The Smart Agriculture for Climate Resilience (SmartAgri) project was a collaborative project between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (DOA) and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning (DEA&DP), and the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI). SmartAgri has provided a road map for actionable and prioritised initiatives that will take the agricultural sector road towards greater resilience in the face of climate challenges.
SmartAgri has resulted in several resources for the agricultural sector including:
SmartAgri was planned in three phases. In Phase 1 (August to December 2014), a Status Quo Review of Climate Change and the Agricultural Sector of the Western Cape Province was conducted, with inputs from stakeholders in the western and eastern parts of the Province. In Phase 2 (January to September 2015), an extensive series of stakeholder workshops across all the districts, together with further analysis, led to a draft Climate Change Response Framework for the Agricultural Sector of the Western Cape. Phase 3 started (October 2015) with a provincial workshop with key decision makers at a district level. This was followed up with regionally focused workshops for district and local municipalities. These provided an opportunity to strengthen the cooperation between the agricultural sector and local government. The SmartAgri team also held a series of targeted focus group meetings with decision makers involved in priority areas such as Disaster Risk Management, land use planning, catchment management and crop and livestock health management. The aim of the workshops and focus groups was to jointly develop the essential elements of the Climate Change Response Implementation Plan, to foster support and ownership of the Plan, and build the basis of responsibilities and partnerships required for its effective implementation.
The SmartAgri project was headed by Stephanie Midgley, a researcher and project manager in agriculture, food security and climate change. She holds a PhD in Botany and an MScAgric in Horticultural Science, and has worked on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation since 1992. Also assisting was Dr. Nadine Methner, a post-doctoral researcher at ACDI who worked on the stakeholder engagement process and the Climate Change Response Framework and Implementation Plan, and Prof. Mark New, director of ACDI, who worked on the strategic design of the project, and the development and roll out of the framework.