Agro-climatic forecasts and advisories for Colombia's agriculture sectorColombia

Background 1 2 3

In Colombia, farmers who had previously experienced generally reliable rainfall now must contend with increasingly frequent flooding and drought. To strengthen the resilience of Colombian farmers, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is working with the International Center for Tropical Rainfall (CIAT) and an alliance made up of the Ministry of Agriculture, the national agricultural research service, six producer organizations, and NGOs to develop agro-climatic forecasts and advisories. With the support of local agro-climatic technical working groups, these partners have learned how to incorporate climate and other site-specific information into their planning processes and are equipped to provide agro-climatic forecasts and management advisories that are tailored to farmers’ needs and contexts. Varieties of maize, rice, beans and cassava have been identified and tested for tolerance to drought and moisture excess.

Relationship to CSA

This initiative was designed to strengthen the resilience of Colombian farmers to increasingly variable rainfall. By performing carbon and water footprint analyses, management practices can, in turn, be made more climate-smart, as illustrated by a decision not to plant rice in 2014 (see below).

Impacts and lessons learned

More than 150,000 farmers are now receiving agro-climatic advisories and 6,000 have adopted climate-smart practices. In 2014, 170 Colombian rice farmers avoided massive losses by taking advice from their producers’ federation, FEDEARROZ, not to plant in the first of the two annual growing seasons. The farmers who took the advice avoided economic losses estimated at USD 3.6 million. FEDEARROZ acted on a forecast by a team of CCAFS scientists based at CIAT. The project is eventually expected to reach 1,588,640 farmers.

Media outreach:


  • 1

    Howland F, Bonilla-Findji O, Loboguerrero AM, Peterson C, Nyaega L. 2014. Learning from each other: Latin America and Senegal exchange innovative climate approaches for smallholder farmers. UNEP South-South Cooperation Case Studies. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP. Smallholder farmers in the developing world are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate fluctuations and weather extremes. While these farming communities have survived by mastering the ability to adapt to an increasingly uncertain climate, their indigenous knowledge and traditional coping practices has been overwhelmed. Supporting farmers with effective weather and climate information and advisory services for agricultural decision making is a key strategy for reducing risk and enhancing food security in already vulnerable areas. However, broadening the impact of climate services in vulnerable communities has been a challenge. Several initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America have used innovative approaches to overcome these challenges. By communicating and applying seasonal forecast information in these two regions through pilot-scale projects, they demonstrate good practice and provide valuable insights such as it has been evidenced in Senegal. In Senegal, where the rainy seasons are short and the climate is highly uncertain, a pilot project was developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Senegalese National Meteorological Agency (ANACIM) in 2010, to provide climatic forecasts to small farmers in the main agricultural region, Kaffrine. By integrating climatic information into the development and planning of agricultural practices, this participatory project helped farmers to make better-informed decisions about planting and harvesting and ultimately cope with risk. Likewise, with the support of CCAFS, Colombia has been working on similar themes under an agreement between the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), with the aim of strengthening the adaptive capacity of the agriculture and livestock sectors to climate variability and change and improving resource-efficiency in the production systems of priority regions. The agreement’s goal is that Colombian agriculture moves away from being defined by the climate, and that, on the contrary, farmers are the ones managing the climate. The CCAFS project’s successes in Senegal and Colombia are being replicated in Honduras. This conjunction of institutions and research themes led to the idea of creating a knowledge exchange programme between the three countries to generate mutual learning on adaptation processes in the agriculture and livestock sectors and thus face the risks generated by climatic phenomena through new ideas and collaborations.
  • 2

    MADR-CIAT Agreement. 2014. Logros y retos de la agricultura colombiana frente al cambio climático. Cali, Colombia: Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). This booklet (Spanish) introduces the MADR-CIAT-CCAFS Agreement and presents the achievements and challenges of climate-smart agriculture in Colombia. The booklet presents a summary of various articles, which are accessible in full on the website Alliance’s (
  • 3

    MADR and CIAT Agreement Webpage Website (Spanish) of the Colombian Alliance on Technical and Scientific Cooperation, a collaboration between the Colombian Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The website provides information regarding the Alliance’s research themes, as well as an archive of informational resources.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

Local case studies

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