The diverse topography and climate of Colombia allows for the cultivation of a variety of crops, from banana plantations in the Caribbean lowlands to coffee production in the Andean highlands. Cattle ranching is prevalent from the Andean highlands to the eastern plains and constitutes 37 percent of land use. Agriculture is the primary driver of economic growth in Colombia, generating a fifth of total value added and over a third of foreign exchange. The efficiency of irrigation systems is fairly low, contributing to increased vulnerability to soil salinization and water erosion. Agriculture in Colombia is vulnerable to soil aridity, erosion, and desertification, all of which already pose serious threats and are expected to increase with climate change. Currently, 4.1% of Colombian soil is already affected by desertification. Notably, 15 out of 23 irrigation districts with large-scale irrigation schemes are already affected by land degradation. Additionally, an increase in weather events such as La Niña might have serious impacts on agriculture. For example, in the 1997–1998 El Niño, as much as 10 percent of Colombia’s coffee production was lost due to drought.
This section provides insights into the climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators and the trends in agriculture related socio-economic indicators.