Gestión del Riesgo climático para la agricultura en pequeña escala en Honduras

Publicado en: 21 feb 2013 (49 páginas)
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This report presents the main results of a climate risk and risk management capacity assessment of smallholder agriculture in Honduras, conducted as part of the Climate Risk Management Technical Assistance Support Project (CRM TASP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The combination of different scientific and participatory research streams, including literature reviews, community consultations, participatory scenario development, crop modelling, hazard and vulnerability mapping, and policy and capacity assessments, provides a basis for identifying climate risks for smallholder agriculture and prioritizing measures to manage them.

Honduras is a poor country with low levels of education and security and high environmental degradation. As such, it is inherently vulnerable to economic, social and natural stressors. Agriculture contributes 12 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), earns US$1.4 billion in foreign exchange per year, and provides livelihoods and food security for a majority of Hondurans. The current practice of expanding monocultures and cattle ranching is pushing smallholders onto ever poorer and steeper soils, making them especially vulnerable to climate extremes. Key current climate hazards include droughts and aridity in the west, centre, southeast and south; tropical storms and cyclones, which also lead to floods and landslides across the country but predominantly in the northeast; and cold fronts on the Caribbean coast. Climate projections indicate a hotter and drier future, particularly for the south and west and during the months of June through August, intensifying general water scarcity and recurrent midsummer droughts.

Every year, climate events claim dozens of lives, affect tens of thousands of people and/or cause millions of dollars in damage, especially in the agriculture sector. A 2001 drought related to El Niño led to agricultural losses of US$30 million. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused economy-wide damages of over US$3.7 billion, of which over US$2 billion occurred in agriculture. Climate hazards have had immediate impacts on rural communities: for example, subsistence crops such as maize and beans are highly sensitive to current and projected temperature and rainfall trends. Rural farming communities lack sufficient capacity to adapt to climatic changes, because of their low income and education levels coupled with environmental degradation. Despite the coping mechanisms in place, climate variability and change are increasingly overwhelming coping capacities and compromising the use of sustainable adaptation strategies.

The combination of increasing hazards and vulnerability not only puts smallholders at direct risk, but also can jeopardize the achievements of national and sectoral development goals, such as reduction of poverty and inequality; improvement of education, health and security; and access to water. The Honduran Government aims to reach an annual growth rate of 4 percent in the agriculture sector, raise exports by 70 percent over four years, increase production levels of staples, coffee, fruits and vegetables, and increase irrigation by 30 percent, but climate variability and change threaten these plans.

Honduras has a comprehensive national risk management system and an Inter-Institutional Committee on Climate Change, and the country has clearly designated coordinating authorities for both disaster management and climate change adaptation. Key policy documents, such as the ‘Country Vision 2010–2038 and National Plan 2010–2022’ (Honduras, República de Honduras, 2001), recognize climate risks as a development issue, yet no thorough mainstreaming has occurred for key policies such as the Public Sector Strategy on Agriculture and Food. Numerous activities are ongoing in both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The former picked up after the Hurricane Mitch disaster in 1998. The latter have mainly focused on research and capacity building so far. As a result, Honduras’ capacity to deal with climate risk is improving, but deficiencies remain in terms of vulnerability and risk assessments, prioritization procedures for risks and risk management options, coordination between disaster-risk and climate change–adaptation agencies, climate monitoring, data processing and accessibility, and implementation of climate risk management actions.

Destacado

  • Improvement of local governance and social organization.
  • Climate-conscious territorial planning.
  • Water management, including reforestation.
  • Soil management and agricultural practices, including crop diversification and agroforestry.
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