Innovative models to manage climate risk spread to Mozambique

Researchers in Mozambique were trained on how to evaluate crop suitability via the use of ECOCROP models. The trainings were widely appreciated by the participants. Photo: Marcos Villalta / Save the Children
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by Patricia Moreno and Carlos Navarro

During the last days of February of this year, a training was carried out in the facilities of the Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM) in Maputo, Mozambique. The training covered the use of the ECOCROP model, a tool to evaluate crop suitability in both current and future climates. Sessions were a part of a collaborative effort between us and IIAM, on a project entitled "Managing climate related risks to improve livelihood resilience and adaptive capacity in agricultural ecosystems in Southern Mozambique." 

This work, concentrating on food insecure areas of Southern Mozambique, seeks to:

1) Understand if and what kind of changes have occurred in agricultural practices, and the reasons for making these changes;Districts of Mozambique where the project IIAM-CCAFS is being carried out
2) Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the biophysical environment and the impacts of predicted climate changes on agricultural suitability; and
3) Identify and test potential interventions that can build communities’ adaptive capacity to cope with climate change related risks.

The training aimed to share current methodologies used in the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to evaluate crop suitability with researchers in Mozambique who work on climate change and vulnerability assessment in the agricultural sector of the country.

“For countries like mine where there are low financial resources for specialized equipment, it would help to gain some knowledge on the extrapolation of climatic parameters,” said participant Tomás Maculuve. In total, eleven members of IIAM were trained in two sessions about the ECOCROP model.

The first session gave a general presentation of CCAFS’ work as well as a presentation on the IIAM-CCAFS project frame, an introduction to climate modeling and a brief introduction to ECOCROP as a tool for analyzing crop vulnerability to climate change. The second day was mainly practical and included lessons on ECOCROP fundamentals, especially interactions between precipitation and temperature and limiting factor responses.

IIAM & CIAT members participating in the ECOCROP training in MozambiqueAdditionally, instruction was given related to the source and preparation of necessary inputs to run the ECOCROP model and some test runs were made. It was shown, for example, how the results of crop climate suitability can be combined with spatialized information on soil characteristics to improve the accuracy of results.

At the end of the day, the potential uses of the model were demonstrated and case studies were presented highlighting the potential of this type of model for suitability analysis of priority crops in Mozambique.

Training participants were excited about what they had learned and its potential to be used in their work and research.

Attendee Lázaro Miambo said, “implementing the knowledge I gained will help my institution to develop research that could help planning for adaptation.”

Paulo Benzane said, “according to the different sectors of IIAM, this tool will help us in evaluations. It is just what we need to increase emphasis on attributes such as soil fertility”. Other participants highlighted how they would like to see more of such work done in the future. “There is a need for more practice to validate the results that we are getting with other models including those that use current climatic data sets”, said attendee Jacinto Mafalacusser.

View some presentations given at the CCAFS & IIAM training:

This training is an example of joint work between CCAFS and institutions such as IIAM, where we come together to share knowledge, capacities and data to develop pertinent analyses and generate adaptation strategies at the national level. Future steps will be to validate initial results of current suitability areas for important crops in the country according to EcoCrop and integrate them with spatial data on soils, complementing other climate change adaptation research that has already been done in Mozambique.

After the training, the “Policy Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture in Mozambique: Challenges for Agriculture Research” was hosted at IIAM facilities. The workshop shared the current status of climate change, showed the results of studies about climate change and agriculture, reviewed Mozambique’s National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPs) and identified research necessities, especially on the topic of vulnerability. For more details on the workshop, click here.


Want to learn more about ongoing research in Mozambique? Read our recent Working Paper, "Coping strategies and vulnerability to climate change of households in Mozambique".

This story was written by Patricia Moreno and Carlos Navarro, Research Assistants for the Decision and Policy Analysis area of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), specializing in CCAFS Theme 1 adaptation to progressive climate change. Learn more about our work by following us on Twitter and Facebook.