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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Visiting Hot- & Adaptation-spots identified by DSSAT analysis for maize-beans production systems in Central America

During the last 2 weeks DAPA team went out to the field to visit farmer communities in Honduras and El Salvador. Part of the project “Tortillas on the Roaster”, the aim of the trip was to visit Hot-spots with predicted high yield-impact on maize-beans production systems due to predicted climate change scenarios and quantify their consequences on socio-economic indicators such as farmers’ livelihoods, income and gender.

Before heading out to the field, impacts of a climate change A2 scenario on crop yields of maize and beans across 4 countries in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) were modeled using crop modules from the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT), and IPCC climate projections generated by the MarkSimTM weather file generator. Using an average of results on various environmental conditions and crop management (climate, soil quality, fertilizer input) impact hot spots were identified such as:

  • Areas where maize-bean systems can be adapted (Focus on adaptation)
  • Areas where maize-bean systems are no longer an option (Focus on diversification of livelihoods)
  • Areas where maize-bean systems will be established (migration – agriculture frontier – risk of deforestation)

Inside local communities Focal Group meetings were carried out to gather general nominal and ordinal information by using two methodological approaches: the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF), and the Market Mapping Approach (MMA). The SLF approach focus on gathering information on farmers’ assets (natural, social, human, financial and physical) and on institutions and policies and the MMA approach focus on collecting information on policy issues that may be hindering or enhancing the functioning of a value chain and also on institutions and organizations providing services to farmer.

After finalizing the field work in the 2 other countries (Guatemala and Nicaragua) the project team will step into more details by doing specific questionnaires based on information gathered in the group interviews, all of them will capture enough information to estimate the proposed indicators of sensitivity an adaptive capacity along with their main drivers.

“Tortillas on the Roaster” is an alliance-project of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), funded by Howard G. Buffet Foundation.

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