A Climate-Smart, Regenerative, and Nature-Based Agriculture Framework in Southeast Asia

climate smart, regenerative and nature based agriculture
A webinar on climate-smart, regenerative, and nature-based solutions was presented by Grow Asia and Padang & Co.
Food system demands have increased exponentially in recent decades and are estimated to continue growing as global populations increase and economic affluence expands. However, the very foundation of a productive system – healthy lands and soils and clean water supply – is already under immense pressure.


The second webinar in Grow Asia and Padang & Co’s digital learning series for 2022 took place on July 26, 2022, discussing climate-smart, regenerative, and nature-based solutions for agriculture in Southeast Asia. The webinar aims to provide Southeast Asia with a roadmap for action based on the different perspectives and aspects of regional experiences related to these critical elements of a sustainable agri-food transition. This solution not only provides a positive impact on the environment but also on social and economic factors.

climate-smart, regenerative, and nature-based solutions for agriculture in Southeast Asia

Alexia Semov, community lead at the World Economic Forum, initiated the discussion based on a recently published report, Transforming Food Systems with Farmers: A Pathway for the EU, as part of the 100 Million Farmers’ EU Carbon+ Farming Coalition. According to the report, farmers across Europe face five common challenges in planning climate-smart agricultural solutions:
  • Farmer economics
  • Lack of awareness and knowledge
  • Uneven adoption of technologies and data
  • Fragmentation of policies
  • Farmer diversity
There are key concepts regarding the topic, and the speakers discussed them in the webinar. The key concepts are:
  1. Climate-smart agriculture, agroecology, regenerative agriculture, and nature-based solutions have diverse definitions and use; that’s why they need to be seen from diverse perspectives and experiences. These are different aspects of nature-positive agriculture, and they try to find ways to contribute positively to natural resources by using primary agricultural production methods against traditional nature-negative methods.
  2. Climate-smart agriculture has the potential to increase smallholder productivity and profitability. Involving smallholders is one of the success factors in this program through the design, financing, and implementation of these solutions. In this case, few smallholders across Southeast Asian countries actively use climate-smart agriculture and commodities (e.g., coffee, coconut).
  3. This solution is attractive to impact investors. However, there are challenges to raising public and private capital to start climate-smart agriculture techniques. These include eliminating risk from their new revenue models, handling the challenges in monitoring and reporting, and combining policy and market measures to reduce the current “premium” associated with manufactured commodities.
  4. Biological diversity and climate risk are long-term concerns that require immediate remediation. Biodiversity and climate risk will have a huge long-term impact on short-term economic crises (e.g., post-pandemic recovery, conflict in Ukraine, and many more).
There are some similarities between these challenges and those encountered in Southeast Asia. Regardless, it needs a different approach and improvement. Not just different climatic conditions, the solution will also need to take into account the importance of context-relevant knowledge and strategies for addressing dwindling natural resource base and climate change held by local communities. The collective wealth of indigenous knowledge related to agricultural practices, including land preparation/ manuring/ soil treatment, cropping systems, input management, water resource management and utilization, and soil and water conservation practices, used especially by tribal farmers of the region.