The municipality of Olopa belongs to the department of Chiquimula, in eastern Guatemala. In 2005, its Human Development Index (HDI) was 0.448, below the national average (0.580). The health and education indices for the same year were also below national averages (0.409 versus 0.807 for health index and 0.383 versus 0.452 in the case of education). On the other side, Olopa’s income index was 0.552, above the national value of 0.534 (PNUD, 2011; PNUD, 2012). Although coffee is the main driver of the local economy, the population remains highly vulnerable.
Olopa has a population of 23,668 and a density of 211 people/km2. About 65% of the population is of ch’orti’ ethnicity. According to data from PIDET (2013), women make up 51% of the population, with 49% men.
Topography and climate
The area is mountainous, with steep hills and few flat areas. The climate is cool, with temperatures between 18° and 25°C. Altitude varies between 1300 and 1600 m asl, while rainfall amounts to 1300 mm per year, with an average of 130 of rainy days.
Olopa is made out of 62 communities; some of them were randomly chosen for the baseline studies: Tituque abajo-Tishmuntique, El Palmar-Guayabal, Prensa Arriba, Tuticopote Abajo, El Bendito, Nochan, Rodeo Valle Nuevo and El Guayabo Tercer Caserío.
The completed baseline studies are:
Within the household baseline studies, 81% of respondents declared primary school as the highest level of education achieved by a family member. 11% said they have family members with other education levels (7% secondary and 4% tertiary education). The rest (8%) stated that no one from their family had any education.
Average farm size
About 70% of households have less than 1 ha of land, while 29% own between 1 and 5 ha. Just 2% of them have more than 5 ha.
Food security and diversification
Only 20.7% of families have no difficulties in securing food throughout the year, while 79.3% faces obstacles in achieving that. Of the latter, 17.9% have difficulties in providing food during 1-2 months per year, while 37.1% are in a similar situation for 3 to 4 months annually. The remaining 24.2% of households lack food security for at least five months per year.
Olopa is one of the biggest coffee producing areas in eastern Guatemala and one with great tradition. Second come basic grains, followed by livestock rearing.
Source: PIDET 2013
Progress until 2016
- Completion of household and community baseline studies in the CSV during the first phase of CCAFS
- Through farmers’ schools, CSA practices were implemented in households
- Participative evaluation of drought-resistant beans
- Design of CSA practices portfolio using the CSA Priority Framework
- Cost-benefit analysis of techniques used in the Climate-Smart Territories by CATIE (with implementation potential in the CSV)
- Implementing the PICSA tool to improve farmers’ decision making in the CSV
- Strengthening farmers’schools by adapting the PICSA tool to the local context
- Training key institutions in using software programs and specialized routines in generating weather predictions
The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Copan Ch’orti’ Commonwealth, The Plan Trifinio Executive Secretariat, Bioversity International.