What is Climate-Smart Agriculture?

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The majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and agriculture is their most important income source.

Developing the potential to increase the productivity and incomes from smallholder crop, livestock, fish and forest production systems will be the key to achieving global food security over the next twenty years. Climate change is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Its effects include higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events. All of these pose risks for agriculture, food and water supplies. Resilience is therefore a predominant concern. Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation can often be a significant co-benefit of actions to strengthen adaptation and enhance food security, and thus mitigation action compatible with national development priorities for agriculture is an important aspect of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA).

Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as an approach that helps guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support sustainable development in the agricultural sector and ensure food security in a changing climate.

CSA is not a set of practices that can be universally applied, but rather an approach that involves different elements embedded in local contexts. It relates to actions both on-farm and beyond the farm, and incorporates technologies, policies, institutions and investment. 

There are three main objectives:

  • to ensure food security for the growing human population by increasing productivity and income of the agricultural sector
  • to adapt and build agricultural resilience to climate change
  • to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture and sequester more carbon in soil and plant residues
CSA Hub for CEE

Our Objectives

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The main objective of the CSA Hub for CEE is to build a platform that will facilitate the knowledge exchange between scientists, farmers, industry, advisory services and policy makers.

The platform will provide a space to demonstrate new climate-resilient technologies and transfer those technologies to users, thereby accelerating the implementation process of the CSA concept in agricultural practice. The platform will be based on state of the art solutions, research infrastructures (e.g. AnaEE experimental sites), applications and methods (e.g. software, platforms such as Intersucho) and developed mainly within CEE countries.

The leader of the CSA Hub is the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CzechGlobe) based in the Czech Republic. Contributors of the CSA Hub also include key stakeholders of the agricultural system from the following CEE countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.

Why is a separate Hub for Central Eastern European (CEE) countries needed? 

Agriculture in CEE countries is characterized by substantially different structure and climatic conditions:

  • most CEE countries are located on the transition between continental and oceanic climate which means high variability of weather conditions, higher frequency of weather extremes such as drought periods, heat waves and flash floods, and higher importance of water availability within the vegetation season (summer)
  • larger fields and larger farms (often on the slopes) mean higher risks of water and wind erosion
  • the use of large and heavy agricultural machinery under unfavourable weather conditions leads to soil compaction, reduced water retention, higher run-off and soil erosion
  • in most CEE countries there is an evident imbalance between crop and livestock production which in turn means lower inputs of organic matter into soil
  • the structure of crop production isn’t sufficiently diversified and focuses only on a few low value crops
  • in most cases, crop production is based on the high intensity of inputs such as intensive tillage, large doses of fertilizers, and large amounts of pesticides
To solve tomorrow’s unprecedented global challenges we must transform our farming and food production systems today.
CSA Hub for CEE

Our Activities


Stakeholder Meetings and Workshops

Stakeholders of the CEE agricultural system will come together to take part in a co-creation process to select the most urgent and relevant challenges that the agriculture sector faces due to climate change.

After the identification of the challenges – an activity based on the assessment of new research directions, and the knowledge of the stakeholder group – the CSA Hub will propose a CSA strategy combining adaptation and mitigation measures, while also defining pilot actions that can be tested in the region.

Deep Demonstration Project

The primary project of the CSA Deep Demonstration is the creation of pilot farms or large-scale experiments demonstrating the individual adaptation and mitigation measures, technologies, decision systems, and finally the integration of individual measures into complex CSA system.

CSA Hub for CEE

Policy background


The CSA is difficult to interpret in the EU, as the EU regulates the framework for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures through one of its oldest policies, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The cross compliance regulatory system, which is an integral part of the CAP, lays down basic standards for the environment, climate change, good agricultural and environmental condition of land, public health, animal health, plant health and animal welfare.  

The CAP is divided into two pillars:  Pillar 1 contains direct payments to farmers that are not linked to what farmers produce, as well as greening measures (crop diversification, permanent grassland protection and ecological focus areas), whilst Pillar 2 includes rural development measures. For both pillars, there are forms of support that contribute to climate change mitigation or adaptation.

These include the cross-compliance (KM) regulatory system. The KM is binding on all member states, the regulations of the KM are supervised by the authority and sanctioned if necessary. A detailed description of the KM can be found in the link below:

Download the Cross Compliance Farmer’s Manual (Hungarian)

CSA Hub for CEE

Get in touch!

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For more information please contact us:

  • Annamária Virág, EIT Climate-KIC

Get in touch with us

For further information concerning other approaches and regions we invite you to visit the CSA Booster website.