Sustainable agricultural policy making cannot be done without a comprehensive approach. Governments should look beyond focusing on socio-economic issues.

Policy making for sustainable agriculture

There is an urgent need to increase adaptive capacity of the agriculture sector. In addition, we must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to ensure food security and limit the pace of climate change,

This cannot be done without a comprehensive approach to policy making. Governments should look beyond focusing on key socio-economic issues, such as enhancing short and medium term food security and livelihoods.

Improving climate outcomes must be a key element of ensuring sustainable and long-term growth. Particularly in the case of the agricultural sector that will ensure long-term food security and livelihoods.

Policy making focused on short or medium-term objectives may enhance or impede climate change potential of the agricultural sector. Therefore, they may reinforce or undermine our ability to meet the socio-economic objectives over the longer-term.

FAO’s Policy Monitoring Tools

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recent work focuses on developing policy monitoring and evaluation tools. Thus, enabling countries to design policies that are better suited to address complex issues.

FAO also created a methodology of public spending analysis for climate change in the agriculture sector (PERCC). Countries can use this system to understand how existing agricultural policies influence their climate change objectives,

PERCC helps decision makers understand which public spending efforts for agricultural development have negative or positive effects on climate change. As a result, it complements existing policy monitoring systems developed by FAO-MAFAP, .

Uganda Case Study

FAO calculated that 90% of total public spending supporting the agriculture sector is influencing climate change efforts in Uganda.

Of the total climate-relevant public expenditures in agriculture, 82% positively stimulated the adaptive capacity of the agricultural sector.

In contrast, it is less clear how Uganda’s climate-relevant agricultural spending affects greenhouse gas emissions of the sector.

Due to a lack of sufficiently detailed information, only 2% of climate-relevant agricultural spending was identified as linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Still, nearly two-thirds of it contributed to increased emissions!

Those same policies were identified as positively affecting adaptation. Although this is a small sub-sample, it underlines the importance of making sure that implemented policies do not compromise achieving certain objectives.

FAO’s EX-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) complemented the policy making analysis at the national level with the bottom-up analysis of LULUCF projects in Uganda.

We can use the analysis to understand whether public investments contribute to the mitigation-related Nationally Determined Contributions goals of the country.

According to the results, projects under implementation in the decade 2010-2020 will have sequestered an average of 2,980,068 tCO2-e per year between their inception (2010-2020) and 2030.

This value reflects a 17% achievement of the overall Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target for 2030. Additionally, it underlines the need of further investments in the sector to reach proposed objectives.

Closing thoughts

Ensuring sustainable development for agriculture requires this type of analysis as the gold standard for agricultural projects. The result will contribute to better food security and livelihood in the long-term.

Impakter originally published this article under the Creative Commons licence.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Vision of Humanity.


Dr. Ada Ignaciuk & Joanna Ilicic

Food and Agriculture Organization


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