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Climate Change

We all are drivers of (climate) change

Apr 16th, 2014 | By
By Neil Palmer

By Neil Palmer

Has the tone changed in discussions about our climate?

That of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published on 31 March certainly has. While the IPCC has repeatedly warned us about the risks related to climate change, this time around, the message sounds particularly urgent.

The report confirms that human activities are responsible for changes occurring in the global climate, and that its impacts are serious and are happening now. It tells us how those are affecting ecosystems, the economy, and people’s livelihoods – including effects on activities and sectors on which we all depend, such as water, energy, food, and health.

The degree of scientific consensus about how greenhouse gases from human activities are already affecting food and farming, and on how the situation could rapidly worsen over the next few decades, is unprecedented. The report even sounds the alarm about “the breakdown of food systems, linked to warming.”

In her analysis of the IPCC’s findings, Sonja Vermeulen, head of research for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), notes that the growing consensus on the impact of climate change on food security should accelerate the expansion of proven adaptation strategies and new programs.

Switching varieties, for example, gives a median benefit of 23%, compared to 3% for optimizing irrigation and 1% for increasing fertilizer use. This suggests that genebanks and breeding of heat- and drought-tolerant varieties are priorities for adaptation investments in agriculture.

“We need to see an increase in public investments, and also a more creative use of private capital and insurance products that can help farmers and vulnerable communities prepare for a future that is likely to feature more frequent encounters with weather extremes” Vermeulen said.

Tropical areas, which are most exposed to increased climate risks and are also home to a large proportion of the world’s food-insecure people, are admittedly particularly vulnerable.

To read the original post by Stefanie Neno, visit the CIAT News blog.


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Capacity building workshop in Laos: climate change, crop modeling and land use change monitoring

Apr 10th, 2014 | By
As part of a study to provide an overview of climate variability and likely climate change impacts on agriculture across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in South East Asia, the regional office of CIAT in Hanoi together with the National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and Scientists from DAPA have organized a training how to use crop suitability models and different data for land use change monitoring. Participants came from the Agriculture and Forestry Policy Research Centre, the National Meteorology department, Department of Agriculture (DOA), National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), Department of Agriculture Land Management (DALaM), University of Laos , Department of Planning and Cooperation/ Ministry of Agriculture (DoPC/ MAF),IWMI, IFPD, CNNCD, IRRI. The workshop was held last Tuesday, 1st of April in Vientiane, Laos PDR.
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The following agenda was provided:
- To give an overview of the likely impacts of climate change on agriculture in the GMS region.
- To present and discuss the methodology of Ecocrop analysis and land use change assessment.
- To present and discuss the results of crop suitability analysis, land use change assessment.
- To train participants in the use of the databases and models

A general outcome of the workshop was an agreement, that the improvement of baseline data on climate and national production statistics is necessary and could help to improve substantially the preliminary results of crop-climate-suitability modeling, especially for Laos very few meteorological stations where included in climate baseline used for the study. The participating institutions are very much interested in improving the baseline data and collaborate in future planned activities by CCAFS and CIAT.  

The outputs of the workshop and project will be used to guide the research activities of the CGIAR program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and to inform and provide national and sub-national governments with policy recommendations.



Uso racional del agua como estrategia de sostenibilidad productiva

Apr 8th, 2014 | By
Buga es uno de los sitios experimentales de validación de variedades, medición de huella hídrica y de huella de carbono en maíz.

Buga es uno de los sitios experimentales de validación de variedades, medición de huella hídrica y de huella de carbono en maíz.

Un par de manos raídas toman las hojas secas de un maizal que ya casi está listo para la cosecha. Mientras se adentra en los campos, Lisimberg Nieva habla sobre la transformación de la que ha sido testigo en el último año, gracias a un proyecto emprendido por el Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT).

“Antes, nosotros echábamos agua por echar. Cuando íbamos a regar una parcela dejábamos correr el agua por casi cinco horas. Se gastaba tanta agua que algunas veces a las 3 de la tarde ya no había de la que almacenamos en el lago”, cuenta el productor.

Desde hace siete años, Lisimberg cuida y vive en una finca productora de maíz ubicada en Buga, Valle del Cauca. Según él, la costumbre de regar las parcelas ha tenido una transformación que cuida el medio ambiente. “Ahora ya no nos demoramos tanto. Regamos una parcela en una hora y media y nos sobra agua. Este nuevo sistema es muy bueno porque mide el uso que le damos y nos ayuda a ahorrarla”, afirma.

El proyecto ‘Cuantificación de la Huella Hídrica en los Sistemas Productivos de maíz, arroz y papa’ cuenta con el apoyo de la Federación Nacional de Cultivadores de Cereales (Fenalce), la Federación Nacional de Arroceros (Fedearroz) y la Fundación para el desarrollo sostenible y territorial (Fundesot). Está enmarcado en el convenio que adelanta el CIAT con el Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural (MADR) denominado ‘Clima y Sector Agropecuario Colombiano: Adaptación para la Sostenibilidad Productiva’, el cual busca fortalecer la capacidad de adaptación del sector agropecuario a la variabilidad y al cambio climático y mejorar la eficiencia del uso de los recursos en sistemas productivos como fríjol, yuca, palma, frutales y sistemas silvopastoriles, además de los ya mencionados.

Un contador de agua de riego, una estación climática que registra las condiciones del lugar, sensores de humedad del suelo y un lisímetro de pesada -que mide la cantidad de agua utilizada por la planta y el suelo- son algunos de los instrumentos para cuantificar la Huella Hídrica, indicador de impacto de la eficiencia en el uso del agua de forma directa e indirecta en un sistema agrícola.

Lea el resto de la historia en el blog de noticias del Convenio MADR-CIAT.

Otros posts relacionados:



The key to climate-friendly coffee production

Mar 28th, 2014 | By

While Arabica coffee production has been strongly affected by climate change in Latin America, it has also contributed to greenhouse gas emissions in the recent past through the conversion of large areas of coffee from agroforests to lightly shaded or full-sun production. Coffee production influences the climate in other ways as well, including the crop’s carbon footprint but also through long-term carbon storage in the surrounding vegetation of the production system. Van Rikxoort et al. have analyzed the climate impact of four main types of coffee production systems – traditional and commercial polycultures, and shaded and unshaded monocultures – and looked at ways to make coffee production more climate friendly.

For the full story by Stefanie Neno, visit the CIAT webpage.

Read the peer-reviewed article: Carbon footprints and carbon stocks reveal climate-friendly coffee production by Henk van Rikxoort (UTZ Certified), Götz Schroth (Rainforest Alliance), Peter Läderach and Beatriz Rodríguez-Sánchez (CIAT).



Workshop: climate change impacts on agriculture across the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Mar 19th, 2014 | By

As part of a study to provide an overview of climate variability and likely climate change impacts on agriculture across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in South East Asia, the regional office of CIAT in Hanoi together with the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and Scientists from DAPA have given a two-day stakeholder engagement workshop and training. Participants from Agriculture Research Institutes and Universities of Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and two neighboring provinces of China Yunnan and Guangxi have been invited to attend the workshop and training.

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The following agenda was provided:

  • Overview of the likely impacts of climate change on agriculture in the GMS region.
  • Present and discuss the methodology of suitability analysis and land use change assessment.
  • Presentation from participants and discussion on climate change, crop modeling and land use change
  • Training of participants in the use of the climate-suitability model Ecocrop.

The outputs of the workshop and project will be used to guide the research activities of the CGIAR program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and to inform and provide national and sub-national governments with policy recommendations.

 

 

 



RClimTool: Una aplicación libre para el análisis de series climatológicas

Mar 12th, 2014 | By

Escrito por Lizeth Llanos y Patricia Alvarez. Consultar el Manual del Usuario/Video Tutorial 

Como apoyo a la toma de decisiones en el sector agropecuario se han desarrollado diferentes metodologías y herramientas que requieren como entrada, información climatológica. El uso de datos históricos con la suficiente calidad y cantidad es de vital importancia para obtener resultados en modelación de cultivos y predicción climática con el menor grado de incertidumbre posible. Es común encontrar errores tipográficos, datos faltantes, atípicos y tendencias en la información de series de tiempo, lo que implica ejecutar un proceso minucioso para el control de calidad, estimación de la información faltante y  análisis de las series.

El software estadístico de libre acceso R, contiene paquetes como Climdex para el control de calidad y cálculo de indicadores para detectar señales de Cambio Climático y Climatol para la homogeneización de las series climatológicas. Sin embargo, estas herramientas no integran todos los análisis requeridos para detectar y corregir las anomalías presentes en las series, por esta razón surge la necesidad de integrarlos en una interfaz de acceso libre y fácil uso. RClimTool es la herramienta que está siendo desarrollada como parte de las actividades del Convenio: MADR-CIAT “Clima y sector agropecuario colombiano, adaptación para la sostenibilidad productiva diseñada con el objetivo de facilitar a los usuarios el análisis estadístico de control de calidad, llenado de datos faltantes, análisis de homogeneidad y cálculo de indicadores para las series climatológicas diarias de temperaturas (máxima y mínima) y  precipitación. Esto es posible a través de una interfaz gráfica, desarrollada bajo el lenguaje de R, que cuenta con siete módulos (ver figura 1), los cuales ofrecen diferentes opciones para llevar a cabo un análisis completo.

Figura 1. Módulos de RClimTool

Figura 1. Módulos de RClimTool

Algunos de los módulos más relevantes se describen a continuación:

  • Análisis gráfico – descriptivo: Ofrece un resumen de las principales características para cada una de las series a través de un análisis descriptivo (medidas de tendencia central y dispersión) y gráficos como: diagramas de cajas (boxplot), diagramas de dispersión e histogramas, que permiten visualizar el comportamiento general de las series climatológicas.
  • Control de calidad: Se proponen algunos filtros gruesos y físicos que sirven para identificar datos no razonables y/o erróneos presentes en las series, verificación de coherencia interna, temporal y espacial.
  • Llenado datos faltantes: Se utiliza el paquete RMAWGEN, el cual a partir de la estimación de modelos VAR, utiliza simultáneamente la información de estaciones climatológicas cercanas para completar la información faltante en cada estación.
  • Análisis de homogeneidad: Se utilizan algunas de las pruebas formales estadísticas más usadas para comprobar la homogeneidad de la serie, e identificar cambios en media y varianza. Algunas de las pruebas incluidas son el Test Mann Kendall,  Test U Man-Whitney,  Test F, Test T y pruebas formales para detectar normalidad (contrastes de normalidad).

Caso de estudio: RClimTool ha sido usado para el análisis de la información climatológica de las estaciones El Cucharo, El Palmar y Mogotes (ver figura 2), proporcionada por el Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales (IDEAM), localizadas en el departamento de Santander, cercanas a la zona donde se encuentra la parcela experimental de fríjol arbustivo, establecida en el marco del Convenio MADR-CIAT. Esta información climática es requerida como dato de entrada para los modelos DSSAT y CropWat.

Figura 2. Salidas graficas RClimTool

Figura 2. Salidas graficas RClimTool

Actualmente, se están estudiando otras metodologías mas robustas para el llenado de datos faltantes para la variable precipitación. Por otra parte, se proyecta implementar nuevas aplicaciones dentro de la herramienta, una de ellas será el cálculo de indicadores agroclimáticos prácticos y específicos, por ejemplo: indicadores de sequía (SPI), déficit de presión de vapor, frecuencia de eventos climáticos dentro de un rango establecido, unidades térmicas del cultivo, grados días acumulados, entre otros. Que permitan al usuario caracterizar la incidencia de fenómenos climáticos normales y extremos sobre los cultivos, y tener un soporte en la toma de decisiones al momento de implementar estrategias de adaptación y manejo del riesgo agroclimático.

Para mayor información sobre esta herramienta puede consultar el Manual del Usuario/Video Tutorial o contactar a Lizeth Llanos (l.llanos@cgiar.org) y David Arango (d.arango@cgiar.org)

Nota aclaratoria: Esta herramienta ha sido diseñada para el apoyo, automatización de procesos y análisis de series climáticas dentro del convenio MADR-CIAT. No se pretende competir, ni suplantar otras herramientas disponibles y desarrolladas por otras entidades. Por el contrario, se busca un trabajo colaborativo y de retroalimentación constante entre metodologías y entidades como IDEAM e IRI

Ver otros links relacionados: JAZIKU: “Explorando teleconexiones y fenómenos de variabilidad climática” 



Climate Change: Future Prospects for Coffee and Mango Growers in Haiti

Mar 7th, 2014 | By

Agriculture is and continues to be the engine to development in Haiti. It serves as a tool to preserve domestic food security and is instrumental to Haiti’s economic recovery and social stability. Undisputedly, agriculture is the most vulnerable sector to climate change. Vulnerability however does not only extend to vagaries of climate, but also the accumulate challenges pose by soil erosion, highly varying soil capacity and land prevalences. The potential impact of climate change on agricultural crop production therefore varies spatially and depends on crop specific biophysical constraints. This indicates that for Haiti, where agriculture use spans over 1.7 million hectares (more than 60% of the country) understanding the interplay between climate and the production of the country’s valued crops is of utmost importance.

The collaborative efforts between the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) are geared towards this objective. In 2010, CRS and CIAT joint forces to assess the state of mango and coffee in Haiti in order to provide recommendations to improve current production quality and quantity. Their work was directly aimed at contributing to ongoing long-term strategic investment in these value chains by predicting and validating current and future suitability of coffee, mango and diversifications crops in Haiti.

Climate Impacts on Agriculture Processes

Crops’ growth and maturity are highly influenced by temperature. Increase temperature, particularly high night time temperature (> 18 °C), and drought conditions have substantial effects on biomass production and the reproductive stages of plants and crops.

The Global Circulation Model (GCM) reveals that temperature in Haiti will increase an average of 0.9°C in 2020 and 1.8°C by 2050. Average temperature for the hottest month will increase from 30.9°C to 32.9°C by 2050 and the driest month is projected to get 10% less rainfall.  This increase in temperature translates to greater vagaries in climate and more seasonal precipitation. Decline in precipitation together with increasing minimum, mean and maximum temperatures can cause water deficits due to higher evapotranspiration rates of plants triggering soil water deficits and heat stresses. Impacts on crop productivity will thus be determined by plants’ susceptibility to increase temperature.

Biophysical impacts of Coffee and Mango

Coffee and Mango are two of Haiti’s most vital value chains. Economically they represent major foreign exchange prospects for the country, and socially it is a major source of livelihood. In the case of coffee, changing climatic conditions could lower the quality and yields of current coffee producing regions in Haiti. Currently, the altitude of coffee plantation in Haiti ranges between 400 meters in the North to 1,300 meters in the South. Vagaries in temperature and precipitation patterns however will limit the areas suitable for coffee and reduce areas which currently possess high suitability. In lower altitudes zones (up to 1200 meters above sea level) Bioclimatic model (BC) predicts a lost in suitability for coffee. But higher altitudes will gain suitability with a maximum suitability between 1500m.a.s.l. and 1800m.a.s.l. in 2050. Given the significance of coffee to Haiti’s economy, adaptation efforts is critical to curb economic losses that may result from decline in crop suitability.

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Mango on the other hand will remain a highly suitable crop in many regions  of Haiti despite temperature increase. BC model predicts minimal changes  from excellent suitability for mango to that of very suitable. Additionally,  there will be a shift geographically from concentrated areas close the coast to  inland areas with higher altitude. Developing the mango value chain is highly  recommended given that vagaries in climate do not pose much threat.  Improvement in this sector should therefore focus on organizational and      marketing development of existing collaborative networks within the industry.

coffee and mango climate suitability

Climate Change: Diversification Options for Haiti

 In exploring diversification options for Haiti the Ecocrop (EC) model was used to assess diversification options for coffee farmers. The (EC) model reveals that high suitability exists in Haiti for Cocoa and is not predicted to be affected by changes from long term climate patterns. Other areas to explore diversification efforts include sorghum, ground nut or peanut and white and yellow yams. Despite temperature increase suitability of sorghum will increase in Haiti between 4 and 8% in available land with no or low limited soil capacity by 2050. Peanut and White and yellow yams will also experience increase in suitability.

Commercial opportunities therefore exist in these areas with the possibility of minimum losses caused by climate vagaries. This is particularly true for cocoa where increase in global demand for cocoa presents a valued economic venture worth pursuing.

Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts

Both adaptation and mitigation efforts can and should be taken within Haiti’s agriculture sector. Agroforestry system such as coffee plays an integral role in providing ecosystem service. Consequently decrease in suitability of coffee will not only impact its significance to commodity and cash income generator for small holder farmers, but may also have ramifications for the environmental services it provides, such as soil cover, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and water storage. Maintaining these vital environmental services with a different agroforestry system is crucial.

Macroeconomic efforts should also play an integral role in adaptation efforts in Haiti. In areas where suitability will increase, strategic investment is recommended as an area of priority. In areas which will see a loss in suitability, targeted strategies such as irrigation and change to more drought resident varieties should be explored. And for areas that are predicted to suffer from significant suitability, diversification is essential for adaptation efforts.

The synergies that exist between climate and agriculture along with constraints to soil and land pose varying challenges to crop yield in Haiti. Proactive actions should be taken to ensure sustainable agricultural practices. The result will be a more vibrant agriculture sector which ensures national food security and enhances development.

Read the full report clicking the following link:
Prediction of the Impact of climate change on Coffee and Mango Growing areas in Haiti

 

 



Arabica’s magic skin

Mar 5th, 2014 | By
Climate change means a shrinking "comfort zone" for the world's coffee crops - and the smallholders that grow them.

Climate change means a shrinking “comfort zone” for the world’s coffee crops – and the smallholders that grow them.

Like the mysterious magic skin in the 19th century novel by French author Balzac, the area suitable for growing Arabica coffee in Mesoamerica is shrinking away as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change, leaving smallholder coffee producers vulnerable and in need to adapt swiftly.

Every year, we drink some 400 billion cups of coffee around the world1, making this the most widely traded agricultural commodity of the tropics. Coffee fuels our daily lives and that of the world’s 25 million coffee producers, most of whom are smallholder farmers directly dependent on coffee for their livelihoods.

Coffee trees are fussy and will produce their best beans at high altitudes in a tropical climate where the temperatures are stable and the soil is rich. Such conditions are typically found along the Equatorial zone.

The problem is that, in many tropical areas of Mesoamerica, coffee will no longer be in its “comfort zone,” as temperatures and rainfall are altered. Indeed, both models and farmers confirm that climate changes will decrease the area suitable for coffee and effectively displace its production up to higher altitudes and cooler climates. In Central America as a whole, the optimal coffee-growing elevation will shift from 1,200 meters above sea level today to 1,600 meters by 2050.

According to a recent study by CIAT in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nicaragua, this will affect a number of vulnerable coffee growing families, who currently lack the capacity to adapt to new conditions. The study proposes a framework for assessing the vulnerability of those small producers to climate change and developing tailored adaptation strategies.

Assessing coffee farmers’ vulnerability to climate change

Infographic-Coffee-English-007Across Mexico and Central America, over 4 million people depend directly on coffee production for their livelihoods, and coffee production, purchasing, and processing employ an estimated 8.5 million in the region. Employment and income generation from coffee is also particularly significant for many indigenous people in Mexico and Guatemala.

CIAT’s study builds on the IPCC’s definition of vulnerability of small coffee producers to climate change, which looks at the combination of three factors: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity.

“High vulnerability of small coffee producers resulted from high exposure to climate change, combined with high sensitivity mainly due to excessive variability of productivity, and low adaptive capacity mainly due to inadequate post-harvest infrastructure,” says Maria Baca, a scientist with CIAT’s Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) Research Area in Managua, Nicaragua.

“Coffee is the principal source of income for almost two-thirds of the families that participated in the study. They depend on it for food, health, and the education of their children,” Baca explains. “The variation of coffee productivity levels leads to frequent reductions in income and has dire consequences.”

Other factors contribute to increase the sensitivity of small coffee producers to climate change, including the out-migration of the workforce and lack of conservation practices, in particular for water and forests.

Poor access to credit, low levels of social organization, limited knowledge of coffee sector policies, and environmental and land use laws as well as the absence of alternative technologies (such as machines for pulping coffee, drying infrastructure, solar dryers, drip irrigation and water harvesting) are other factors that limit farmers’ capacity to adapt.

Developing tailored adaptation solutions

Families identified as general strategies for adaptation to climate change the development or improvement of technologies such as drip irrigation in areas with high risk of drought, shade management, soil fertility management, pest and diseases control, conservation of soil and groundwater, and adoption of new crops to adapt to future conditions.

Access to finance – including microloans and formal credit – is critical to help households strategically invest in coffee varieties, complementary crops, and livelihood enhancements that effectively reduce risk and improve social welfare.

While the role of the state remains important for planned adaptation and sustainable development, social organizations like civil society groups, cooperatives, and small-business organizations are an important element of the solution and should be supported. They not only enable rural households to access the resources and knowledge necessary for adaptation, they also empower communities to shape the direction of the coffee sector to meet their diverse development needs.

“Each family is different regarding tenancy, location, culture, knowledge, experiences, among others. Therefore, strategies have to be developed considering the household level, but also the local and regional levels, with policies focusing on groups of families with similar characteristics,” concludes Baca.

Read the full paper published in PlosONE by Baca et al.:  An Integrated Framework for Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change and Developing Adaptation Strategies for Coffee Growing Families in Mesoamerica

1http://www.express.co.uk/

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Blog post by Stephanie Neno. Stephanie is the Public Awareness Coordinator at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia.

An abbreviated version of this post was originally published on the CIAT News blog on 5 March 2014.

 



La piel de zapa de arábica

Mar 5th, 2014 | By
Al igual que la piel de zapa en la novela de 1831 del escritor francés Honoré de Balzac, el área cafetera en Centroamérica se encoge a medida que las temperaturas aumentan y los patrones de precipitación cambian, dejando a los pequeños productores de café vulnerables y con la necesidad de adaptarse rápidamente.
El cambio climático significa una "zona de confort" disminuida para los cultivos de café mundiales - al igual que los agricultores pequeños que los cultivan.

El cambio climático significa una “zona de confort” disminuida para los cultivos de café mundiales – al igual que los agricultores pequeños que los cultivan.

Cada año, en el mundo se toman unas 400 mil millones de tazas de café1, lo que convierte a este cultivo en uno de los productos básicos agrícolas más ampliamente comercializados de los trópicos. El café aporta energía a nuestras vidas cotidianas e impulsa los medios de vida de 25 millones de caficultores a nivel mundial, la mayoría de ellos pequeños agricultores que dependen directamente del café para su sustento.

Los cafetos tienen la peculiaridad de producir sus mejores granos en altitudes altas en un clima tropical en donde las temperaturas sean estables y el suelo fértil. Estas condiciones se encuentran generalmente a lo largo de la zona ecuatorial.

El problema es que, en muchas zonas tropicales de Mesoamérica, el café ya no estará en su “zona de comodidad”, a medida que se alteran las temperaturas y las precipitaciones. De hecho, tanto los modelos como los agricultores confirman que los cambios climáticos reducirán el área apta para el café y desplazarán efectivamente su producción a altitudes superiores y climas más frescos. En América Central en general, la elevación óptima para la siembra de café pasará de 1.200 metros sobre el nivel del mar a 1.600 metros para el 2050.

Según un estudio reciente realizado por el CIAT en El Salvador, Guatemala, México y Nicaragua, esto afectará a una cantidad de familias caficultoras vulnerables, que actualmente no poseen la capacidad de adaptarse a nuevas condiciones. El estudio propone un marco para evaluar la vulnerabilidad de esos pequeños productores frente al cambio climático y desarrollar estrategias de adaptación ajustadas a sus condiciones específicas.

Evaluación de la vulnerabilidad de los caficultores frente al cambio climático

WebEn México y América Central, más de 4 millones de personas dependen directamente de la producción de café para sus medios de vida; y la producción, compra y procesamiento del café emplean un estimado de 8.5 millones de personas en la región. La generación de empleo e ingresos a partir del café también es especialmente significativa para muchas poblaciones autóctonas en México y Guatemala.

El estudio del CIAT parte de la definición que maneja el Panel Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) de vulnerabilidad de los pequeños caficultores frente al cambio climático, que combina tres factores: exposición, sensibilidad y capacidad de adaptación.

“La alta vulnerabilidad de los pequeños caficultores es el resultado de una alta exposición al cambio climático, en combinación con una alta sensibilidad debida principalmente a la excesiva variabilidad de la productividad y baja capacidad de adaptación primordialmente debida a una infraestructura inadecuada de poscosecha”, afirma María Baca, científica del Área de Investigación en Análisis de Políticas del CIAT (DAPA), en Managua, Nicaragua.

“El café es la principal fuente de ingresos para casi dos tercios de las familias que participaron en el estudio. Estas familias dependen de este cultivo para la alimentación, la salud y la educación de sus hijos”, explica Baca. “La variación de los niveles de productividad del café genera reducciones frecuentes en los ingresos y trae consecuencias funestas”.

Otros factores contribuyen a aumentar la sensibilidad de los pequeños caficultores ante el cambio climático, incluida la diáspora de la fuerza de trabajo y la falta de prácticas de conservación, en especial para recursos hídricos y forestales.

El bajo acceso al crédito, los deficientes niveles de organización social, el conocimiento limitado acerca de las políticas para el sector cafetero y las leyes ambientales y de uso de la tierra, así como la ausencia de tecnologías alternativas (como maquinaria para el despulpe del café, la infraestructura de secado, secadores solares, riego por goteo y acopio de agua) son otros factores que limitan la capacidad de adaptación de los agricultores.

Desarrollo de soluciones de adaptación a la medida

Las familias identificaron como estrategias generales para la adaptación al cambio climático el desarrollo o mejoramiento de tecnologías, como el riego por goteo en áreas con alto riesgo de sequía, manejo de sombrío, manejo de la fertilidad del suelo, control de plagas y enfermedades, conservación de suelos y agua del subsuelo, y adopción de nuevos cultivos para adaptarse a las condiciones futuras.

El acceso a financiación —incluidos los micropréstamos y el crédito formal— es crítico para ayudar a que los hogares inviertan en variedades de café, cultivos complementarios y mejoras en los medios de vida que reduzcan los riegos y mejoren el bienestar social de manera efectiva.

Si bien la función del Estado sigue siendo importante para la adaptación planeada y el desarrollo sostenible, las organizaciones sociales, como grupos de la sociedad civil, cooperativas y pequeñas organizaciones empresariales, forman parte importante de la solución y se les debe apoyar. Estas organizaciones no solamente facilitan que los hogares rurales tengan acceso a los recursos y conocimientos necesarios para la adaptación, sino que también empoderan a las comunidades para marcar el rumbo del sector cafetero para satisfacer sus distintas necesidades de desarrollo.

“Cada familia es diferente en cuanto a la situación de tenencia de las tierras, ubicación, cultura, conocimientos, experiencias, entre otras. Por tanto, las estrategias se deben desarrollar teniendo en cuenta el nivel del hogar, pero también los niveles local y regional, con políticas que se enfoquen en grupos de familias con características similares”, concluye Baca.

Lea el artículo completo publicado en PlosONE por Baca et al. (en inglés): An Integrated Framework for Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change and Developing Adaptation Strategies for Coffee Growing Families in Mesoamerica

 1http://www.express.co.uk/

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Blog por Stefanie Neno. Stefanie es coordinadora de consciencia pública en el Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical en Cali, Colombia.

Una version breve de este post fue publicado en inglés en el CIAT News blog, el 5 de Marzo 2014.



We’re becoming more similar: trends in global diet and the consequences for food production and health

Mar 3rd, 2014 | By

A study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) examined how national food supplies have changed over the past 50 years for 98% of the world’s population. The authors, which include three CIAT DAPA researchers, find that diets worldwide have become much more similar in composition over the past five decades, relying increasingly on a limited set of major crops for the majority of dietary calories, protein, fat, and weight.

Overall people are consuming more food, and a greater proportion of the diet is comprised of energy dense food (plant and animal sources high in fats, oils, and sugars). The crops that provide a dominant proportion of this diet are major staple cereals such as wheat, rice, and maize, as well as a suite of globally important oil crop commodities, particularly soybean, palm, rapeseed, and sunflower oil. The contribution of these oil crops in particular has risen disproportionately over the past half century.

Crops showing large relative increases or decreases in the global diet. Khoury et al. 2014

Crops showing large relative increases or decreases in the global diet. Khoury et al. 2014

As a result of these dietary changes, regionally important crops have suffered. The study shows significant decreases in the importance of cereals such as sorghum, millets, and rye and root crops such as cassava, sweet potato, and yam. Locally important crops that are not measured on the global scale have suffered the same fate. Without concerted conservation, research and advocacy efforts, the world is in danger of losing a wealth of diverse, adapted alternative crops.

Although changes in diet have occurred worldwide, the areas where food supplies have departed the most significantly from 50 years ago are in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. On average, global diets have increased in similarity by an average of 36%.

The expansion of the global diet and its accompanying production systems has simultaneously increased efficiency and decreased the resiliency of the global food system. Similarities within the food system facilitate technology transfer and food production, which allow for centralized research to impact larger portions of the world. Simultaneously though, these similarities make the global food supply more susceptible to widespread problems such as pests, disease, and climate change, as a greater uniformity of crops are grown over larger areas.

While the availability of more energy dense food has improved food security in some regions in the form of both sufficient quantities and increased nutrients, the increasing homogeneity of contributing crops may contribute further to the occurrence worldwide of diseases associated with over nutrition such as diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. As over nutrition becomes as important as under nutrition for global public health, maintaining diverse diets could be a key strategy to help the fight against diet related diseases.

Change in dietary composition similarity over time. Khoury et al. 2014

Change in dietary composition similarity over time. Khoury et al. 2014

Addressing the challenges and vulnerabilities created by greater homogeneity in global food supplies will require a combination of scientific research, advocacy, political agreements, and changes in agricultural production. Key steps include: 1) ensure the genetic diversity of major crops through developing and growing a wide range of locally adapted varieties with distinct characteristics, 2) increase the conservation and utilization of diverse genetic resources that underpin crop diversification, 3) enhance the nutritional quality of major staples for micronutrients, and/or provide micronutrient supplements, 4) encourage a wider range of alternative crops through promotion of the benefits of such crops in the diet and via research in crop development in order to enhance competitiveness, and 5) publicly show the links between crop diversity, diet diversity, and health.

Read the article here.

 

Khoury CK, Bjorkman AD, Dempewolf H, Ramírez-Villegas J, Guarino L, Jarvis A, Rieseberg LH and Struik PC (2014) Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1313490111. Available online at: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1313490111

Blog by Michael Kantar