The global pandemic and extreme weather events have intensified the problems faced by small producers and other actors in the coffee supply chain. Increasingly, the coffee sector has found it necessary to act with urgency and to seek new options to be resilient to climate change.
Projections of climate impact on coffee production in Central America for 2030 and 2050, indicate important changes in the climatic suitability of some areas in the region. Some of these will remain climatically suitable for coffee, while others will require different levels of adaptation to bring coffee production forward, depending on the area.
Over the past few years, the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), with the support of other research and development organizations and private sector actors, has worked to develop different tools that aim to help farmers understand the current and future threats to their farms and guide them with concrete actions to take.
During 2019-20, WCF, Rikolto, CIAT, and Kronoscode developed an online platform Cacaoclima to host information on Climate exposure and adaptation practices for the cocoa-growing territories of Central America and the Caribbean. This platform was validated with key cocoa sector actors of the region who found it very useful. During 2020-21, Alliance CIAT Bioversity, with the support of HRNS, adapted the platform for coffee and with the support of Kronoscode brought together the information of climate exposure and adaptation practices for coffee and cocoa at one place in the form of the aCLIMAtar platform. This will permit that access of the information for both coffee and cocoa by a wide range of actors in a sustainable manner in the coming years.
aCLIMAtar provides information on the climate and coffee situation in the region and shows the user what steps and practices to use.
With the support of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), we launched the application to explore coffee regions which are of interest to the sector and to address production risks caused by climate change. The platform brings together in one place data and information that already exists in different coffee-specific tools.
aCLIMAtar is a dynamic and user-friendly platform. The application allows the coffee sector to make better decisions to adapt better to climate change, thanks to the climate information it provides, explains Pablo Ruiz, General Director of HRNS in Central America.
In addition to offering specific information on the current and future climate change impacts of each region, climate suitability, and future challenges for coffee and projections for the next 30 years (which we shared previously in the coffee and cocoa country profiles), this tool suggests to the user which practices ( validated in the coffee and climate toolbox) should be implemented.
On the aClimatar home page, you can find the navigation video tutorial and information on the coffee and cocoa country profiles that we have developed in the past, in order to expand the information and help users to learn more about the methodology and the sources of the data which are analyzed.
aCLIMAtar users must follow the following steps:
- Select the location of the farm, using coordinates, or by searching for the location on the map.
- View climate data, including current and future rainfall, and temperature information for the region.
- Select the crop, cocoa or coffee. For coffee, the tool currently provides information on Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Data on cocoa is available for the following countries: Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
- View climatic suitability data, such as agro-climatic zones, impact gradient, and heat and drought risks for the location.
- View and download the report with the compiled data and recommendations for Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices prioritized specifically for the selected location. The list of practices is divided into “Most Recommended”, “Other Recommended” and “Additional”. It also contains a short description including the reason why it may be favorable if there are changes in climate and reference costs. The practices serve as a basis for making decisions with technicians in each region and between associations.
With the use of this application, we hope to encourage its use in the new generation of coffee-growing families, who will have access to information generated in real time as well as predictions of weather behavior. This will help them to make better decisions in the management of their productive units.” – Javier Rivas, HRNS in Central America.
The future of coffee is very uncertain, and it is difficult to know what should be done. We hope that aCLIMAtar will allow producers and decision makers, among others, to get an idea of what may happen in the short and long term, as well as knowing the possible risks that they may have to face. We also hope that it will serve as a basis to initiate discussions on this issue.
The coffee sector must act now to minimize the impacts of the climate crisis and to seek differentiated and site-specific solutions. Scientific knowledge can support the prioritization of sustainable solutions and practices appropriate for each location. As one of the main challenges for the sector continues to be how to better work better together, it is essential that action be collective and collaborative and that the actors in the chain become partners.
The application of technology and the use of tools such as aCLIMAtar offer great support to accelerate progress and efficiency in coffee production. Producers, technicians and people in general find it difficult to move forward alone, no matter how much experience we have. This applies to taking advantage of large amounts of data, managing large volumes of information, overcoming distance barriers, and having the ability to accurately predict the behavior of crops under different scenarios”. – René León, Executive Secretary, PROMECAFÉ.
aCLIMAtar was launched during the “Technological Innovation and Climate Change” webinar. In the webinar, panelists discussed the role and importance of technology to face climate change, the challenges of the region, solutions available to deal with them, and the importance of the integration of the actors of the coffee sector.
The webinar panel included the following participants:
Michael Opitz, Global Director Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)
Pablo Ruiz, Executive Director Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) Central America
Christian Bunn, Scientist, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
Jenny Wiegel, Scientist, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
Verónica Rossi, Sustainability Manager at the Lavazza Foundation
Rene León, Executive Secretary PROMECAFE.
Click here to see the webinar video and presentation.