Switching from maize to climate-resilient lavender in IndiaKashmir, India

Background 1

Smallholder farmers in the Baramulla, Bandipora and Pulwama districts of Kashmir are facing increasingly undependable weather and degraded soils. As a result, farmers are incurring substantial debts from repeated crop failures. Many have been forced to sell their land. But a local farmers’ cooperative (Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Growers’ Cooperative) has demonstrated that there is another viable option. Farmers can switch from maize to perennial plants such as lavender, which thrives in poor soils and under harsh climates. As a hardy perennial, it has a 20-year lifespan, stands up to unpredictable weather, needs minimal input and is almost pest-free. The profits are as much as USD 4,000 per hectare per year. The cooperative was formed in 2009 and grew from 30 to 300 members by 2011, with collective harvests steadily rising. The cooperative provides a central hub for smallholder members to access market or even export their products. The cooperative has also used a federal grant to set up a USD 500,000 aromatic oil distillation plant and now markets the essential oil of lavender in India and the United Kingdom under the brand name Pure Aroma.

Relationship to CSA

The risk of low crop yields, or of total crop failure, due to drought has been eliminated through substituting the annual crop of maize with lavender, a hardy perennial. Productivity (in terms of USD/ha) has been greatly increased. Perennial crops, with a life span of 20 years, can contribute to climate change mitigation by greater carbon sequestration below ground in their roots than annual crops such as maize, but this has yet to be quantified in this case study.

Impact and lessons learned

Entrepreneurial leadership, coupled with collective action through a local cooperative, has created an enterprise that has enabled a growing number of poor farmers to escape poverty and debt. Strong government support through a federal grant has further enabled the cooperative to offer planting material and training to new farmers and, importantly, to successfully link them with international markets. The cooperative model offers opportunities that smallholder farmers could not attain alone—from bulk selling and exporting to processing, branding and marketing a value-added product.


CCAFS Big Facts - Switching to climate-resilient aromatic crops in India: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts/#theme=evidence-of-success&subtheme=crops&casestudy=cropsCs1


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    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.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

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