SRI at COP27: Sharing the LINKS experience

COP 27 may have come and gone, but the learnings and resolutions of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference shall remain with us for a while.

LINKS was privileged to be a part of the very first panel discussion of the conference – which focused on ‘SRI for Food Security and Climate Resilience’. The System of Rice Intensification is a climate-smart practice that increases the productivity of rice while reducing water consumption and methane emissions. Our Agribusiness Specialist, Dr Adnan Aminu Adnan was live in Egypt to share the LINKS experience supporting SRI in Nigeria.

On the panel which featured the Head of Climate Change at the Commonwealth Secretariat; Professor of Practice, Director of Climate-Resilient Farming System at the Cornell University; Chief Scientific Officer of Downforce Technologies and former Executive Director of the European Environment Agency; the Chief General Manager at India’s National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD); and the Sustainability Program Manager at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture – all of whom had extensive experience implementing or supporting SRI across continents, Adnan was certainly in good company.

LINKS was proudly represented on the SRI panel in COP27

Panel discussants shared their experience with SRI. In Nigeria, where the system is being piloted with support from LINKS, SRI has recorded good results – training over 5,000 farmers, increasing yields on average by about 100 per cent and reducing GHG emissions by up to 41 per cent compared to traditional cultivation methods.

According to Adnan, Nigeria loves its rice, and increased output from farmer fields would make the nation’s rice mills more productive, leading to more jobs as well as revenue for both the state and federal governments. With 40% of global rice demand being from Africa alone, pushing #SRI will help Nigeria (Africa’s largest rice producer & importer) achieve rice independence. Once Nigeria is rice-secure, West & Central Africa will be rice-secure, and the more we use SRI, the more these benefits will skyrocket.

Using radio in Nigeria for advancing sustainable rice has been an effective education strategy for reaching and enlightening farmers about SRI. Paired with in-person training, LINKS and its partners showed them how the SRI system provides the optimal conditions for productivity of the rice plant – conserving water while boosting yield . The farmers participating in the pilots have experienced these benefits and now spread the word about SRI.

SRI is not just about the crop, but about the whole ecosystem in which the crop is growing, that could benefit significantly. It’s the yield, the changes on biodiversity and water that actually occur with this transformed way of growing rice. For LINKS, participating in COP 27 was a platform, not just to share, but also learn more about how SRI is providing increased benefits to farmers, rice lovers and governments across the world – while also improving the environment.

As a programme, we are deliberate about our new focus – scaling green innovations in the agribusiness and other supporting value chains (such as energy and transport) in a way that is inclusive and sustainable. By catalysing green economic growth in Northern Nigeria, LINKS is supporting Nigeria’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement, and contributing to ‘delivering – for the people and planet’ – a climate-smarter world.

Video excerpt of LINKS @COP27

COVID- 19 Response

Project implementation in these unprecedented times is challenging for all of us in Nigeria, but it presents new opportunities as well. As part of LINKS response to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, we have taken a number of initiatives