Amartya Sen's critique of the prevailing climate-food supply-famine framework (Sen, 1981) caused the common agro-technical assumption that more food production will also provide more food for the rural poor and less famine to be increasingly challenged. Today, most agree that food insecurity is primarily a result of low household incomes, poverty, and lack of access rather than inadequate aggregate food supply (Watts, 1991; Maxwell and Frankenberger, 1992; Davies, 1996; Dilley and Boudreau, 2001; Gladwin et al., 2001). Food security is defined as "sufficient food consumption by all people at all times for a healthy and productive life" (Thomson and Metz, 1997). Chronic food insecurity is a long-term problem, caused by lack of income or assets at the household level to produce or buy sufficient and adequate food for the entire household (Gladwin et al., 2001). As a solution, complex approaches that link food security issues to livelihood systems have been proposed rather than encouraging smallholders to grow more food crops. These approaches focus on multiple livelihood strategies at the household level. They include alternative, nonfarm income-generating activities that diversify and increase poor people's income, enhance their food security, and make livelihoods more sustainable in the long run (Devereux, 1993; Sanchez, 2000; Gladwin et al., 2001).
For much of Sub-Saharan Africa, however, Sen's legacy remains less relevant. Annual population growth rates of 3%, which are among the highest in the world, and continuously low cereal yields have limited aggregate food production (Gladwin et al., 2001). Taking into account climate change, projections look rather bleak, particularly for drylands. In the Sahel, agricultural productivity is projected to decrease as climate conditions become more extreme (Watson et al., 1996). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the greatest risk of increased hunger exists for people who are dependent on small, subsistence-based agricultural systems in semi-arid and arid regions. Millet yields for Senegal, for instance, are expected to decrease by 63% to
79% under 2x CO2-equivalent global circulation model scenarios (Watson et al., 1996).
Carbon sequestration by small-scale farmers in drylands could potentially be an important mitigation strategy to address global climate change, and related problems of declining soil fertility, land degradation, and food insecurity. Soil carbon sequestration could indeed be a win-win strategy, as argued by Lal (1999b, 2002a), Kimble et al. (2002), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (2002), among others. It would reflect an example of how to integrate one of the lessons learned from food security and livelihood research, namely, the need to diversity resources and income in order to more effectively spread risk. The emphasis on diversified production systems is consistent with adaptive strategies for drought and desertification (Watson et al., 1996).
Results from a case study of the potential of carbon sequestration for small-scale farming systems in Senegal are presented below. The case study addresses four major questions: (1) From a biophysical-technical perspective, what are the best soil management practices and land use options to sequester carbon and increase crop yields? (2) What practices are economically most feasible for small-scale farmers? (3) Would 'best' practices increase crop yields and reduce poverty? (4) How would best practices fit into the livelihood strategies of local smallholders?
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