Poor soil quality, water scarcity, uncertain land tenure and recurring natural disasters, together with increased climate variability, are all factors that pose challenges to the agriculture sector, which contributes 17% to GDP. Coffee alone comprises 15% of export revenues. Climate variability and change, including increased temperatures, humidity and changing rainfall patterns, pose a significant threat to the sector’s productivity. Coffee zones are already shifting, with increasing temperatures forcing farmers to cultivate land at higher altitudes with cooler climates that favor high-quality coffee. This trend forces producers to cultivate forested areas, leading to deforestation, increased runoff and lower water quality for farmers downstream. Staple crops including maize and beans are also affected by climate variability. Prolonged droughts followed by flash flooding in recent years have wreaked havoc on smallholder production systems. Hurricane Mitch alone caused $250 million in damages to crops and livestock in 1998. Rebuilding and recovery are hampered by the frequency of these events.
This section allows you to gain insights into climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators. These indicators give a comprehensive view on a country’s dependence on agriculture, on three fronts – economically, in terms of dependent population and land resources availability.