Towards adaptation in Costa Rica. Small farms resilience to climate change by Agroforestry Chorotegan Association
Adaptation technologies for agriculture and livestock of rural communities affected by climate change.
Central America has been identified as one of the areas most affected by climate change with more extreme meteorological events, which has forced the countries concerned to invest financial resources in reconstruction works.
Costa Rica and specially the province of Guanacaste is no exception, and there are sectors that are especially vulnerable to these changes, such as the water resource, related to the consumption of water for domestic consumption, sanitation, and agriculture, where the alteration of climate patterns returns more vulnerable to agricultural production, affecting its production and productivity. There are also sectors in the population that are particularly vulnerable, such as poor women and those who depend on agriculture as the main way of life like indigenous population.
Faced with the climate change in our province, we are facing a major challenge, since agricultural producers have been the most affected due to loss of crops, droughts, death of livestock, the appearance of new pests, among others. As a result of this analysis and being aware of the great needs and shortcomings of the population and the budgetary constraint of the government to fully address such emergency; our organization presents this project proposal to Increase the resilience and adaptability of the agricultural sector to climate change in the canton of Nicoya, through adaptation technologies and capacity building for sustainable land use and integrated water resource management throught the following activities:
•Implementing adaptation technologies to improve the capture, storage, distribution and transport of water on farms for irrigation of crops, human and animal consumption.
• Developing sustainable good practices in agriculture and livestock, to maximize the productivity and efficiency of available natural resources.
• Developing a training program for producers and rural communities on climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture.
What actions do you propose?
It is intended to provide at least 20 agricultural producers with the necessary inputs to implement sustainable land and water management practices as strategies for adapting to climate change. Also Implement a training program on climate change and adaptation of livelihoods in 20 communities.
The project will reduce the vulnerability and negative impacts of climate change on the agricultural and forestry sector in the canton of Nicoya, such as those produced by droughts like crop losses and reduction of water resources, improving the resilience of the territory, strengthening knowledge and awareness about the interactions between climate and society.
The project will implement adaptation technologies of the agricultural and water component described below:
1. Establishment of plots with crop diversification: Through water management, plots with different crops will be created on each farm in order to guarantee food security and diversity of production, which will be in charge of the Women as active members of the farm.
2. Construction of live fences: Through live fences, will be increased the biological bridges, carbon capture, microclimates and more intensive management of pastures with appropriate animal loading and rotation systems
3. Establishment of new forage and protein banks: Sugar cane planting, Cuba 21, sorghum, cratylia and gold button. This allows for greater availability of short-summer forages and feeding systems with balanced diets rich in protein.
4. Construction of feeding modules for livestock: On the farms required, integrated feeding modules will be built so that they have sufficient infrastructure for livestock care, especially dairy cows and their offspring. These modules allow easier handling of the cows to feed it in canoes and for milking.
5. Establishment of water storage technologies: PVC tanks and reservoirs with geomembrane to capture rainwater during winter, as well as remaining water from streams and springs through catchments.
6. Installation of drinking canoes: Plastic canoes will be installed on the farms distributed in the different rooms, so that the animals have water in areas without access to bodies of water, while avoiding the affectation of these on the part of the cattle.
7 Protection and reforestation of springs or sources of water on selected farms: Borders will be constructed around the mountainous area of each stream to protect it from the income of livestock. They will be reforested to increase their forest cover and catchment capacity.
8 Construction of water transport systems to tanks, ponds and irrigation systems: Installation of PVC pipeline underground to transfer water from the catchments to storage tanks, irrigation systems and drinking troughs.
9. Develop training plan on sustainable agriculture and climate change: A training plan for civil society will be developed as part of the empowerment of communities by the project.
Currently the organization manages a project with the Adaptation Fund, created during the Kyoto Protocol for the implementation of adaptive technologies which will prolong the activities of this proposal for two years. It is intended with the presentation of this project to increase the number of beneficiaries and the results of this. Currently we have a similar project that will benefit at least 90 new producers.
With the implementation of the actions described above, it is expected that the farms will become pilot spaces and at the same time model farms for the replication of these initiatives in new territories.
The continuity of the adaptation actions in the farms is expected, likewise, the incorporation of more practices for this same purpose in the territories involved in the project.
The project also aims to provide an information service to civil society in terms of raising awareness about climate change; its causes, effects, and adaptation strategies, so it is expected to also make an echo about the current problems as well as the adaptation opportunities that can be used by the agricultural producers as the main affected.
Therefore, the project will propose a before and an after regarding the productive model in the canton of Nicoya, in order to replicate this initiative in other areas of the country in a short future.
The project is conducive in developing more integral and sustainable production systems in the farms. It is intended to move from a traditional production system to the implementation of a productive model focused on increasing economic, social and environmental benefits.
Once the project is completed, the adaptation and mitigation mechanisms applied in the farms will be the fundamental basis for achieving economic sustainability, as well as its adaptability and resilience to climate change.
The organization has raised the search for new funding sources to ensure the maintenance of the new initiatives applied.
The economic sustainability of the project is based on the multiplicity of productive activities to be adopted during and after its execution, the increase in revenues resulting from this variation and follow-up for the search for new financing offered by our organization
Who will take these actions?
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock: Provide technical support with agricultural officials and facilitate transportation for the transfer of personnel and equipment. Will support for the selection of beneficiary producers.
Ministry of the Environment: Through a regional office, it currently supports the organization with offices and event rooms for the development of projects.
Cameras of livestook: Association of producers that will support the project for the development of farmer training. It facilitates a space to keep of equipment and tools of the project.
National University of Costa Rica: Through its research center 'CEMEDE' will provide technical advice for the implementation of technologies and for the training of producers and communities.
Agricultural producers: People who will be beneficiaries of the project after passing a selection process. With the project, they will technify their production systems and adapt to climate change, especially in the face of drought, thanks to the efficient use of water and agricultural production under irrigation. They will contribute at least 50% of the project's budget counterpart. The beneficiaries will be new affiliated members of our organization.
Where will these actions be taken?
The geographical area of the project is the region of Nicoya located in the province of Guanacaste, North Pacific of Costa Rica. It has a territorial extension of 1333.68 km² and is divided into seven districts.
It was an area of great importance for the consolidation of the indigenous Chorotegan population until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1520. Today it concentrates one of the largest populations of indigenous descendants in the country.
The canton of Nicoya has a geography of plains and valleys with excellent characteristics for agriculture and livestock. The crops of melon, rice and corn stand out.
Tourism has followed the rhythm of vertiginous growth that characterizes the province, and especially in the city of Nicoya, which is an important hub of communications
International Living magazine published a report highlighting Nicoya as one of the 5 healthiest places to live in the world. It is one of the 5 blue zones of the world.
What are other key benefits?
1- Protection of water recharge zones thanks to the protection of natural water sources.
2- Decreased of compaction and erosion on the soil thanks to an efficient system of livestock rotation in the farms.
3- Protection and conservation of water sources avoiding livestock to drink from them, thanks to the plastic canoes distributed on the farms.
4- Fertilization of soils thanks to the rotation of agricultural crops and live fences.
5- Carbon sequestration and generation of microclimates.
6- Creation of natural steps for flora and fauna thanks to the division of paddocks.
7- Food security for rural families that depend on the farm.
8- Participation of women and young people in the activities of the farm.
9- Generational change by young people in the productive activities of the rural environment
What are the proposal’s costs?
The economic costs of the project cover infrastructure, materials and supplies, training expenses and professional services. The total project is 94,000 EUR.
Absorbing climate impacts:
Infrastructure: Building materials to build feeding modules in the farms. 7,000 EUR.
Materials and supplies: Equipment and supplies to install the technologies described for the collection, storage and distribution of water on farms. 20,000 EUR.
Training expenses: materials and utensils needed to provide workshops, food and equipment. 3,000 EUR.
Professional services: Payment of fees for the person in charge of giving the trainings, and the coordination of the project. 10,000 EUR.
Mentoring, training and technical assistance: 12,000 EUR.
Agroforestry Chorotegan Association:
The organization will contribute the same amount (42.000 EUR) of money in the areas of infrastructure, materials and supplies, training expenses, and professional services as a counterpart for the project.
Short term: through a process of selection of producers, taking into account previously established technical and legal criteria, the technologies proposed in their farms will be implemented in order to adapt the production to climate change. In this way, in the short term, their incomes will increase and the production of rural communities will be diversified.
For the training process, the most vulnerable communities in the canton are going to be selected, especially those hit by droughts and the low human development index.
With a process of evaluation and monitoring of results, the conditions of the producers and the knowledge management by the communities in terms of climate change and adaptation are evaluated.
Medium term: There are project evaluations and results systematization to replicate them in other areas of the country with similar climatic conditions. In the medium term there will be a strong baseline to generate replicas applying the feedback of the first project.
Long term: A culture of adaptation to climate change in Costa Rican agriculture has been consolidated and our proposal is replicated by the government, companies and organizations.
Project to strengthen the agricultural sector for adaptation to climate change: Executed with the Adaptation Fund, this project is for three years with a budget of $ 250,000. Currently we implement it in three cantons of our province. Adaptation technologies to climate change are implemented to strengthen the peasant sector.
Project link: http://unaforchorotega.org/proyecto-043-14-fondos-de-adaptacion-crusa/
Project Synergies for conservation through agroforestry systems: Project executed with the Costa Rica Forever Association with funds from the United States. It includes the increase of biological corridors through agroforestry systems in private farms, to increase forest connectivity, protection of water sources and passage of flora and fauna, at the same time as the production of farmers is strengthened. The budget is $ 100,000.
Link project: http://unaforchorotega.org/incremento-de-la-conectividad-ecologica-en-corredores-biologicos-cerros-de-jesus-y-potrero-caimital/
Comisión Mixta de Sequía Región Chorotega. 2002. Plan estratégico 2002-2003. (en línea). Consultado 22 mar. 2014. Disponible en:http://www.cne.go.cr/CEDO-CRID/CEDO-CRID%20v2.0/CEDO/pdf/spa/doc14702/doc14702-a.pdf
Comité Sectorial Regional Agropecuario Región Chorotega. 2007. plan regional de desarrollo sector productivo Chorotega 2007-2010. (en línea). Consultado 22 mar. 2014. Disponible en:http://www.infoagro.go.cr/MarcoInstitucional/Documents/PRDA_Chorotega.pdf
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FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2007. Coping with water scarcity. (en línea). Consultado 22 mar. 2014. Disponible en: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/focus/2007/1000521/index.html
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