Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is context-specific, with many approaches potentially being CSA somewhere, but no single practice being CSA everywhere. What is climate-smart also changes with time. This means that when initiating new activities, restructuring existing agricultural programs to enhance CSA goals, or scaling up ongoing projects, CSA interventions should be designed with a thorough understanding of the contextual reality a program will be implemented within.
The first step in establishing a CSA program is to conduct a situation analysis, capturing the current status of CSA initiatives, vulnerabilities and threats given specific contexts, as well as the enabling environment across sectors and at multiple levels. The agricultural, political, social, environmental and economic contexts in which the CSA approach is being applied should be explored, highlighting the entry points for investing in priority CSA initiatives at scale. Content of the situation analysis is usually based on existing global and national data sources, as well as expert input and surveys ideally including farmers and technical experts, and can also incorporate more localized data if available.
Situation analysis can cover a range of topics, but generally involves the following type of information:
The first section provides a quick overview of the key facts about the agricultural system, which grounds the discussion on entry points for CSA. The analysis should include an examination of the key biophysical, economic, and social components of the agricultural system to understand the characteristics of the sector, as well as the most important challenges, including expected climate change impacts. New analysis can be conducted to identify key production systems (e.g. rice, maize, corn, beans, livestock etc.) that a project or program could focus on and the projected drivers of change affecting these production systems. Analyses can focus on key factors that affect leverage points or barriers for CSA, or specific challenges CSA practices and services could be selected to address. This can include the economic relevance of agriculture (added value % of agriculture to GDP; agricultural imports and exports values), land use (e.g. the rural Gini Index), characteristics of the agricultural production systems, types of farmers and characteristics of people associated with agriculture, gendered analyses, nutrition statistics, agricultural greenhouse gases emissions, and challenges related to agriculture systems (see also CSA Profiles Methodology below).
Much of the information needed for the situation analysis can be found in global databases (FAOSTAT, World Bank Data), national databases, and agricultural sector and climate change policies such as National Action Plan for Adaptation (NAPAs), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) and other national agricultural development and food security plans, national development plans, poverty reduction strategy papers, and natural resource management plans (where reference to the agricultural sector is made), etc.
For many countries, detailed climate impact assessments can be found on the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal. In cases where data on projected climate change is lacking or of poor quality, the following tools can either provide basic data or methodologies for conducting climate impact analysis, including FAO’s MOSAICC. the CCAFS MarkSimGCM Tool and Climate Wizard. The Sustainable Livelihood Framework from DFID is also a useful widespread community-based approach to understand vulnerability. For other tools on impact and vulnerability studies, GIZ’s Framework for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment provides an overview of a large range of tools and approaches.
After outlining the agricultural context vulnerabilities and climate change impacts, the next step is to identify and evaluate both ongoing and promising agricultural practices in the key production systems that have shown potential in delivering on CSA outcomes. This can be done through literature reviews and inetrviews with key stakeholders. The analysis applies the CSA lens to existing initiatives, and also highlights potential opportunities and knowledge gaps. Practices and services can be discussed in relation to the three goals of CSA as well as the different sub-components of these goals that contribute to an interventions ‘climate-smartness’ (e.g. food, income, water, soil, risk, carbon, nitrogen, energy). This is a critical section of the situation analysis, as it grounds the concept of CSA in specific actions.
This section aims to identify institutions, programs and policies related to one or more of the CSA themes or related sectors (i.e. agriculture, climate change, forestry, environment, natural resource management, rural/ sustainable development). Existing policy strengths, gaps, and entry points for action can be analyzed, as well as identification of institutions and policies that donors or other stakeholders can engage with for future CSA initiatives, demonstrating how current agricultural policies and implementation link with the CSA concept. This section can also include an institutional stakeholder analysis and policy mapping exercise including all actors (institutions, both public and private) that have an explicit or implicit interest in CSA in the country. The stakeholder mapping may include data on specific CSA activities/projects of a given institution, mandate, and CSA-related activities carried out (see also CSA Profiles Methodology). For another quick institutional context assessment see FAO (2013a, p. 342-345). 1
Building on the institutions and policy section, this section clarifies where existing CSA-related initiatives get funding as well as potential funding avenues for future CSA initiatives. There are many ways to think about funding opportunities; this could include existing funding that may be tapped into and new funding sources, i.e. donors that have existing relationships with the country that are not currently funding CSA there. For a comprehensive and searchable list of funding opportunities with links and background material see this website’s section on CSA finance. For other descriptions and lists of CSA funding see the CSA sourcebook (FAO 2013a, p. 393-405), 1 Hill Clarvis (2014) 2 or, for a combination of the two, Annex IV in the country profile methodology (CSA Profiles Methodology below). These links may be used to identify funding opportunities on the basis of program objectives and stakeholder preferences of CSA pillars, but is not necessarily comprehensive and most will not be relevant in all contexts, and therefore should be crosschecked.
An example of the result of a situation analysis is the CIAT and CCAFS developed CSA Profiles, the contents of which are described below.
The CSA Profiles (CPs) were initiated in 2014 by CIAT, CATIE and CCAFS, supported by the World Bank. The initial project focused on seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Peru and Mexico. In the case of Mexico, additional sub-national profiles for the states of Chiapas and Sinaloa were created. CIAT has since conducted additional profiles with support from the World Bank and USAID. Profiles have been completed for 18 countries (incl. Nicaragua, Uruguay, Rwanda, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Ethiopia and the two states in Mexico).
The purpose of the Country Profiles is to provide a comparable baseline of the state of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) across countries or regions. The aim is to inform and stimulate conversations about how investment can be channelled to most effectively scale up CSA through existing entry points in each context.
Use and users
A CSA Profile covers the information needed to get a quick overview of the context, high-interest CSA interventions, and opportunities and constraints for implementing CSA. The baseline includes an analysis of the contextual agricultural, economic, institutional, policy, and financial factors related to CSA, as well as opportunities and barriers to adoption of existing and promising CSA practices and technologies. The target group is mostly CSA decision-makers and donors, and also extends to practitioners and researchers. A step by step guide exists with fairly accessible and simple methodologies for a quick and comprehensive overview. The main components of the methodology are explained in the Situation analysis of CSA plan and include the following components:
The methodology is currently in print, and profiles can generally be conducted within 4-6 months depending on data availability and the level of stakeholder engagement.
- Blog - New Latin America country profiles open pathways for reaching climate-smart agriculture: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/research-highlight/new-latin-america-country-profiles-open-pathways-reaching-climate-smart
MOSAICC has been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN in the framework of the EC/FAO Programme on “Linking information and decision making to improve food security”. MOSAICC is an integrated package of models for assessing the impact of climate change on agriculture, including the variations in crop yields and their effect on national economies.
MOSAICC is designed to be deployed at the national level in different institutions with relevant data and competencies (e.g. ministries of agriculture or environment, weather services, research centres, universities etc.). A multidisciplinary working group is set up to manage the system and lead impact assessment projects. Training on system utilization and maintenance can be provided.
Use and users
The main components of the system are one statistical downscaling portal to downscale Global Circulation Models (GCM) data to weather stations networks, one hydrological model for estimating water resources for irrigation in major basins, two water balance-based crop models to simulate crop yields under climate change scenarios and finally one Computable General Equilibrium model (CGE) to assess the effect of changing yields on national economies.
The system also comprises documentation on methods and tools, as well as user manuals and sample data. The system is typically deployed in national institutions (ministries, research institutes, universities etc.), delivered with training sessions, under the framework of an inter-institutional agreement, and supported by trust funds.
Possible applications include: assessing climate change at the local level; monitoring the impact of climate change on water resources, crops and food security; vulnerability analysis; simulations of policy response in agriculture; etc. The system and interfaces can be readily adapted to meet the needs of end-users.
- The FAO modelling system to assess climate change impacts on agriculture at national level: www.fao.org/climatechange/mosaicc/en/
- The Modelling System for Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change (MOSAICC): http://www.fao.org/climatechange/34871-0c61824b36f6cd0dfe1daea75cf06e453.pdf
A Climate-Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal (CSA-RA) was carried out by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) for the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) in September 2014.
The CSA-RA provides an assessment of key barriers and opportunities to CSA adoption across landscapes by collecting gender-disaggregated data, perceptions of climate variability, resource and labour allocation, as well as economic assessments at the household level.
The CSA-RA is intended to:
- Obtain a preliminary understanding of the farming systems, household characteristics, infrastructure, land tenure, household expenditure, asset ownership, profitability of the farming enterprises, and other important agriculture-related features.
- Identify farmers’ perceptions of weather patterns (e.g. climate variability) and its perceived impact on agricultural production.
- Obtain a preliminary understanding of major challenges and constraints faced by farmers (i.e., climate variability, land health, specific cropping and/or livestock issues, markets, etc.).
- Identify existing and potential CSA practices, agronomic and land management practices, as well as assessing demonstration plots of these practices.
- Identify opportunities for mainstreaming CSA and potential social, economic and/or institutional barriers to adoption.
- Identify gender dynamics related to objectives.
Use and users
This approach combines participatory workshops, expert interviews, household/farmer interviews, and farm transect walks to gather and capture the realities and challenges facing diverse farming communities.
- Climate Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal (CSA-RA) Prioritization Tool: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/climate-smart-agriculture-rapid-appraisal-csa-ra-prioritization-tool
- Mwongera C, Shikuku KM, Winowiecki L, Okolo W, Twyman J, Läderach P. 2014. Climate Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal (CSA-RA). Report from the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/handle/10568/65663/CIAT%20SAGCOT%20CSA-RA%20report.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
There is an urgent need for climate change science to inform on-the-ground adaptation planning. There is no shortage of scientific data that has been produced about climate change, but very little of this information is relevant to on-the-ground decision making for a number of reasons including the resolution being too coarse for most risk analysis to represent local climate conditions very well, and climate change information is often focused on temperature and precipitation rather than specific sectoral impacts.
The tool was developed in 2009 by CIAT, CCAFS and the World Bank through collaboration with the Nature Conservancy, the University of Washington, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Climate Wizard enables technical and non-technical audiences alike to access leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth.
Use and users
With Climate Wizard users can view historic temperature and rainfall maps, view state-of-the-art future predictions of temperature and rainfall, and view and download climate change maps in a few easy steps. The website is designed to be integrated within the government or other institutional websites to provide a seamless look and user experience.
The Climate Wizard program can provide climate analysis services tailored to the needs of specific decision makers and institutions in Africa. Drawing on a wide range of data, this program develops products to support climate risk analysis and resilience/adaptation planning. Moreover, the website is designed to be integrated within the government or other institutional websites to provide a seamless look and user experience.
The tool provides metrics on interpreting risks within specific sector or service, such as:
- Water supply focused on total precipitation and two measures of dryness and drought conditions.
- Flood risk driven by rainfall average, measures of wet day rainfall, and short term maximum rainfall intensities.
- Human health focuses on temperature stress (hot and cold) to people: hottest and coldest single day temperature.
- Energy demand incorporates heating and cooling demand using heating and cooling degree days.
- Agro-ecosystem impacts to climate change incorporates many aspects including total precipitation, dry conditions, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and growing degree days.
The MarkSim tool was developed by Waen Associates and is supported, among others, by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
The online MarkSimGCM tool is a stochastic (random) weather-generating platform that aims to help online users generate simulated daily weather data across the globe. It can deliver information about rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures and solar radiation, and has been specifically designed for tropical countries.
Use and users
The tool can be used to generate daily data for multiple years that are characteristic of future climate for any point in the world. To do so the users can chose which greenhouse gas emission pathways to use from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. The ambition is to support agriculture and climate researchers and help feed valuable information to agricultural impact models. For current weather conditions, MarkSimGCM uses the WorldClim dataset. WorldClim is an interpolated surface of weather station data from around the world where you can find climate data for past, current and future conditions. It is free of cost.
- MarkSim GSSAT weather file generator: http://gisweb.ciat.cgiar.org/MarkSimGCM/
- Pattern Scaling with MarkSim Weather Generator: http://www.ccafs-climate.org/pattern_scaling/#standard_version
- MarkSim manual: http://ccafs-climate.org/downloads/docs/MarkSim-manual.pdf
The framework was developed to help understand and analyses the livelihoods of the poor. A livelihood may be understood as “the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base” (DFID 1999). 3 Hence, a community’s vulnerability and coping capacity, or ‘resilience’, to climate change can be assessed using the sustainable livelihood framework.
Use and users
The sustainable livelihood framework shows the relationships between household assets, their vulnerability and the institutional context, which determine household livelihood strategies and their outcomes. The asset pentagon lies at the core of the sustainable livelihood framework. It visually presents information about the type and level of assets the community possesses. The pentagon consists of five different types of assets or capitals: human, social, natural, physical and financial (DFID 1999). 3
In general, it can be said that households with fewer assets are more vulnerable to external shocks. However, it is not only the limited amount of assets that matter in measuring people’s coping capacity. Other factors are also important, including the quality of the assets, whether and how people have access and rights to the resources, whether and how they can use them, and whether and how the resources are or can be shared. Moreover, the institutional context, which consists of policies, institutions and processes, can also influence people’s access to assets and the range of livelihood strategies available to them.
Assessing changes in these assets can help to determine a household’s resilience to external shocks.
An Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations of Climate Change project in Sudan, for example, used the sustainable livelihood framework to measure the impact of project interventions on a community’s resilience. For each type of capital, a set of criteria and indicators were developed (Elasha et al. 2005). 4
The Framework for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment was prepared as part of the Indo-German development cooperation project 'Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India' (CCA RAI).
The aim is to provide a structured approach and a sourcebook for assessing vulnerability to climate change. Furthermore, it provides a selection of methods and tools to assess the different components that contribute to a system’s vulnerability to climate change. Key questions addressed are:
- How to plan for a vulnerability assessment?
- Which tools or methods to select to carry out a vulnerability assessment?
- How to carry out a vulnerability assessment?
Use and users
The framework has been developed for decision-makers and adaptation implementers such as (local) government officials, development experts and civil society representatives. The paper starts with the theoretical background behind the concept of vulnerability. Next, two broad approaches for assessing vulnerability are introduced; vulnerability assessments can be carried out either at a local level using participatory methods and tools as well local climate data (bottom-up assessments) or at state, national or global level using large-scale simulation models and statistical methods (top-down assessments). The introduction to the concept of vulnerability is followed by the main framework consisting of four different stages for assessing a system’s vulnerability to climate change. Each stage in the vulnerability assessment consists of steps that specify which kinds of analyses should be carried out in that stage. Every step contains a set of guiding questions and a list of suggested methods and tools that can be used to answer these questions.
Each stage of the framework is followed by two practical examples of vulnerability assessments carried out in India: a bottom-up vulnerability assessment carried out at the outset of a GIZ supported climate change adaptation project, and a top-down vulnerability assessment carried out for the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh as a whole. Finally, the reader is presented with an extensive yet not exhaustive selection of methods and tools that can be used to assess the components of vulnerability to climate change at different levels (GIZ 2014, p. 34-36). 5
Background and purpose
The CSA Sourcebook edited by FAO (2013a) 1 provides guidelines to help establish a clearer understanding of the institutional environment where CSA technologies and practices are to be implemented.
Use and users
The methodology includes the following steps:
Step 1. General overview
- List existing climate change plans in the project country (e.g. NAPs, NAPAs and NAMAs). To which extend do they mention agriculture?
- List existing CSA projects? By whom and how? Why/why not?
- List all sectors the project involves and which should be involved (e.g. agriculture, forestry, fisheries).
- List the relevant individual institutions involved and to be involved. List general competencies (e.g. finance and/or service providing institutions, stakeholder groups, value systems, etc).
Step 2. Institutional interests and mandate
Different kinds of institutions have different interests and functions.
- Using the institutions listed in step 1, sketch their interests, underlying principles and aims (may be overlapping competencies).
- List how these institutions stand to benefit from the project in question.
Step 3. Institutional strengths
Different kinds of institutions have different kinds of authority and areas of influence. Map out apparent strengths for the institutions listed in step 1.
- How can these be capitalized upon in the project design?
Step 4. Institutional weaknesses
- Note down institutional weaknesses that require support for the project to flourish. Possible areas include (World Bank Institute 2011): 6 weak social and political commitment; minimal stakeholder participation in setting priorities and in transparency issues; poorly defined rights and responsibilities; complex and inflexible administrative and bureaucratic structures; corruption; and lack of means.
- Factor these institutional weaknesses into the planning to ensure the project’s aims are feasible, given the institutional context.
- Use this part of the assessment to determine plans for capacity development within the project.
Step 5. Scope for synergies
Based on the mappings produced in steps 1-4:
- Identify what kinds of synergies and collaborations could best bring out the institutional strengths and compensate for identified institutional weaknesses.
- Consider how such partnerships could be brokered and mediated.
- Bring partners together and jointly map out desired outcomes and strategies for achieving them
- Let these synergies guide the project’s progress.
FAO. 2013a. Climate-Smart Agriculture: Sourcebook. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3325e.pdf Between now and 2050, the world’s population will increase by one-third. Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, FAO estimates that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed. Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction. Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture, requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.
Hill Clarvis M. 2014. Review of Financing Institutions and Mechanisms, in Financing Strategies for Integrated Landscape Investment. Washington, DC: EcoAgriculture Partners, on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/10/ReviewofFinancingInstitutionsandMechanisms_HillClarvis_April2014.pdf Integrated landscape management (ILM) approaches are key to addressing the interdependent resource governance and management challenges that a range of stakeholders face (small holders and farmers, agribusiness, local communities, utility operators, regional and local governments) within a given landscape. ILM refers to long-term collaboration among different groups of land managers and stakeholders to achieve the multiple objectives required from the landscape, reducing tradeoffs and strengthening synergies among the different landscape objectives. There is concern that there are major barriers to sources of funding and finance for such ILM initiatives due to the misalignment between such multi-benefit and multi-actor approaches and the siloed financial mechanisms for specific sectors or policy goals (e.g. agriculture, renewable energy, food security, climate adaptation, climate mitigation, catchment management). The report tracks innovations in ILM finance across the public and private sector.
DFID.1999. Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets. Lodnon, United Kingdom: Department for International Development (DFID).http://www.livelihoodscentre.org/-/sustainable-livelihoods-guidance-sheets?inheritRedirect=true The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) concept and framework adopted by DFID in the late 1990s (building on work by IDS, IISD, Oxfam and others) have been adapted by different organisations to suit a variety of contexts, issues, priorities and applications. Core to livelihoods approaches are a set of principles that underpin best practice in any development intervention: people-centred, responsive and participatory, multi-level, conducted in partnership, sustainable and dynamic.
Elasha BO, Elhassan NG, Ahmed H, Zakieldin S. 2005. Sustainable livelihood approach for assessing community resilience to climate change: case studies from Sudan. Assessment of impacts and adaptations to climate change (AIACC) Working Paper No. 17. AIACC.http://www.start.org/Projects/AIACC_Project/working_papers/Working%20Papers/AIACC_WP_No017.pdf
Exposure to climate variability and extremes, most particularly drought, poses substantial risks to people living in the Sudano-Sahel region. In several rural communities of Sudan, community based sustainable livelihood (SL) and environmental management (EM) measures have been implemented to build resilience to the stresses of drought and other climate variations and extremes. It is hypothesized that these measures also build resilience and adaptive capacity that lessen the vulnerability of rural communities of the region to future climate change. A research method based upon a sustainable livelihood conceptual framework is being developed and applied in case studies in Sudan to evaluate the performance of sustainable livelihood and environmental management measures for building resilience to today’s climate-related shocks and for their potential for reducing community vulnerability to future climate change. The initial design of the sustainable livelihood framework and research method are described in this paper. As research on the case studies progressed, the framework and method were modified in response to the specific contexts of the selected cases. The revised framework and method will be described in papers on the case studies that are in preparation. Sustainable livelihood assessment is intended to generate an understanding of the role and impact of a project on enhancing and securing local people’s livelihoods. As such, it relies on a range of data collection methods, a combination of qualitative and quantitative indicators and, to varying degrees, application of a sustainable livelihoods model or framework. The research used the sustainable livelihood model of UK Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID), and the notion of the five capitals (natural, physical, human, social and financial), albeit loosely, in order to frame the inquiry and capture perceptions of coping/adaptive capacity in the data collection process. Primary results obtained so far indicate that the framework can be a useful tool in understanding the impact of sustainable livelihood measures in increasing communities' resilience to climatic stresses - mainly drought - from local people’s point of views.
GIZ. 2014. Framework for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.https://www.weadapt.org/sites/weadapt.org/files/legacy-new/knowledge-base/files/5476022698f9agiz2014-1733en-framework-climate-change.pdf
This framework was prepared to provide decisionmakers and adaptation implementers such as (local) government officials, development experts and civil society representatives with a structured approach and a sourcebook for assessing vulnerability to climate change. Furthermore, it provides a selection of methods and tools to assess the different components that contribute to a system’s vulnerability to climate change. Key questions to be addressed are: • How to plan for a vulnerability assessment? • Which tools or methods to select to carry out a vulnerability assessment? • How to carry out a vulnerability assessment? The reader will first be acquainted with the theoretical background behind the concept of vulnerability. Next, two broad approaches for assessing vulnerability will be introduced: Vulnerability assessments can be carried out either at a local level using participatory methods and tools as well local climate data (bottom-up assessments) or at state, national or global level using large-scale simulation models and statistical methods (top-down assessments). The introduction to the concept of vulnerability is followed by the main framework consisting of four different stages for assessing a system’s vulnerability to climate change. Each stage in the vulnerability assessment consists of steps that specify which kinds of analyses should be carried out in that stage. Every step contains a set of guiding questions and a list of suggested methods and tools that can be used to answer these questions. Each stage of the framework is followed by two practical examples of vulnerability assessments carried out in India: A bottom-up vulnerability assessment carried out at the outset of a GIZ supported climate change adaptation project and a top-down vulnerability assessment carried out for the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh as a whole. Finally, the reader is presented with an extensive yet not exhaustive selection of methods and tools that can be used to assess the components of vulnerability to climate change at different levels.
World Bank. 2011. Weather index insurance for agriculture: Guidance for development practitioners. Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper 50.http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2012/01/19/000356161_20120119000449/Rendered/PDF/662740NWP0Box30or0Ag020110final0web.pdf Since the late 1990s, there has been a lot of discussion and debate about the promise and potential uses of index based agriculture insurance. The following paper is a distillation of the findings of the work undertaken by the World Bank. It is deliberately not a collation of case studies, but rather a practical overview of the subject. The purpose of this paper is to introduce task managers and development professionals, who are not insurance sector specialists, to weather index insurance. We seek to place this relatively new insurance product in a broader context of agricultural risk management and more specifically within the context of agricultural insurance. Ultimately, the paper seeks to take the reader through the main decision points that would lead to a decision to embark upon a weather index insurance pilot and then assists them to understand the technical procedures and requirements that are involved with it. In addition, the paper seeks to advise the reader of the practical challenges and implications that are involved with a pilot of this nature and what they might expect to encounter during the initial stages of implementation.