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Local solutions for climate change adaptation and coffee rust management in Guatemala

A recent news blog on the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture and Food Security website highlights urgent need to identify best agroecological management practices for smallholder organic growers to adapt their coffee systems to climate change.

A recent news blog on the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture and Food Security website highlights urgent need to identify best agroecological management practices for smallholder organic growers to adapt their coffee systems to climate change.

Climate change is predicted to have adverse effects on Central America’s coffee producers. Hurricanes and coffee leaf rust, a fungal pathogen which has caused widespread crop losses in recent years, are considered to be a prelude to future problems.

In light of this scenario, Bioversity International scientist Maarten van Zonneveld and his research team talk about how we are working with partners to support smallholder organic growers in the western highlands of Guatemala to respond to climate change and also protect their crops from rust disease. 

Participatory research is being conducted with members of the Asociación Barillense de Agricultores (ASOBAGRI). The cooperative supports 1,200 organic coffee growers in Huehuetenango. They benefit from having access to agroecological research, for further adaptation and monitoring systems, such as selecting species that are most suitable for establishing shade trees under progressive climate change; or even soil conservation evaluation tools that can help them mitigate erosion and land degradation. 

“Currently, farmers have little diversification options other than migration to carry out poorly paid seasonal jobs or try getting into the USA,” say Van Zonneveld and colleagues. They also highlight that cardamom and honey production, for example, have broadened perspectives for some farmers, as a sustainable alternative that is helping them to get out of poverty. But there are still several challenges up to developing value chains for agricultural products.

Read the full article on the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture and Food Security website (CCAFS) webpage 

Watch this video featuring some of the farmers who are participating in the project.

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This project is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Hivos, the University of Vermont, CEDECO and the World Agroforestry Centre.

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