FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE IN THE ANDES
POTENTIAL ADAPTATION MEASURES
A proxy of climate change adaptation measures can be adapted to the seasonal scale, as a community prepared for climate variability is more resilient to climate change. The lessons learnt are that although the projections or seasonal predictions are not infallible, they provide an idea of what can happen to the climate in the long and short term, and as authorities are constantly removed, then sustainable strategies for proposed measures must be defined, that is based on national institutions.
It is necessary that the information be treated in an inter-sectoral space in order to be able to analyze the possible impacts in different sectors and to have more integrated proposals, which are more likely to be successful. Further, the information needs to reach the relevant management level. To do this, considering the level of education and internet access, a multimodal approach should be used to disseminate information: local radios, extensionists and government programs working with the same products, producer associations, religious services, commercial houses, etc. Climate change information and possible impacts have to be translated into a simple language for easy understanding by those who will potentially be affected. The definition of possible ways to face and reduce impacts should consider local knowledge as they are those who have already experienced similar situations and have traditional practices to cope with similar events.
Importance and relevance of adaptation
Usually climate and variability assessments are based on global projections and poorly quality controlled data from meteorological stations, and generally do not consider food security concepts. The focus is usually on specific crops, without considering the vulnerability of that crop to climate change, or as a component of the food sector as a whole. Traditionally these assessments are crop-centric and not user-centric.
Climate information can be particularly helpful to anticipate, prepare for and respond to agriculture or food security risks, to address problems triggered by climate extremes (i.e., droughts, thermal extremes) as well as longer term risks associated with climate change (e.g., increased frequency of floods, desertification).
The service is driven by the needs of the user community, products are tailored for local use, and resources are based on collaboration and consultation with local partners and stakeholders (authorities and farmer associations). Extension services in agriculture, are often the link between the scientific community and the agricultural users.
Pros and cons or cost-benefit analysis of climate adaptation
Climate change will act as a hunger risk multiplier, exacerbating the risk factors that impact food security. Without significant efforts to improve livelihoods and build resilience, climate change is projected by 2050 to increase the number of people at risk of hunger by 10 to 20 per cent and to increase the number of malnourished children by 21 per cent. Some benefits arising from decision making based on this approach of adaptation can be:
- Identification of extreme climate hazards over agriculture and food security;
- Identification of populations vulnerable to climate hazards;
- Climate sensitive decisions in the agriculture and food security value chains;
Results can be useful to improve policies on plant and animal pest and disease control strategies; pesticide and herbicide applications, fertilizer management, farm and irrigation management; decisions on export and import of agricultural inputs and products and marketing of agriculture and food security products.