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.
- Cariboni D. 2014. Colombia rice growers saved from ruin after being told not to plant their crop. The Guardian September 30, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/30/colombia-rice-growers-climate-change
- FoxNews. 2014. U.N. honors CIAT project that "saved" rice crops in Colombia. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/09/05/un-honors-ciat-project-that-saved-rice-crops-in-colombia/
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.http://www.unep.org/south-south-cooperation/case/casefiles.aspx?csno=141 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.
MADR-CIAT Agreement. 2014. Logros y retos de la agricultura colombiana frente al cambio climático. Cali, Colombia: Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT).http://www.aclimatecolombia.org/download/Investigacion%20Uno/Revista%20Final.pdf 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 (http://www.aclimatecolombia.org/).
MADR and CIAT Agreement Webpagehttp://www.aclimatecolombia.org/ 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.