Journal Article

A systematic approach to assess climate information products applied to agriculture and food security in Guatemala and Colombia

Increased interannual climate variability affects agricultural livelihoods throughout the world. In many regions, climate services support decision-makers in their adaptation efforts. The range of these services and the number of associated information products have increased dramatically in recent years. However, the relationships between these products and their use and usability for targeted decision-making have rarely been systematically evaluated. Here, we report on the development of a systematic and user-centered approach to assess climate information products and networks of products; and apply it to products covering the nexus of climate, agriculture, and food security in Guatemala and Colombia. Across both countries, we assessed 28 products used for agricultural decision making, outreach, planning research, and design of emergency responses. While climateonly information products play a central role in each network, information products intended to support agriculture and food security need to integrate information from different themes or disciplines and sources at different scales. We find that major improvements in the credibility, legitimacy, scale, cognition, procedures, recommendations, and content of most existing products are required. Brevity and clarity of language are highlighted as desirable in both countries, as well as use of trusted and publicly-available data, and non-paperbased delivery formats. The approach and methodology are valuable for facilitating the prioritization of actions for improvement and/or the development of new products, thereby helping climate services for agriculture and food security to realize their true potential.