Information revolution in Central American agriculture
Climate change and variability already posed great challenges to the agricultural sector, and now we must add to it the uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 induced health crisis. Managing and analyzing climate data, and generating relevant information for decision-making has become a priority for the agri-food sector in Latin America.
Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and partners, the project ''A Common Journey'' has made different efforts to create training spaces that strengthen the capacities of technicians and professionals of the ministries and local organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
In Guatemala, in coordination with the university Centro Universitario de Oriente's (CUNORI) degree programme in Local Environmental Management, and the Local Technical Agroclimatic Committee (LTAC) of Chiquimula, a certificate course titled the "Analysis of Variables for Agroclimatic Decisions" was developed.
The training space was developed by specialists from the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (the Alliance) and CCAFS. The certificate consisted of five modules, which included theoretical and practical aspects on interpretation of climate data, crop simulation models, monitoring of agroclimatic information, geographic information systems and optimization of investments in resources.
“I think this type of initiative is excellent, because it strengthens human capital in these areas, which are aimed at food and nutritional security, poverty reduction, capacity building, strategic alliances between institutions" said Victor Sandoval, coordinator of the environmental management degree and of the certificate course course in CUNORI.
This training space allows agricultural professionals in Central America to strengthen their climate change projects, especially in adaptation and mitigation, but also in improving technical assistance and cooperation between different institutions to work on projects that help achieve sustainable agricultural development.
Among the topics of the certificate course that had the greatest impact among the attendees were the monitoring systems of agroclimatic information. For these professionals, the use of digital tools such as applications, tablets and cell phones is allowing local institutions in the municipality of Chiquimula to report, store and analyze climate data remotely and more efficiently.
"We are working on a digital agricultural report, via cell phones, on a sample of producers to know their situation during the pandemic. Its formulation, structure and development, were done with the digital tool KoboCollect, learned in the course'', said Freddy Diaz, coordinator of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Chiquimula Departmental Headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Guatemala (MAGA).
Tools to combat climate change
- News update: Strengthening climate services for agriculture in Latin America
- Research highlight: Agroclimatic information helps fight COVID-19 in Latin America (Part 1)
- Publication: El nuevo diplomado “El Enfoque Territorios Sostenibles Adaptados al Clima”: una alianza para el escalamiento de experiencias y prácticas de adaptación en el Corredor Seco de Guatemala