Climate change

Conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems in Pacific countries

Samoa sustainable farming and agrciculture
Project code
AUD 200,000
Research program manager
Dr Veronica Doerr
Project leader
Professor Tim Reeves, The University of Melbourne
Commissioned organisation
University of New England
JUN 2020
JUN 2021
Project status
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This project aimed to undertake a targeted assessment to explore opportunities for the implementation of conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems as a transformational adaptation to climate change in selected countries of the Pacific.

The core issue addressed in this project is the urgent need to enhance the productivity, sustainability and resilience of agri-food systems in Pacific Island countries in the context of climate change, at the same time as assessing greenhouse gas emissions from the sector and developing practical options for reduction that could result in emissions credits.

The climate challenges differ markedly between the countries in the region and between the main agri-food systems they rely on. Following an initial typology of the most important systems in the targeted countries – Samoa and Tonga – taking into account - enterprise type; opportunities for multiple benefits through green house gas reductions; and exposure to climate change risk, the scope of the work has been planned to initially target two major agri-food systems as a proof of concept. A clear justification will be developed for the choice of the two systems.

Project outcomes

  • Assessed the climate risks to future productivity and profitability of agri-food systems, including risks from changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme events.
  • Produced a typology of agri-food systems based on the assessments of above of climate opportunities and risks, and the relevance to these systems of conservation agriculture based sustainable intensification.
  • Assessed two critical local agri-food farm systems with regard to their current productivity and potential to respond to climate change, from both mitigation and adaptation perspectives.
  • Identified and prioritised the male and female farmer/industry needs in relation to these food systems in the context of climate change response, with particular reference to social and gender issues.
  • Targeted the options to improve agri-food/farm systems for productivity and profitability that would also enhance capacities to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change risks.
  • Assessed the overall potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Key partners
Lincoln University, New Zealand
The University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus, Samoa