The agricultural sector of Nicaragua accounts for 20% of its GDP and provides 29.5% of employment, making it vital to the country’s economy. However, Nicaragua is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in Latin America, and the performance of the agricultural sector is intrinsically linked to climate events. While coffee plays an important role, representing 20%-25% of the country’s export revenues, projected increases in temperature and changes in rainfall patterns are expected to reduce the level of suitability in most of the areas where the crop is currently grown.
To overcome these challenges, the NICADAPTA Project (Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project) has been launched by the Government of Nicaragua, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). Project activities include:
- Facilitating access to markets for value added coffee and cocoa
- Introducing water efficiency and crop diversification (from coffee to cocoa)
- Improving dissemination of agro-climatic information
- Building capacity of producer organizations and public institutions through training
- Dissemination and scaling up of best practices
- Engagement with the government, cooperation agencies, and private sector to promote and strengthen coffee and cocoa industries
Relationship to CSA
The project contributes to all three CSA pillars:
- Productivity: The project intends to increase both the incomes and productivity of families belonging to cooperatives with investment plans in place by 20%.
- Adaptation: It is expected that 20,000 families will make investment decisions and adopt management practices that improve their resilience to climate change impacts. In addition, the project intends to incorporate diversified agricultural practices in over 25,000 hectares, to increase resilience and reduce climate risk.
- Mitigation: The project offers strong mitigation benefits per unit area of land and is expected to mitigate 2 million tonnes of CO2e or more.
Impacts and lessons learned
Currently in its second year of implementation, it is expected that the project will increase the competitiveness of producers’ cooperatives and their members, by increasing productivity and adoption of climate-smart practices. The institutional environment for coffee and cocoa production is also likely to be improved through the project.
IFAD. 2013a. Adaptación a Cambios en los Mercados y a los Efectos del Cambio Climático - NICADAPTA. Rome, Italy: International Fund for Agricultural Development.http://operations.ifad.org/documents/654016/57b47380-5c1d-46e5-b640-44ea4fd68b75 Supervision report (Spanish) of the Project for Adaptation to Market Change and the Effect of Climate Change (NICADAPTA), including evaluation of the project and specific outputs.
IFAD. 2014b. The smallholder advantage: A new way to put climate finance to work. Rome, Italy: International Fund for Agricultural Development.http://www.ifad.org/climate/resources/advantage/finance.pdf
This publication shows how agricultural investment programmes can provide effective platforms for climate action, working with smallholder farmers as agents of change. They show how relatively small amounts of climate finance can go a long way to change the ‘business as usual’ approaches of many agricultural investment programmes, helping smallholder farmers to become more resilient to climate change.
IFAD. 2015a. The Mitigation Advantage: Maximizing the co-benefits of investing in smallholder adaptation initiatives. Rome, Italy: International Fund for Agricultural Development.http://www.ifad.org/climate/resources/advantage/mitigation_advantage.pdf The following pages present three case studies which highlight some of the ways in which IFAD is working to strengthen smallholders’ resilience to climate change, as well as to achieve mitigation objectives. They illustrate the trade-offs between climate resilient agriculture and mitigation gains, but also affirm that adaptation investments for smallholders can indeed deliver important mitigation co-benefits for everyone. Two of the projects in the following case studies – in Kyrgyzstan and Mali – have the potential to achieve a significantly higher project-level carbon balance as a result of scaling up efforts. While the project in Kyrgyzstan can be classified as a source of net emissions, these emissions are projected to decrease as a result of the project. On the other hand, the projects in the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Mali transform agricultural interventions into a carbon sink, while the ‘without project’ scenario would have been an emissions source. In summary, smallholders emerge as part of the solution to climate change through their willingness to adopt new agricultural practices that bring multiple benefits in the short term, as well as over the longer term. The final section draws some conclusions about priorities and suggests the next steps for IFAD.