Mitigate+: Research for Low-Emission Food Systems


The global food system is critical for food and nutrition security and livelihoods, yet produces 21–37% of greenhouse gas emissions, and is responsible for 33% of agricultural soil degradation, 20% of aquifer overexploitation and 60% of biodiversity loss. To support climate adaptation and mitigation and ensure a more sustainable future, a systems transformation is now urgent.

Many current interventions tend to miss the mark, due to a lack of research, data or general understanding of food systems approaches. Better knowledge among decision-makers is needed to stimulate both policy momentum and investment in food systems solutions.


This Initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in seven countries that are regional top-tier emitters for food systems, reducing annual global food systems emissions by 6.5% by 2030.


This objective will be achieved through:

  • Planning a strategy for food systems transformation: Co-developing and testing a Food Systems Climate Intervention Planning Framework (FOODCLIP) and piloting its application in each target country. The framework will be used to design emissions-reduction and carbon-capture initiatives at subnational and national scales.
  • Developing data, evidence and tools for food systems transformation: Providing subnational, national and global actors with the critical data, methods, tools, evidence and capacity required to reduce and report on food systems greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Applying a Living Labs approach to climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainability: Prioritizing mitigation approaches that demonstrate potential for delivering sustainable development co-benefits, such as climate adaptation, increased productivity and more equitable socio-economic benefit-sharing for vulnerable groups.
  • Scaling low-emission food systems: Supporting countries to create the enabling environment for scaling up and out at least five CGIAR technologies and innovations with the potential to transform food systems, reduce emissions and deliver sustainable development co-benefits.
  • Engagement and agenda transformation for policy on climate change and food systems: Ensuring that policymakers and practitioner communities have the information, analysis, tools and networks they need to achieve efficient and cost-effective reduction of food systems greenhouse gas emissions, alongside equitable impacts and co-benefits, at national and international scales.


This Initiative will work in the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Peru and Vietnam.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Global and national government agencies, civil society and private sector planners increasing their capacity to use co-developed tools, data and analyses to design at least five inclusive food systems emissions reduction strategies and/or carbon sink initiatives, assisted by the FOODCLIP framework.
  2. Increased rigor and certainty in data, knowledge, tools and capacity, improving food system greenhouse gas emission monitoring and reporting in at least five countries, and empowering governments and stakeholders to establish viable mitigation targets, support scaling, verify the impact of measures, and ensure fair distribution of costs and benefits.
  3. Food sector actors and communities participating in Living Labs building frameworks for co-design, adaptation, testing and mainstreaming of low- and negative-emissions mitigation solutions, based on principles of gender and social equity. Food systems in seven countries increasing value chain efficiency, reducing food loss and waste, and delivering co-benefits more equitably.
  4. Interventions targeting carbon sequestration and reduced greenhouse gas emissions scaling up and out via five CGIAR technologies that demonstrate climate mitigation effectiveness. Investors and policymakers incentivized to emphasize emission reductions from food systems in next-generation Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.
  5. Food systems approaches to low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development landing high on the world’s political agenda. Increasing resources allocated to low-emissions food systems development, stimulating mitigation action. Informed food systems decision-making based on solid science, good governance, and principles of gender and social equity.


Projected impacts and benefits include:


Food system emissions are reduced across seven countries, representing a 7% reduction in global food system emissions, and achieved in ways that support climate-resilient development.


Reduced food loss and waste improves food security and nutrition for 8 million people. Increased efficiency in the food system means that more food becomes available at lower prices, increasing accessibility. Reduced waste at food banks further improves support to the food insecure.


Reduced food loss before the farm gate and increased farming system productivity increases producer incomes. Improved infrastructure to reduce post-harvest losses stimulates overall economic development by enabling access to new (non-agricultural) employment opportunities, benefiting 8 million people.


Diversification of production offers scope for both smallholder and female employment, provides higher returns to land and labor, and scope for income diversification, while shorter growing cycles soften seasonal liquidity constraints — all of which support poor rural households, benefiting 6 million women and youth.


Work through the Living Labs and research will contribute at least 10% of the Bonn Challenge target of restoring at least 25 million hectares of forestland and wetlands globally, with scaling then doubling that area (partially via mitigation work around avoided deforestation in protected natural areas, and partially from landscape restoration, including soil regenerative practices in production systems).


For more details, view the Initiative proposal


Header photo: 27 years old Kuldeep Kharangher sprays UREA on his rice farm after checking the color of the paddy leaf with a leaf color chart. The leaf color chart helps him decide the most appropriate dosage of nitrogen fertilizers (Urea) for his crops. This saves costs and also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by P. Vishwanathan/CCAFS.