Smallholder coffee farmers and subsistence farmers in Honduras are vulnerable to climate variability and climate change (Holland et al. 2017)/taxonomy/term/7931. Climate change is anticipated to increase temperatures and decrease precipitation in Honduras, which will impact subsistence farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture and who have limited possibilities of diversifying their income base (Holland et al. 2017)/taxonomy/term/7931. Also, coffee is sensitive to impacts related to climate change (Baca et al. 2016, Holland et al. 2017)/taxonomy/term/7942 /taxonomy/term/7931. The ACCESO initiative aimed to increase nutrition and incomes of smallholder farmer households in western Honduras with funding from USAID Feed the Future. ACCESO promoted improvements in agricultural practices that improved livelihoods and impact GHG emissions and carbon sequestration such as perennial crop expansion, soil management, water management, feed quality, fertilizer management and grassland management.
Relationship with CSA
Introducing high quality coffee seedlings to replace rust-affected plants and preventing conversion of degraded coffee tree areas to cropland increased farmers’ incomes and resilience, while also sequestering carbon sequestration. Other climate-smart practices adopted by farmers, such as cut-and carry forage systems in grasslands, live fencing with fodder trees, and perennial crop expansion also resulted in carbon sequestration. Practices that improved feed quality and water management improved farmers’ resilience while also reducing GHG emissions.
Impact and lessons learned
Emission intensity decreased for carrots, maize, cabbage and potatoes while it increased for plantains and coffee production due to fertilizer use. ACCESO’s interventions also decreased postharvest losses in maize and plantains. Yields increased in all value chains (maize, coffee, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and dairy cattle). Maize had the highest increase in yield as a result of ACCESO’s improvements (259% yield increase).
Link to info note
Holland MB, Shamer SZ, Imbach P, Zamora JC, Moreno CM, Hidalgo EJL, Donatti C, Martinez-Rodriguez RM, Harvey CA. 2017. Mapping adaptive capacity and smallholder agriculture: applying expert knowledge at the landscape scale. Climatic Change 141(1):139-153.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1810-2 The impacts of climate change exacerbate the myriad challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the Tropics. In many of these same regions, there is a lack of current, consistent, and spatially-explicit data, which severely limits the ability to locate smallholder communities, map their adaptive capacity, and target adaptation measures to these communities. To explore the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in three data-poor countries in Central America, we leveraged expert input through in-depth mapping interviews to locate agricultural landscapes, identify smallholder farming systems within them, and characterize different components of farmer adaptive capacity. We also used this input to generate an index of adaptive capacity that allows for comparison across countries and farming systems. Here, we present an overview of the expert method used, followed by an examination of our results, including the intercountry variation in expert knowledge and the characterization of adaptive capacity for both subsistence and smallholder coffee farmers. While this approach does not replace the need to collect regular and consistent data on farming systems (e.g. agricultural census), our study demonstrates a rapid assessment approach for using expert input to fill key data gaps, enable trans-boundary comparisons, and to facilitate the identification of the most vulnerable smallholder communities for adaptation planning in data-poor environments that are typical of tropical regions. One potential benefit from incorporating this approach is that it facilitates the systematic consideration of field-based and regional experience into assessments of adaptive capacity, contributing to the relevance and utility of adaptation plans.
Baca M, Läderach P, Haggar J, Schroth G, Ovalle O. 2014. An Integrated Framework for Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change and Developing Adaptation Strategies for Coffee Growing Families in Mesoamerica. PLOS ONE 9(2):e88463.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088463 The Mesoamerican region is considered to be one of the areas in the world most vulnerable to climate change. We developed a framework for quantifying the vulnerability of the livelihoods of coffee growers in Mesoamerica at regional and local levels and identify adaptation strategies. Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concepts, vulnerability was defined as the combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. To quantify exposure, changes in the climatic suitability for coffee and other crops were predicted through niche modelling based on historical climate data and locations of coffee growing areas from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Future climate projections were generated from 19 Global Circulation Models. Focus groups were used to identify nine indicators of sensitivity and eleven indicators of adaptive capacity, which were evaluated through semi-structured interviews with 558 coffee producers. Exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were then condensed into an index of vulnerability, and adaptation strategies were identified in participatory workshops. Models predict that all target countries will experience a decrease in climatic suitability for growing Arabica coffee, with highest suitability loss for El Salvador and lowest loss for Mexico. High vulnerability resulted from loss in climatic suitability for coffee production and high sensitivity through variability of yields and out-migration of the work force. This was combined with low adaptation capacity as evidenced by poor post harvest infrastructure and in some cases poor access to credit and low levels of social organization. Nevertheless, the specific contributors to vulnerability varied strongly among countries, municipalities and families making general trends difficult to identify. Flexible strategies for adaption are therefore needed. Families need the support of government and institutions specialized in impacts of climate change and strengthening of farmer organizations to enable the adjustment of adaptation strategies to local needs and conditions.