actors involved in the agriculture sector, including smallholder farmers, and the general public, especially young people, on the ongoing and imminent devastating effects of climate change on agriculture and on new opportunities identified through the project interventions. The goals of the campaign will include demonstrating the potential revenue that can be generated to spark interest from young people and the private sector. This campaign will be conducted in collaboration with the chamber of commerce and business incubators. The awareness campaign will be an opportunity to promote the profession of farmer, by highlighting champion farmers and their success stories.

2.5 Negotiation and signature of agreements ensuring fair benefit sharing among actors in climate-resilient value chains. The project will identify and set up necessary processes and mechanisms required to ensure tangible and maximum benefits accrue to farmers through: (a) Dialogue facilitation between the private sector and representatives of local farmers to strengthen and formalize the links between these parties for the development of products that are integrated into value chains; (b) Development of business models (through which prices are determined) integrating the optimization of benefits for local farmers, rules for benefit sharing, and incentives to comply with the rules associated with targeted certifications. These models may provide for a contribution to the financing of CRDEs based on the user-pays principle; (c) Negotiation and signature of agreements with relevant actors in each value chain.

Component 3. Implementation of agroecological practices adapted to climate change in targeted intervention areas includes one outcome: Outcome 3. Increased adoption of climate-resilient practices and crops/varieties by smallholder farmers and value chain actors facilitated by support systems and adequate provision of inputs and resources. This outcome will be mainly the result of investments on the ground, following approaches to mitigate the risks associated with climate change, to develop a local, quality and low-cost supply of agricultural inputs, climate-adapted seeds, tools and small equipment to enable the adoption of climate-smart practices, and to support the implementation of a set of practices and approaches that strengthen the climate resilience of agricultural and livestock production. The strategy to achieve this outcome is based on initiating smallholder farmers to the concept of risk management, identifying approaches and practices whose effectiveness in reducing climate vulnerability has been demonstrated by CRDEs and supporting their adaptation by farmers, facilitating access to microcredit on terms adapted to the conditions of farmers, improving the local supply of agricultural inputs for increased adaptability, and developing incentives linked to effective and proven adoption of sustainable and climate-adapted production. To contribute to the sustainability of this outcome, the project will adopt an approach where any project contribution for protective structure (such as goat sheds, greenhouses and shade shelters) and equipment (such as micro-irrigation systems, small tools) will involve a counterpart (in-kind contribution as work) from the beneficiaries in order to promote ownership and maintenance. In addition, the income from part of the agricultural production linked to the use of the infrastructures will be allocated to the maintenance and renewal of the infrastructures. Maintenance will be carried out by an infrastructure management committee comprising users supervised by CRDE staff, such that the government should not have to invest further beyond the project for their replacement. The project will include training on maintenance and the importance of savings not only as a risk management strategy but also to ensure the maintenance and renewal of equipment and infrastructure that contribute to strengthen climate resilience of agricultural production.

3.1 Agronomic approaches and practices (e.g. water and soil conservation, crop diversification, mixed production systems, fodder cultivation and conservation, protective structures) developed and piloted by CRDEs to reduce climate vulnerability of the agricultural sector. The CRDEs will identify and pilot promising approaches to reduce the climate vulnerability of the agricultural activities of farmers in their territory. Successful practices will be promoted to farmers by relay farmers. Project interventions to better manage the risks associated with climate change will focus on: (a) raising awareness among farmers of the concept of risk management in the face of climate change and the adoption of sustainable strategies and practices that contribute to the health of agroecosystems and related services on which they depend (soil conservation, protection of pollinators, mixed production systems such as agroforestry, hedging[10] and agropastoralism); (b) diversification of agricultural production and sources of income for households and small farmers in their plots (e.g., new climate-resilient crops and poultry breeding); (c) investments in protective structures such as greenhouses, shade shelters and goat sheds, and (d) the adoption of approaches and practices whose effectiveness in reducing the vulnerability of agriculture and livestock to new climatic conditions has been demonstrated by pilot tests carried out by the CRDEs.

Approaches to be tested and piloted by CRDEs include : (i) Wherever appropriate, the project will encourage the development of agroforestry systems where various associations of cash crops, fruit, food crops or livestock will be tested. Agroforestry systems provide multiple economic, environmental, and social benefits in a context of climate change through the protection of crops, livestock, soils and rivers, the diversification and spreading out of agricultural income through short, medium and long-term production of food products, fodder, wood and other non-timber products, in addition to other significant benefits such as the creation of habitats for biodiversity, landscape improvement, as well as carbon sequestration. Agroforestry can play a crucial role in improving resilience to uncertain climates through microclimate buffering and regulation of water flow. Promoting diversity through agroforestry systems will also increase the availability of alternatives for birds and reduce predation on valuable crops (which is aggravated by extended droughts). (ii) Diversification of tree and shrub species and establishment of living hedges to reduce exposure to strong winds whose frequency is increased by climate change. (iii) The construction of goat sheds for farmers communities to protect animals from extreme weather conditions, hedging (embocagement) and agropastoralism to reduce climate vulnerability and reduce pressures on natural ecosystems, growing legumes as fodder in the bocages, growing and storing dry fodder (hay) and producing silage for livestock feed. (iv) Practices for improving the moisture holding capacity of the soil (organic mulch and gravel), the use of compost to increase soil organic matter, and micro-irrigation to lengthen cultivation period and diversify the cultivated varieties. (v) Water and wind erosion mitigation by the adoption of practices that promote soil cohesion, such as the use of cover crops, compost and green manure, the use of soil conservation and restoration techniques such as the construction of stone walls and anti-erosion lines planted with vetiver. Vetiver is a beneficial, inexpensive, and easy-to-maintain means of protection. Thanks to its resilience capacity in a wide range of ecological and climatic conditions[11], vetiver is effective in preventing and combating soil erosion in a climate change context. Yet, its use is not known in the Comoros and it is currently difficult to find. (vi) To help maintain healthy populations of pollinators, the project will conduct an assessment of threats affecting them (e.g. bee parasites, bushfires[12] and pesticides such as neonicotinoids), identify control measures to be implemented, required resources, and actors to be mobilized.

3.2 Financial products developed and made accessible to smallholder farmers to support the adoption of climate-resilient practices.  Project interventions will involve (a) raising smallholder farmers’ awareness on savings and credit as a risk management approach, building on interventions planned under the WB PIDC project (identified as co-financing to this project) which aim to encourage savings in the SANDUKs micro-credit institution, and providing financial education; and (b) facilitating access to suitable financing through negotiations with local micro-credit institutions (SANDUKs) for the development of credit products adapted to the reality of farmers, i.e. credit at low rates tied to firm loan conditions to invest in climate-smart productive activities, and repayment schemes adapted to agricultural production cycles, thus contributing to reducing the risks for farmers’ investments. Risk reduction measures (eg capacity building of micro-credit institutions, communication and marketing support) to be put in place will be examined within the framework of the PPG.

3.3 Local supply of agricultural inputs, small-scale equipment and climate-resistant  varieties seeds developed. The project will help reduce dependence on external supplies and increase the autonomy and adaptability of farmers to climate change by: (a) strengthening CRDEs capacities to produce quality seeds of climate-adapted crops and varieties meeting the needs of farmers (for self-sustaining agriculture) and the needs of the target markets (for cash crops), and by supporting this production, (b) supporting artisanal microenterprises involved in the recycling of metal waste for the manufacture of tools and adapted micro-irrigation systems (recovery of metal waste and abandoned car wreck) to manufacture agricultural tools meeting the needs of smallholders, (c) improving the capacities of microenterprises currently involved in the artisanal making of low-cost drip irrigation systems to meet the needs of farmers and cooperatives involved in the project; (d) developing capacities to produce organic fertilizer and supporting this production. The capacity development needs and resources available to support trainings will be identified during the project preparation (PPG).

3.4 Agricultural practices to strengthen agriculture and pastoral resilience, including the provision of climate-adapted crop varieties and breeds, implemented. The project will provide support for the implementation of farm and agro-pastoral plans at the individual and cooperative levels (developed under Output 1.3) through the adoption of practices and approaches that strengthen climate resilience (as identified and demonstrated under the output 3.1), for the establishment of nurseries and seed reserves, for soil conservation and restoration activities, including composting and green manure, and for implementing micro-irrigation systems. The project will support the use of protective structures and the adoption of mixed systems combining livestock, agriculture, fodder cultivation and trees, including agroforestry, hedging (embocagement), agro-pastoralism, and soil conservation and restoration, helping to restore soil productive capacity and other ecosystem services (water, fodder, pollinators, and carbon capture) that contribute to climate resilience of agroecosystems. The solutions proposed by the project will be to reduce soil erosion and increase diversity within crop plots and agroforestry systems, which in turn, will reduce the vulnerability of agricultural systems to pests and diseases which occurrence is increased as a result of climate change (as presented in the section on Effects of climate change on the agroecosystem and agricultural practices as experienced by smallholder farmers - Part II: Project Justification, 1a. Project Description) as fields that support a variety of crops are less attractive to predatory insects. The project will contribute to halt agricultural encroachment at the expense of forests (mostly within protected areas) by improving the productivity of agricultural plots, by restoring plots where soil is degraded, by collaborating with the authorities responsible for protected areas[13] to ensure that agricultural activities within village terroirs are conducted in harmony with the conservation objectives of protected areas, and by promoting mixed systems such as agroforestry that promote biodiversity.

Under the PPG, the need to invest in infrastructure to channel water from structures set up by the UNDP-GEF CRCCA and UNDP-GCF projects to the plots of CRDEs and farmers will be assessed.

3.5 Incentives (traceability and certification) in place to foster the adoption of climate resilient and sustainable practices across traditional and new value chains. This will include the following: (a) Certifications. The introduction of incentives to encourage the adoption of high-quality standards including climate-smart practices and varieties, organic farming and fair trade, to access higher added value niche markets, will help encourage farmers to maintain practices that promote resilience to climate change and ensure the financial sustainability of these adaptation measures. The selected certification will define a set of criteria that will be integrated into specifications to be followed by the various actors involved in the various stages of the value chain. These criteria should include adaptation measures to ensure climate resilience. A national committee composed of independent experts will be responsible for verifying the compliance of the various stages related to production (including cultivation, harvesting, storage, processing, transport) with the requirements of the specifications for the product to be eligible for certification. The criteria to be met for certification will be distributed to the producers concerned. The project will support value chain actors to gain access to these certifications and will also support the integration of climate resilience into the certification processes set up as part of the projects supported respectively by the WB and AFD (source of co-financing) for cloves and vanilla in other intervention sites. (b) Transparency and technology. Technology (e.g. blockchain) is available and can be used to ensure transparency through product traceability at all stages of the value chain by tracking the social and environmental impacts of products at every stage of their value chain, from local farmers to consumers, and thus support certification process. The project will assess the relevance, applicability (with users) and profitability of using a platform (via an application) to track and verify that each step in the value chain throughout the production process, meets adaptation criteria that can make these value chains more climate resilient. Using this tool, each step in the process is verified and recorded with time, date and geolocation as a secondary means of verification. (c) Facilitating change. To reduce farmers' reluctance to change and improve the efficiency of the transmission of technical knowledge to illiterate farmers, the project will adopt a strategy to through demonstration at the level of CRDEs, close supervision and long-term follow-up ensured by relay farmers. This transmission will be supported by the production of illustrated technical sheets, and the organization of visits - by and for the farmers - of sites where successful practices have stood the test of time, such as the plots developed through embocagement in the Nioumakélé (Ndzuani). The relay farmers involved in such a scheme will be identified and remunerated by the CRDE and thus become key partners in providing local support to farmers. At the same time, the project will put in place incentives to make the sector more attractive to young people. (d) Improvement of the perception of the farming profession. In order to change the negative perception of the farming profession by young people, the project will support an awareness campaign led by young people involved in value chains which will highlight the potential medium and long-term benefits of this profession. The awareness campaign may be supported by spot messages in the media and on the packaging of commonly used agricultural products.

Component 4: Knowledge Management, Monitoring-Evaluation, and Gender and PWDs’ Inclusiveness. This component will enable mainstreaming transversal issues of knowledge management and gender and PWDs inclusiveness into other project components and outputs focusing on knowledge and on gender. Knowledge management is critical not only for the achievement of the project’s objective, but for the sustainability of achieved results and replicability of climate-resilient solutions. Documenting, analysing and addressing gender and PWD issues as cross-cutting elements will allow to develop inclusive solutions to the climate adaptation challenge in agriculture, and ensure that men, women and PWDs benefit equally from the project support and that the concerns and experiences of women and of PWDs are an integral part of the implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the project. Lessons and successful experiences will be captured through the participatory monitoring and evaluation as part of the project annual planning process, through the participatory development of agroclimatic knowledge involving actively farmers, CRDEs, and researchers in a co-learning process, and recording and disseminating successful experiences among CRDEs, and with other relevant stakeholders in the country and in the region.

Outcome 4 Improved development, management, and dissemination of knowledge related to adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change to support the replication of climate-resilient solutions among CRDEs, and at national and regional scale. This outcome will be achieved through the following outputs:

4.1 .Lessons learned from the project interventions documented and disseminated. This will be achieved through the annual monitoring and evaluation of project achievements using the indicators of the strategic results framework, and the identification and dissemination of related learnings with project partners, including projects in areas aimed at strengthening the climate resilience of agriculture, in the Comoros and in the countries of the region. Along with capacity building of CRDEs, and interventions on knowledge development and improvement of access to information, the project will support the management of knowledge developed through participatory monitoring and evaluation (involving beneficiaries) of project interventions, including the development of climate-adapted agricultural practices and their adoption by farmers, the improvement of the climate resilience in all segments of the various value chains and the development of new value chans for climate-resilient crops.

4.2 Agro-climatic knowledge for climate adaptation developed through strengthened monitoring and research-action involving farmers. CRDEs must become a place of experimentation, development, demonstration, teaching and promotion of new climate-adapted practices and crops and thus be at the heart of the generation and dissemination of technical knowledge allowing to adapt the agricultural sector. This learning and dissemination mechanism must also be deployed outside the CRDEs and set up within the plots of farmers who are experimenting with new approaches, techniques and varieties in order to involve them in the monitoring and evaluation of the results of these innovations and thus encourage their appropriation of successful approaches. Knowledge development may be based on interventions such as the following: (a) Contribution to the national database on agricultural yields and production developed by the FAO. This will involve training technicians within CRDEs on data collection, the use of GPS and entering observations into the database at the level of each CRDE, and the compilation of simple statistics to generate and disseminate technical knowledge and enable the agricultural sector to adapt to climate change. (b) Action-research programs involving farmers. This will involve establishing the necessary partnerships with INRAPE, the UdC including the University of Patsy (Ndzuani), the National Horticultural Center of Mvouni (Ngazidja), the CRDEs, relay farmers and farmers to carry out participatory action-research programs to generate new technical knowledge to adapt the agricultural sector to climate change. The possibility of associating one or more regional institutions to support research and training will be explored during the PPG (University of Reunion, National Center for Applied Research in Rural Development (FOFIFA[14]) (Madagascar) and CGIAR (Réunion).

4.3 Tools for experience and knowledge-sharing among CRDEs and actors in value chains are developed and operationalized. This will include the following: (a) The project will recruit a communication officer to coordinate the sharing of information through the development of short, practical guides in the form of booklets or illustrated sheets for farmers to record best practices and facilitate their adoption and follow-up in the local communities served by the targeted CRDEs as well as in all the CRDEs. (b) The project will support the experience-sharing mechanism among CRDEs and between CRDEs and farmers through a platform specific to CRDEs (under development with the support of a Comorian office). The project will support the consolidation of the digital platform set up within the CRDE network to, among other things, facilitate the exchange of information and the sharing of experiences between all actors in the value chains and create bridges between different segments, namely between producers and buyers. (c) The project will support the production of an online newsletter to share information relating to the adaptation and climate resilience of the agricultural sector, including activities and events linked or not to the project, including thematic articles, reports and interviews produced by CRDEs teams.

4.4 Gender and PWDs action plans based on comprehensive analyses are implemented, monitored, and evaluated to promote an inclusive approach to the adoption of a climate-resilient agriculture. During the PPG, an exhaustive gender analysis will be carried out to document gender issues in the agricultural sector and identify specific gender barriers. Based on this analysis, a gender action plan will be developed to be implemented, monitored, and evaluated as part of the project. Also, an analysis of the issues related to people living with disabilities (PWDs) in the agricultural sector will be carried out to identify the barriers specific to PWDs and to develop an action plan to increase their inclusion in the efforts to adapt the agriculture sector to climate change. The adoption of an inclusive approach towards gender, PWDs and youth to improve equity in value chains and access to income-generating activities, will involve the following: (a) The project will seek to improve income equity within value chains and improve the involvement of women, especially the elderly, and PWDs, in income-generating agricultural activities by promoting small scale family farming (e.g., family garden near the house, poultry farming). The project will promote the adoption of a more inclusive approach in identifying solutions designed within families. (b) The importance of demonstrating new practices and varieties will be essential to increase the motivation of young family members to support older ones. The development of specialized professions within value chains, such as the production of seeds, artisan scrap metal workers, or manufacturing biodegradable packaging, will diversify the types of jobs accessible to different segments of society. (c) In certain sites, according to their will, the project could support groups and associations to set up cooperatives (dairy, food, market garden cooperatives) or to strengthen their capacities allowing certain sections of the value chain to be integrated within of the cooperative, for example collection or processing, and improve profitability for all members of the cooperative.

 




[1] Bourgoin C, Parker L, Martínez-Valle A, Mwongera C, Läderach P. 2017. Une évaluation spatialement explicite de la vulnérabilité du secteur agricole au changement climatique dans l'Union des Comores. Work Document No. 205. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Wageningen, Les Pays-Bas. Available from: www.ccafs.cgiar.org

[2] Mwongera C. Nowak A., Notenbaert A.M.O, Grey S., Osiemo J., Kinyua I. Lizarazo M. et E. Girvetz. 2019. Climate-Smart Agricultural Value Chains: Risks and Perspectives. in T.S. Rosenthal et al. (eds.) The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers.

[3] ECOCROP is a software tool that identifies 2568 plant species for given environments and uses (food, fodder, energy, erosion control, industrial purposes) which also contains a library of crop environmental requirements.

[4] The tool could present the following information: 1. Crop calendar indicating for each month what must be done for each crop (sowing, cultivation, flowering, harvesting), taking into account current meteorological data and, if relevant, the various cultivation areas. 2. Agroecological practices sheets covering, as useful, the following subjects: a) Culture sheets (for all traditional and new crops supported by the project): botanical information, cultural practices, pests and diseases, physiological disorders (symptoms, possible causes, solutions); b) Cultivation without harmful pesticides: control methods, natural or low impact pesticides; c) Plot maintenance; d) Irrigation: practices to minimize water requirements, rainwater harvesting, manual watering systems and micro-irrigation; e) Fertilization: knowledge of the nature of the soil, assessment of needs and different options for amending it; f) Composting: Preparation of various types of compost to meet different needs; g) Seed production. 3. Diseases, pests, weeds and invasive alien species (IAS): Sheets on the main problems affecting crops, including new diseases and pests recently introduced or favored by climate change: a) identification of the problem: description of signs and symptoms, photos of the effects on the different plants affected by the pest or disease; b) advice for prevention and control (favorable conditions, screening, preventive measures, physical and biological control)

[5] For example, compared to clove and ylang-ylang which require large areas (6m x 6m) and which cannot be harvested for several years after planting, ginger can be grown on an area of 0.25m x 0.25m, pepper and coffee can be integrated into agroforestry systems, and all can be processed locally to create local added value.

[6] For example, endemic varieties of bananas, yams, aromatic and medicinal plants, low caffeine coffee, high vanillin vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, aloe vera, large thyme, vetiver, turmeric, Plectranthus both Cuban Oregano type and Indian Borage type

[7] chevrières

[9] National Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment

[10] embocagement

[11] With its developed and resistant roots, vetiver protects embankments and terraces, fertilizes and improves soil structure, and fights against pollution, erosion and flooding. It tolerates acid or alkaline soils (with pH from 3.0 to 10.5), saline soils or soils with high levels of metals and resists extreme climatic variations such as prolonged drought, floods, submersions as well as extreme temperatures ranging from 14°C to 55°C. After being affected by drought, salinity and other adverse conditions, this plant has the ability to re-grow very quickly when conditions improve.

[12] Bushfires can be started by pastoralists and by farmers who practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Since herders do not cultivate fodder, they depend on natural fodder which is increasingly affected by the lengthening of the drought period. Herders thus resort to bushfires, despite being illegal, to improve the palatability of pasture grasses. Often left unattended and uncontrolled, they spread over large areas and are harmful to the biodiversity of the affected forest areas, including pollinator species.

[13] The protected areas of the Comoros have been delineated by integrating villages and agricultural lands within their boundaries.

[14] FOFIFA is Madagascar's main agricultural research organization and conducts research on coffee varieties in the region including the Comoros