Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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11.2.3 Transferable Technologies for both Adaptation and Mitigation

Mitigation options are available that could result in a significant decrease in GHG emissions or increase carbon sequestration into agricultural soils. If implemented, most of them are more likely to increase rather than decrease crop and animal productivity. Considerable progress has been made in evaluating the potential effects of climate change on global agriculture, but significant uncertainties remain, so agricultural policies are specifically appropriate for adapting to climate change. A range of adaptation options can be employed to increase the flexibility and adaptability of vulnerable systems, and reverse trends that increase vulnerability. Many of these attempts to abate climate change will be of immediate benefit, and can therefore be considered "no-regret" technologies.

In order to achieve these objectives, technology transfer must occur more rapidly, and with a more intense focus on those technologies that further sustainable development. Table 11.3 summarises some key technology examples, catalogued by objectives:

Table 11.3 Examples of transferable technologies catalogued by objectives and specific technology/objectives
CO2 Sequestering in Soils Conservation tillage Yes Yes M H Decades H South America
  Improve irrigation Yes Yes H H Years H Developing Countries
  Yield improvement Yes Yes M M Decades H All
Higher Yields Genetics Yes Yes H M Decades H All
  Improve inputs Yes Yes M M Decades M All
  Pest Control Yes Yes M M Decades M All
Reducing Emissions Improve animal agriculture Yes Yes H M Years M All
  Lower GHGs Yes Yes H Not sure Years H All
  Improve feed efficiency Yes Yes M M Years H Developing countries
  Concentrating on best lands Yes Yes M M Decades H All
  Improve nitrogen efficiency Yes Yes M M Years H All


There are many barriers that may be encountered (Table 11.4). Some of these options require more labour and some need more capital investment, which may represent the main constraints slowing adoption of the technologies.

Table 11.4 Barriers for adoption of the selected mitigation technologies
1 Irrigation efficiency Requires large investments and national technology and assessment commitment Requires technology transfer to the farm levelRequires cooperative community action
2 Direct seeding of rice Required intensive weed control
3 Substitution of traditional varieties by improved varieties Less preferred grain qualityNew pest problems in certain areasChanged management
4 Conservation tillage Risk of reduction of yieldDifferent machinery needs, crop varieties, soil moisture and temperature conditionsRequired intensive weed control
5 Ammoniation of straw for animal feed Ammonium sulphate is more expensive than urea
6 Large scale biogas digester More investments, more complex to operate and maintain

In most cases the transfer of technologies needs to take into account, e.g., the link between technology adoption and diffusion and enhancing income in technology receiving countries. This will be critical in achieving adoption and wide-scale diffusion of alternative technologies in these countries. The lack of financial incentives will be a major obstacle to the adoption of some of these practices. Otherwise, the system depends on subsidies of some sort (e.g., cost shares) to speed adoption and diffusion, and when the subsidy runs out, the practice is dropped.

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