FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE IN THE ANDES
Tailored climate information in pilot basins for food security and agriculture in the Andes
Local authorities in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador need rainfall forecasts, probabilities of extreme temperatures, and probability of exceeding certain thresholds to successfully manage local agriculture processes in the future. This kind of information is expected to reduce crop losses, and improve farming practices (crop cycles) by providing authorities and farmers with useful and tailored climate change information.
CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION
Issue to be addressed
In case of expected weather conditions above normal or below normal, the authorities may use the information to implement plans to ensure that farmers can deliver their harvest to distribution centers. Farmers need forecasts to plan crop cycles. At present, local authorities and farmers do not have forecast information at the level of spatial detail required or in the appropriate language, easy to understand, so that the forecasts can be used. This situation occurs because forecasts are made for large regions (at national or regional level) and only in terms of probability in tercile categories. Another issue is the limited capacity of the meteorological services to provide information at local level.
Decision support to client
Climatic conditions above normal means activating plans to guarantee how crops can go from the production sites to the distribution centers, since excessive rainfall makes access to the fields difficult. For farmers it means rotating crops or modifying the planting plan.
For expected, below normal conditions, authorities may consider providing irrigation mechanisms or alternative sources of products. For farmers it maybe means rotating crops or modifying the planting plan. Users are aware about inherent uncertainty of the probabilistic forecast. They were advised during training workshops abbot how to deal with the probabilistic forecast taking into account the whole spectrum of chances, not only the more likely scenario : this is of special importance to construct trust between providers and users of climate information.
All actions are focused on two of the pillars of food security:
- Access to agricultural products (Availability)
- Offer of agricultural products (Stability)
Temporal and spatial scale
The case study is focused on a seasonal time scale (monthly and quarterly). Decision-making is implemented at the basin scale. There are four pilot basins of different spatial scales, from thousand square kilometers (Mantaro valley (Peru) and Sushes river basin (Bolivia)) to hundred square kilometers (Chinchina basin (Colombia), Jubones river basin (Ecuador)).
The clients in the four pilot basins have dealt with the knowledge purveyor previously, and there is a clear understanding of the clients' needs. Contact with the clients are conducted through the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), and there are specific contact people for each pilot basin. The knowledge purveyor has assessed each basin and found that all basins need similar climate variables, however there are different types of crops, technical development and level of service received by NMHSs.
Client needs are surveyed through regular in-person meetings. Clients, both authorities and farmers, need better spatial resolution in climate. Tailoring forecasts in terms other than tercile categories will help to better communicate and provide information for better decision making. Communication of results to the clients will be through a simple web visualization.