Haitian coffee farmers need to adapt to future climate change, Mango farmers are likely to benefit from climate change
The Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) research area is currently conducting a climate change study commissioned by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) that aims to predict the current potential distribution and quantify the impact of progressive climate change on coffee and mango production in Haiti. Last week CIAT climate change experts Anton Eitzinger and Peter Laderach visited coffee and mango farmers, agricultural experts and ministries to share and discuss first results. A further aim of the visit was to gain insights into production constraints farmers are facing in the south-western part of the Caribbean island and validate the results of initial modeling and crop-climate-suitability maps.
The results of the model show that coffee will move up in altitude. Farmers confirmed that coffee trees in lower areas and without shade protection disappeared during the last decades. CIAT climate change expert Peter Laderach explained that it is very important to develop short-, mid and long-term strategies for coffee farmers to guarantee their livelihoods. He mentioned 3 main strategies for different temporal implementation steps and spatial areas of the islands coffee production. First, areas were suitability of coffee will decrease but will still be suitable in the future, adaptation strategies like using drought and high temperature resistant varieties and to improve current technologies (for example increased shading, soil conservation, …) are needed for these areas. Secondly, areas where coffee will grow better in the future, in these areas expansions strategies need to be well coordinated with natural conservation efforts. Thirdly, areas where coffee suitability will reduce significantly in the future and diversification options must be developed starting from now on to provide option for farmers’ future livelihoods.
The results of the model show that Mango suitability will increase in many areas of the island due to increased temperature. Farmers also confirmed that mango is doing much better in lower and hotter areas were enough sun is available and that trees in higher altitudes are producing lower quality and are more exposed to diseases. As a strategy to expand exportation of mango, farmers, national institutions and development organizations started in recent years introducing a new variety called “Madame Francis”. Farm associations train farmers now to graft onto existing root stock (e.g. Baptiste variety) in order to achieve reasonable production volume within 5 – 7 years. Currently, the mango association collects the produce from different farmers and sells them through the association (fixed price) to reach the target production volume for exportation. Further, certification and improved technologies (e.g. maintain lower tree height to make harvesting process easier) would increase product value and production efficiency in the future.
Both, farmers of coffee and mangos in the southwest of Haiti are organized in farm associations and can benefit from sharing experience, facilities and logistics in the process to adapt production systems in the future.
The study is following up on a previous assessment of Haitian Coffee and Mango Value Chain done by CIAT in 2010-2011: Assessment of Haitian Mango Value Chain & Assessment of Haitian Coffee Value Chain
This first step of raising awareness and make representatives of national institutions sensitive to potential climate change impacts should followed by further activities and joint projects on climate change. CIAT, CRS and national institutions are planning to work closer together in the near future to implement more climate change adaptation and mitigation activities in Haiti.