Capacity development and innovative communication

J. L. Urrea (CCAFS)
Outcomes & Impacts

Local committees move Colombia towards climate-smart agriculture

Latin America

Colombia is moving towards adopting agricultural practices that reduce risks and maximize productivity under climatic variability and change. To do this, evaluations of how different crop varieties perform under future climate scenarios, seasonal agro-climatic advisories and recommendations for management practices are needed to help farmers select the crops and practices best suited to their area.

CCAFS scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to provide vital scientific support for mitigating climate risks to the Colombian agricultural sector. Agronet, a Colombian government website that reaches 500 000 farmers, now features information provided by CCAFS on climate-smart farming, and an Agroclimatic Bulletin published by CCAFS is helping to out-scale climate-smart practices.

A team of scientists from CIAT and the Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (CORPOICA) have developed Climate-Site Specific Management (CSMS), a tool to evaluate how different crop varieties are likely to perform in specific locations in variable climatic conditions and as the climate changes. Using the CSMS, scientists can determine, for any location, the factors that limit a crop, for example, the number of days and severity of frosts in a year, and local climate and weather data over the long and short term.

J. L. Urrea (CCAFS)

The scientists presented the findings and weather data to Mesa Técnica Agroclimática, local technical agroclimatic committees, which CCAFS had helped to set up. These committees include public institutions, producer associations, universities and the private sector. They aim to provide farmers with agroclimatic advice tailored to their needs.

Producer organizations passing on agroclimatic advice to their members include the Colombian National Federation of Rice Growers (FEDEARROZ) with 24 000 members; the National Federation of Cereal and Grain Legume Growers (FENALCE) with 7 000 members; the Colombian Association for Fruits and Vegetables (ASOHOFRUCOL) with 20 members; and the Foundation for Territorial Sustainable Agriculture (FUNDESOT) with 200 members.

Farmers and extension workers use the agroclimatic advice to select varieties best adapted to the farming zone. The seasonal forecasts help them to decide what to grow and where, and to estimate how much the most adapted varieties are likely to yield under forecast conditions. They can analyse information to determine the factors most likely to limit production on their farms – an invaluable skill that will serve them lifelong in adapting to climate change.

Government officials are using CCAFS training manuals to set up Mesa Técnica Agroclimática around the country. Setting up 15 Mesa Técnica Agroclimática by 2030 is central to the Colombian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in order to deliver its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.