ACToday Unites Farmers and Scientists to Solve Climate Challenges in Guatemala

by |June 26, 2019
diego pons gives a presentation at a roundtable

Diego Pons of IRI at the launch of the south-central MTA in Guatemala City, April 2019. Photo: Elisabeth Gawthrop

Thousands of Guatemalan farmers will now have access to state-of-the-art forecasts and other climate information to help them increase crop yields and earn more, thanks to five new regional collaborative networks launched by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and its international and Guatemalan partners.

“We’re excited that we can have a direct impact on the population. This is something that really gets us up and out of bed every morning.”

— Juan Pablo Oliva Hernández, director of Guatemala’s national meteorological service

The collaborations are called mesas técnicas agroclimáticas, or agroclimatic roundtables, abbreviated as MTAs. They comprise experts and decision makers ranging from small farmers to representatives from a wide variety of institutions, including local municipalities, national government, humanitarian agencies, farmers associations and international organizations. The representatives meet regularly to discuss recent climate conditions and the latest forecasts. They then agree on a set of good agricultural practices for the region, as well as strategies to communicate those recommendations.

MTAs are a key component of IRI’s work in both Guatemala and Colombia for Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday), the Columbia World Project it leads. The goal of ACToday is to use climate science and services, including state-of-the-art forecasting tools, to help Guatemala and five other countries combat hunger and improve food security.

“It’s important we don’t underestimate the tangible difference these roundtables will make in people’s lives,” said IRI’s Walter Baethgen, who co-leads the ACToday project. “We are ensuring that the best climate information Guatemala produces is not only directly making its way to underserved communities, but that the communities have a say in what information gets produced, based on the needs of their growers.”

Read the full story here.

Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday) is a Columbia World Project led by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. The project aims to combat hunger and improve food security by increasing climate knowledge in six countries that are particularly dependent on agriculture and vulnerable to the effects of climate change and fluctuations: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Vietnam and Guatemala. This is an excerpt of an article that takes an in-depth look at a new series of roundtables launched in Guatemala to advance ACToday’s goals. Read the full story here.

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