Colombia has many farmers’ associations that represent the most productive sectors in the country. Many of them have strong participation and serve farmers of the major staple crops. Until recently, however, these organizations were relying on individual crop and climate data and older data collection practices. Additionally, the data that were available were general regional data that were not site-specific to where farmers work. Technicians were uncomfortable sharing their data and were accustomed to using disposable (single-use) data to make predictions. A skill gap remained in the capacity to analyze and apply the results of historical data.
Beginning in 2014, CIAT entered into an agreement (convenio) with the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and national farmer associations to find and apply alternatives in the agricultural sector to adapt to local conditions and improve the use of natural resources. To assist farmers in local adaptation, the CIAT-CCAFS Big Data/AEPS analysis team provided capacity building in data collection and management to association technicians, and trainees experienced changes in attitude, technical knowledge of modern analysis tools, and skills in interpreting results.
What has changed?
As a result, Fedearroz, a major rice farmer association representing approximately 24,000 Colombian producers, is now incorporating research on climate site-specific management and producing its own climate forecasts to make informed agricultural decisions. Members of the association now receive improved data quickly through a mobile application. Also through CIAT-CCAFS capacity building, Fedearroz applied new skills and developed a centralized data repository in Bogotá and standardized data collection formats nationally. After recognizing the utility of site-specific data, Fedearroz hired a meteorologist to generate climatic forecasts that strengthen its institutional capacity.
Agronomist - Data Scientist