Barriers to the adoption of alley cropping as a climate-smart agriculture practice: lessons from maize cultivation among the maya in southern belize
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Kongsager, Rico (2017). Barriers to the adoption of alley cropping as a climate-smart agriculture practice: lessons from maize cultivation among the maya in southern belize. Forests 8 (7),
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is proposed as a necessity, as the agricultural sector will need to adapt to resist future climatic change, to which high emissions from the sector contribute significantly. This study, which is an exploratory case study based on qualitative interviews and field observations, investigates the barriers to making a CSA-adjustment in maize production among Maya communities in southern Belize. The adjustment is alley cropping, which is a low-input adjustment that has the potential to result in both adaptation and mitigation benefits, and furthermore, to enhance food security. The findings show that a CSA-adjustment in small-scale maize production in Maya villages in southern Belize is possible in principle, though several barriers can make the overall climate-smart objective difficult to implement in practice. The barriers are of a proximate and indirect nature, exist at different spatial scales, and involve various levels of governance. The barriers are shown to be land tenure, market access, and changes in the traditional culture, however, these barriers are not homogenous across the villages in the region. To break down the barriers an overall district-level strategy is possible, but the toolbox should contain a wide variety of approaches. These could happen, for instance, through alterations to land tenure and the land taxation system nationally, enhancement of the agricultural extension system to ease access to knowledge and input at the district level, and support to a less complex governance structure at the village level.