Climate-smart assessing the climate-smart agriculture in Guatemala


Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) may be defined as anapproach for transforming and reorienting agricultural development under thenew realities of climate change.This paper analyses CSA in Guatemala, which was ranked 9thamong countries most affected by extreme climate events in the past two decades.The main aim of this study is to assess the costs andbenefits of climate-smart agriculture in Guatemala.The method used in assessing the climate-smart agriculture in Guatemala includes:Literature review on practices used in CSA with respect totheir costs and benefits and Literature review on crops used in CSA withrespect to their costs and benefits.Concerning obtaining secondary data sources using theliterature review on practices in CSA, the following practices employed in CSA willbe considered based on their costs and benefits: Mulching, Crop rotation, Contourfarming, Water reservoir/ ponds + drip irrigationThese practices will be explained in details in thesubsequent sections.  Concerning obtaining secondary data sources using literaturereview on crops used in CSA, cost-benefit analyses of the following crops willbe considered: Heat-tolerant maize variety, Pest-tolerant been varietyMulching:itis a CSA practice carried out by applying a layer of material on the surface ofsoil.

 The materials used as mulch couldbe dead plant materials or polythene materials. Mulching is very important in CSA for the following reasons: it helps inconserving soil moisture (by preventing evaporation), improving fertility andhealth of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of thearea. The types of mulching materials used in Guatemala are polyethylene- blackmulch, polyethylene- SRM red mulch, mana grass and Guatemala grass. The mulchapplied covers the soil surface and thus does not leave the soil bare,consequently preventing soil erosion. Finally, when mulch made of plantmaterial decomposes, additional nutrients are added to the soil.  Carrying out cost and benefits (CBA) onmulching as a CSA practice, the following can be outlined as part of the costwhen mulching is employed: cost for equipment and machinery that would be usedfor making the mulch, cost for labour and cost for polythene materials whenpolythene are used as mulching materials.

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 In addition, when mulch is applied, seeds remain dormant and if theywill even germinate, they take much longer time.Regarding the benefits associated application of mulching,the following can be outlined: it increases crop yield by helping conservingsoil moisture consequently making soil water available to crops. Mulch made ofplant materials decompose and add additional nutrients to the soil thereby improvingfertility and health of the soil. Mulching reduces weed growth and therebyreducing the amount of money needed to clear weeds in terms of applyingweedicides or using mechanical methods.  Themulch applied covers the soil surface and thus do not leave the soil bear,consequently preventing soil erosion.

This implies that no new land isnecessary needed to be sought after for the next growing season since theprevious soil’s properties are kept intact. Crop Rotation: it isthe practice of growing a series of different types of crops on the same pieceof land by alternating them in different sequential growing seasons. Theoriginal land on which crop rotation is applied could be a fertile land ornon-fertile.

In Guatemala, Farms are very vulnerable to erosion and often aresteep or rocky. On average, the size of a farm ranges from .2 to 1.5 hectares. Thisaffects the size of plots because if you do not have enriched soils it is hardto produce quality goods. As the farms are often steep or rocky, only a smallportion of land is available, this small portion of land is thus used for croprotation.

For example, when we cultivate leguminous crops in onegrowing season on a piece of land, the green leaves together with the otherwastes are ploughed into the soil after the growing season and thusreplenishing the fertility of the soil back into it. In the next growingseason, a different crop like maize can be cultivated on this same land whichhas gained its fertility and the rotation can continue. Crop rotation oftenuses a leguminous crop together with other non-leguminous in alternation in thegrowing seasons.

  Carrying out CBA on this practice, the cost involved in thispractice would be: Equipment used for ploughing the legumes into the soil, Costof fuel that would be bought for operating the ploughing machine and the othermechanization process, Labour cost is also factored, Time consumed for theploughing process.The benefits involved in this practice would be: Yield willbe twice when manure is applied, crop rotation maintains the soil nutrients, italso helps in improving the soil stability, It prevents soil erosion becausethe land is always covered with some crops, Availability of cheap organicmanure, since after harvesting the legume the wastes is ploughed back into thesoil as free organic source.Contour farming: it is a type of CSA practice wheresloped land is tilled along lines of consistent elevation or mountainous areasin order to conserve rainwater and to reduce soil losses from surface erosion.These are done by means of making furrows, crop rows, and wheel tracks acrossslopes. All of these act as reservoirs to catch and retain rainwater, thuspermitting increased infiltration and more uniformdistribution of the water. Contour farming has been practiced usually in places where water isscarce and thus irrigation farming is important. Contour farming is used as anessential part of erosion control.

 Carrying out CBA on this practice, thecost involved in this practice would be:Equipment used for contouring and tomake furrows, labour cost for making the contours, time consumed for making thecontours, fuel to be consumed when making the contours.   The benefits involved in this practicewould be: Prevention of soil erosion, retention of soil water, it increaseswater infiltration into the soil and also helps in slowing the water flow fromthe top of the mountain to the bottom. Water reservoir/ ponds + drip irrigation: Water reservoir couldbe explained as an enlarged natural or artificial area created specially as astorage pond or impoundment to store water. Water reservoirs canbe created by damming a stream that drains from an existing water body. InGuatemala   the use of low pressure dripirrigation systems and rain water harvesters by impoverished farmers are being evaluated.Water reservoir can also be created by digging a large hole for collectingrainwater that will fall to the ground. This is usually done in arid regionsand consequently, water reservoirs are important for CSA.

Drip irrigationinvolves dispensing water to the crops using drip tubes. Drip irrigationensures that the crop gets exactly the amount of water needed for growth andyield and thus avoids wastage of water which could just be sprinkled on theland to dry up without serving any purpose to the crop. Combining water reservoir and dripirrigation in CSA will ensure that the minimal water available is efficientlyand effectively used to ensure maximum yield.

 Carrying out CBA on this practice, thecost involved in this practice would be:Equipment used for excavating the soil,Equipment needed to line the excavated pit, Labour cost for making theexcavations, Time consumed for making the excavations, Fuel to be consumed whenmaking the excavations, Cost for the drip tubes and drip tips. The benefits involved in this practicewould be:It ensures continuous water supply tothe crops throughout the season and also sees to that exactly the right amountof water is supplied to the crop, it avoids wastage of water, it ensurescontinuous yield of crops throughout the year.Heat and waterstress-tolerant maize variety, Pest and disease-tolerant bean variety: Two commonindicators of CBA is Net present value (NPV) and Internal rate of return (IRR).

The IRR is defined as the discount rate (in this case 12%) which makes NPVequal to zero.The payback period (PP) also plays an important role forCBA of climate smart agricultural practices. Payback period refers to the timeneeded to repay the initial investment (which includes material, labour andinstallation costs). The payback period should be generally within 1 to 2 yearsconsidering minimal financial risks for small producers.  Heat and waterstress-tolerant maize variety: ICTA B-7 a local maize variety tolerant to heat andlimited water scarcity was introduced.   Heat and water stress-tolerant maize variety is highlypro?table in the conditions of the Dry Corridor in Guatemala as the entiredistribution of the Internal Rate of Return lies over the value of 12%.

As amatter of fact, there is a 90% probability of getting an IRR greater than 122%.In the case of Heat and water stress-tolerant maizevariety the payback period is 2 years.Pest anddisease-tolerant bean variety: ICTA Ligero bean variety with tolerance to Bean GoldenMosaic Virus was introduced.

Pest and disease-tolerant bean variety is highlypro?table practice when the high frequency of the pest occurrence, thesubsequent yield losses, and low cost implied in changing variety is avoided.The entire distribution of the Internal Rate of Return lies over the 12% value.As a matter of fact, there is a 90% probability of getting an IRR more than600%.In the case of Pest and disease-tolerant bean variety thepayback period is 1 year. Both the varieties have benefits in CSA practice whencompared to the conventional varieties of maize and bean. But, ICTA Ligero Pestand disease tolerant bean variety emerges as the stronger choice for thefarmers in the region.

*ICTA-Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícolas(Institute of agricultural science and technology)CONCLUSION:  Climate smartagriculture is an integrated approach to developing policy, technical andinvestment conditions to acquire sustainable agricultural growth for foodsecurity under varying climatic conditions. Farmers with small land holdingsfollowing traditional methods of agriculture without considering the aspect ofclimate change are now benefitted with CSA as there is very little risk bypracticing it. CSA brings together practices, institutions and policies thatare not new but in the context of climatic change which is unfamiliar tofarmers. There is sustainable increase in the agricultural productivity andincome by CSA. There are no negative environmental impacts by theimplementation of CSA.

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