Latin American farmers are highly exposed and often highly sensitive to climate variability. At the same time, many products exist to communicate climate information, including seasonal climate forecasts.

Farmers in Latin America (LAM), however, have limited access to information to plan their crops, or, when they have access to such information, they are hardly able to understand it, let alone to use it for their decision making. Based on these principles, CCAFS scientists developed and implemented a series of approaches to assess, co-produce, translate and transfer climate information to enable agricultural decision making.

CCAFS scientists developed and piloted the Local Technical Agroclimatic Committee (LTAC) approach in 2015-2016 in Colombia, with substantial traction among stakeholders and farming communities. This effort involved the strengthening of capacities to coproduce, translate, transfer and use climate information for agriculture in more than 200 institutions in LAM.

This was achieved through the creation of a total of 22 agroclimatic committees in the four countries (Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala), through which more than 150 agroclimatic bulletins have been produced and disseminated.

Likewise, CCAFS worked with partner organizations in Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala to assess seasonal forecast model skills, and to develop and build capacity in the use of novel climate and crop prediction tools to enhance the quality of seasonal forecasts, and tailor forecast information for agricultural decision making.

Changes in policies and institutional knowledge, skills and behavior have been observed in all countries, though most notably in Colombia and Honduras. As a result of this work, institutions and LTACs have enabled changes in farmer behavior across many areas of Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Currently, an estimated 510,000 (500,000 in Colombia, 5,000 in Honduras, and 5,000 in Guatemala and in Nicaragua) farmers receive tailored agroclimatic information and incorporate it into their decision making.

These farmers have been documented changing their management practices. Common changes observed on farms include changes in planting dates to take better advantage of good climatic conditions, or to avoid losses, or the use of varieties that are more suited to the expected climatic conditions. Thanks to the efforts of CCAFS and partners in different countries, stories such as the saving of rice harvests in 2014 are becoming more and more frequent.

Links to communication materials relating to this story:

Voces Unidas: Mesas Agroclimáticas recomendaciones para una producción más segura
Ocho mesas agroclimáticas orientan a los campesinos para sus cultivos
Mesas Agroclimaticas Participativas (MAPs), Contribuyen a la toma de decisiones de Pequeños y Medianos Productores
Honduras avanza con las Mesas Agroclimáticas Participativas
Clima a favor: Proyecto CIAT revoluciona la agricultura colombiana
Todo listo para Mesa Técnica Agroclimática

Photo by A. Camacho/Bioversity International