The analysis carried out shows that climate change represents an important threat to the future food security status of rural households in Nicaragua. Changes in temperatures, and in their absolute levels, in addition to the ability to manage these changes, vary across the country. Hence, informing 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 forward-looking lens of vulnerability analysis shows that in the context of climate change in Nicaragua, 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. These distinctions help avoid inclusion and exclusion errors and also support the design of interventions geared to the differing needs of chronically food insecure households. At the national level, conducting a static analysis of food security with vulnerability analysis, allowed to identify 26 000 households that are currently food insecure, but that are able to emerge from this state of food insecurity without external assistance, while 68 000 households that are found to be chronically insecure.

In addition to temperature changes, the effects of demographic characteristics and of agricultural and non-agricultural assets on vulnerability to food insecurity were analyzed. Location, asset holdings and propensity to sell agricultural produce on the market, have considerable effects on reducing the vulnerability levels of farming households.

Furthermore, the study simulated the vulnerability effect of given changes in climate, and found that 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. By increasing mean food consumption, both directly and through the effect on agricultural productivity, and by altering the variance of consumption, these policies help sustain total consumption and contain vulnerability to food poverty.

Smallholder farmer showing fodder plant in a silvo-pastoral system

last updated:  Tuesday, January 8, 2013