Addressing the linkages between climate change and vulnerability to food insecurity

Between 1971 and 2010, the average temperature in Nicaragua increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius and has become increasingly unpredictable, with large swings from year to year. In rural Nicaragua, 25% of farming households are extremely poor, while experiencing chronic or temporary food insecurity. A significant proportion of their income is generated through farming (more than 50% on average) and agriculture is almost completely rain-fed, with less than 2% of households reporting the use of irrigation. In this context, the impact of global warming could be severe. It is therefore important to be able to assess the likely impacts of rising temperatures on food security and use this understanding to inform policy nd decision makers. 

With the support of the FAO Multidonor Partnership Programme, a methodological framework to address the linkages between climate change and vulnerability to food insecurity is being developed and tested in Nicaragua. The purpose is to bridge the gap between analysis of climate change impacts on food security and policy-making. The project seeks to downscale the broad and global climate change agenda at the local level and engage policy makers to better address the impact of climate change on food security at household level.


Activities description

Main Findings

  • Climate change represents an important threat to the future food security status of rural households in Nicaragua. Iinforming decision makers based on the results of disaggregated analyses of climate changes and of the ability to manage these changes is important and highly relevant to adapt – and possibly to mitigate – the impact of climate change.

  • The design of food security interventions can greatly benefit from making a distinction between households that are transitorily food insecure and households that are chronically food insecure. At the national level, conducting a static analysis of food security with vulnerability analysis allowed to identify 26,000 food insecure households, but that are able to emerge from this state without external assistance, while 68,000 households were found to be chronically insecure.

  • Location, asset holdings and propensity to sell agricultural produce on the market have considerable effects on reducing the vulnerability levels of farming households.

  • Even small variations in temperature have heavy effects on farmers’ future ability to access sufficient food. Policies that increase education and facilitate access to fertilizers and pesticides are effective means of offsetting the negative consequences of climate change.

last updated:  Thursday, June 6, 2013