CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
Location: Honduras, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Mexico, Ecuador, and Chile
Agriculture is a risky endeavor. Volatile markets, unpredictable harvests, far-reaching political, social or economic calamities - think the COVID-19 pandemic - as well as climate change are just a few things a farmer must consider before investing in a production cycle.
Farmers, however, often lack access to information necessary to make best-bet decisions and manage these risks. Regarding the critical variable of climate, farmers often have limited access to weather and climate information. When they do, they are often unable to understand it and use it to make better on-farm decisions.
To address this access-to-usable-information gap, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), led by the Alliance, developed Local Technical Agroclimatic Committees (LTACs).
Inspired by an exchange between Colombian and Senegalese farmers, the core of the LTACs innovation is merging state-of-the-art climate prediction with local knowledge. Farmer involvement allows LTACs to produce recommendations tailored to local climates and contexts, linking climate information supply with farmer demand.
Today 35 LTACs in 10 countries deliver agroclimatic information to some 500,000 farmers. Though spearheaded by CIAT and CCAFS, some 300 partners, including governments, support the ongoing operation and growth of these committees.
In Colombia - where rice farmers avoided estimated losses of USD3.6m one season thanks to LTACs - the committees are part of the country's commitment to emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement and policies are in place to establish 15 LTACs by 2030. In Honduras, LTACs are part of a national law on climate risk management. Other nations are following suit.
While cutting-edge science is key to LTACs, the reason for their success is tied to local producer involvement, on-the-ground practitioners, universities, private sectors and governments who have committed to maintaining LTACs. This innovative approach to collaboration to reduce climate risk has improved the food and economic security of hundreds of thousands of people. Thanks to this innovation, farming in times of uncertainty is demonstrably less risky than it was before.