By Marlon Howking, TRUEPATH.
Between October and November 2022, the network of climate monitors accompanied by Nitlapan in the framework of the TRUEPATH project in Nicaragua held meetings at each of the weather stations, inviting nearby producers to analyse the data collected. There was one visit per station (10 stations) and a group workshop, involving more than 70 people in total. In these meetings they reflected on the behavior of the climate in their communities and the impact (positive and negative) on the production of beans, corn, cocoa, coffee and livestock. They also analysed the effects of climate variations on the lives of families.
The analysis of climate data is complemented with data from climate bio-indicators (behavior of plants, animals, wind, clouds, moon, sun, rainbows, etc.) used by the community members to determine the behaviour of the climate in the community, for example, whether it will be sunny or rainy. This knowledge is part of community science, as it is knowledge proven by experience and passed on over generations. The meeting emphasized the importance of understanding bio-indicators, as living beings react, adapt and warn about climate changes. Bio-indicators allow them to prepare for upcoming climate events.
In the year 2022 there were moments of intense rainfall in some sites, high humidity, and variation in temperature and winds. In some places, which is usually affected by drought, rainfall was favorable for growing crops. The entire country was affected by tropical storms and hurricanes that resulted in losses in agricultural activities. Coffee was affected by a greater increase in coffee berry borer and rust; cocoa was affected by flowering and by diseases such as monilia and black pod. Maize and beans were affected by viruses and pests. Diseases and pests also affected the health of livestock, reducing milk production and damaging pastures. The change in climate affected the food security of families in places where rainfall intensity was higher, although in other areas where rainfall was moderate, families achieved better production. For this reason, understanding and being alert to climate changes has become a necessity and a challenge for farming families.
Weather observation allowed us to have an Early Warning system and to make decisions in the face of meteorological events such as hurricanes Bonnie and Julia. They allowed Nitlapan to provide more appropriate technical assistance for crop and livestock conditions.
At the end of the meetings, there was consensus among participating producers that climate change action is everyone’s responsibility; and as one of them pointed out, “we must understand that I depend, you depend, we all depend on the climate, so we must understand it.”