Vulnerable rural communities

In its pilot phase, the MEbA project is mainly focused on rural communities in the Andean regions of Colombia and Peru. The majority of target customers are small-scale agricultural producers with landholdings of 10 hectares or less.

Most of the customers who have participated in interviews, focus groups and workshops are aware of climate change. Unlike urban populations, the income of rural agricultural producers depends directly on the climate. Many have reported that in recent years and decades, rainfall patterns have changed, the planting and harvesting seasons have shifted, making them more unpredictable, and the frequency of natural disasters and outbreaks of new crop diseases has increased.

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However, although they experience the consequences of climate change, these customers lack an understanding of the dynamics that cause it and the potential responses to confront it. Their access to reliable information, such as meteorological forecasts, is limited, and their capacity to interpret and effectively respond to this information is even more limited. In addition, they sometimes also fail to see the connection between the effects of their farming practices and the maintenance or degradation of ecosystems and their services.

Small-scale farmers need trustworthy partners to provide them with access to relevant information, training, and adequate financing to support their adaptation strategies. Ecosystem-based adaptation options must promise and deliver short- and medium-term returns in order to encourage investment, to be accepted as viable alternatives for this sector of the population, and to increase the resilience of both those who implement them and the ecosystem services that sustain livelihoods in rural areas.

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