Climate insurance for farmers: a shield that boosts innovation


Index insurance is one of the top 10 innovations for climate-proof farming. Photo: P. Lowe/ CIMMYT

November 7, 2017

New insurance products geared towards smallholder farmers can help them recover their losses, and even encourage investment in climate-resilient innovations.

What stands between a smallholder farmer and a bag of climate-adapted seeds? In many cases, it’s the hesitation to take a risk. Farmers may want to use improved varieties, invest in new tools, or diversify what they grow, but they need reassurance that their investments and hard work will not be squandered.

Climate change already threatens crops and livestock; one unfortunately-timed dry spell or flash flood can mean losing everything. Today, innovative insurance products are tipping the balance in farmers’ favor. That’s why insurance is featured as one of 10 innovations for climate action in agriculturein a new report released ahead of next week’s UN Climate Talks. These innovations are drawn from decades of agricultural research for development by CGIAR and its partners and showcase an array of integrated solutions that can transform the food system.

Index insurance is making a difference to farmers at the frontlines of climate change. It is an essential building block for adapting our global food system and helping farmers thrive in a changing climate. Taken together with other innovations like stress-tolerant crop varietiesclimate-informed advisories for farmers, and creative business and financial models, index insurance shows tremendous promise.

The concept is simple. To start with, farmers who are covered can recoup their losses if (for example) rainfall or average yield falls above or below a pre-specified threshold or ‘index’. This is a leap forward compared to the costly and slow process of manually verifying the damage and loss in each farmer’s field. In India, scientists from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR), have worked out the water level thresholds that could spell disaster for rice farmers if exceeded. Combining 35 years of observed rainfall and other data, with high-resolution satellite images of actual flooding, scientists and insurers can accurately gauge the extent of flooding and crop loss to quickly determine who gets payouts.

The core feature of index insurance is to offer a lifeline to farmers, so they can shield themselves from the very worst effects of climate change. But that’s not all. Together with my team, we’re investigating how insurance can help farmers adopt new and improved varieties. Scientists are very good at developing technologies but farmers are not always willing to make the leap. This is one of the most important challenges that we grapple with. What we’ve found has amazed us: buying insurance can help farmers overcome uncertainty and give them the confidence to invest in new innovations and approaches. This is critical for climate change adaptation. We’re also finding that creditors are more willing to lend to insured farmers and that insurance can stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. Ultimately, insurance can help break poverty traps, by encouraging a transformation in farming.

Insurers at the cutting edge are making it easy for farmers to get coverage. In Kenya, insurance is being bundled into bags of maize seeds, in a scheme led by ACRE Africa. Farmers pay a small premium when buying the seeds and each bag contains a scratch card with a code, which farmers text to ACRE at the time of planting. This initiates coverage against drought for the next 21 days; participating farms are monitored using satellite imagery. If there are enough days without rain, a farmer gets paid instantly via their mobile phone.


ACRE makes it easy for Kenyan farmers to get insurance. Source

Farmers everywhere are business people who seek to increase yields and profits while minimizing risk and losses. As such, insurance has widespread appeal. We’ve seen successful initiatives grow rapidly in India, China, Zambia, Kenya and Mexico, which points to significant potential in other countries and contexts. The farmers most likely to benefit from index insurance are emergent and commercial farmers, as they are more likely than subsistence smallholder farmers to purchase insurance on a continual basis.

It’s time for more investment in index insurance and other innovations that can help farmers adapt to climate change. Countries have overwhelmingly prioritized climate actions in the agriculture sector, and sustained support is now needed to help them meet the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Jon Hellin leads the project on weather index-based agricultural insurance as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). This work is done in collaboration with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University, and the CGIAR Research Programs on MAIZE and WHEAT.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by CIMMYT and retrieved on 11/10/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the original authors and publisher. We will not be held accountable for the reliability, accuracy, and validity of the published materials. If you need additional information about the contents and materials of the article, please contact the original authors and publisher. INDESEEM is an emerging nonprofit, research and development organization which seeks to enhance development partnerships in developing countries to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 and beyond. Please cite article accordingly. Thank You.


On the trail of ancient treasure in Peru

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By Neil Palmer @ CIAT


Source: CIAT, 2017

It’s down there somewhere.


At least, it was. Almost thirty years ago.

Looking out over Peru’s Sacred Valley, Daniel Debouck checks his map. The same one as before, impeccably preserved.

Daniel Debouck checks his map

But Daniel is no ordinary treasure hunter. What he’s looking for is something more ancient than the Incas, and potentially more valuable than all their silver and gold.

And if he finds it, he’s just going to look at it.

For a few minutes.

And then leave.

We wind our way down to the valley floor and through the little towns of Pisac and Lamay. Daniel scours the roadside, taking meticulous readings from the car’s odometer. Shunning nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites to comb wasteland, our driver clearly thinks we’re bonkers.

At a non-descript verge, Daniel politely asks to pull over and dons his hiking boots.

And he’s off. Suitcase in hand; long, lurching strides that I scamper to keep up with; brief pauses to scan the roadside before marching on. To passing traffic he must look like a hitchhiker searching for lost keys.

A hundred metres later and with no luck, I start to console myself: it’s been nearly three decades. Anything could have happened. The story will have to be that we didn’t find treasure at all.

Suddenly, Daniel stops.

With a jab of his finger, he points into an impenetrable tangle of quite dead-looking bushes.

As I catch up, he turns to me, eyes full of excitement, and says:

“G40725. It’s still here.”

It’s a code that means bean. A wild, untamed bean. One that contains secrets.

I peer uselessly into the undergrowth. After a few years at CIAT, I’ve seen my fair share of beans. But even with this really special one right in front of me, I can’t spot it. Daniel guides my eyes, and finally, there it is: Phaseolus augusti, an ancient, rustic cousin of the better-known Lima bean.

Far from dead, he explains that the pods have all opened, leaving their dried, twisted casings dangling from the vines. I get a flash of The Blair Witch Project and shake it away.

Is that it, a bedraggled bean plant? That’s the treasure?

I know; I owe you an explanation. So here goes.

Once there was a plant. We’re talking about 8 million years ago, in what is modern-day Mexico. This “proto-bean” – now long extinct – is the earliest ancestor of the beans that today feed 400 million people. Yes, the kinds the British have on toast and that Mexicans themselves are known to re-fry.

By 5 million years ago, proto-bean had spawned several genetically distinct offspring. Responding to natural variations in climate, some of these new plants started to move south, at the excruciatingly slow rate of about five meters per year – the result of seed drop and regrowth, drop and regrowth. Little by little, they adapted to the environments they moved through.

Over the course of a few more million years, this southerly saunter led them down through Central America, and into many parts of South America, including here, in the Peruvian Andes. Daniel can even point to the direction from which they first slinked into the Sacred Valley (north-west).

Fast-forward to around 15,000 years ago – experts disagree as to exactly when – and the first hunter-gatherers arrived in the Andes. They stumbled upon several kinds of wild beans while foraging. But the seeds were small, bitter-tasting and – here’s the deal-breaker – poisonous. It’s the reason you need to soak and cook beans even today.

But what happened next changed the course of agricultural and culinary history. The hunter-gatherers possibly saw birds feeding on the young, green pods of one bean in particular – P.vulgaris, or wild common bean. Given they didn’t promptly squawk in agony and drop out of the sky, the hunter-gatherers surmised – so the argument goes – that the immature beans were probably safe to eat. Some brave soul must have been the guinea pig.

When he or she survived, they plucked some of the beans from the wild and started cultivating them – a process known as domestication. Daniel’s research suggests that for common bean, this happened around 6-7,000 years ago in Peru’s Apurímac Region, not far from where we are in Cusco Region.*

Over time these early farmers noticed that some of the domesticated plants produced bigger seeds than others. Easier to harvest and more fun to eat, they discarded smaller-seeded plants in favor of the larger ones. Over centuries, domesticated beans tripled in size, soaking and cooking became the norm, and they became a staple food.

The once-wild common bean had been tamed.

Fast-forward to the present day and human activity has gobbled up many of the habitats of wild beans. But, whatever: they were small and poisonous anyway. Good riddance.

Fortunately, that’s not where the story ends.

Because there are still little pockets where wild beans endure. These ecological niches have managed to either repel, escape or adapt to the forces of modernity. They’re often unassuming wastelands, and the beans little more than weeds. Just sitting there, looking dead.

Great. But what about the treasure?

Well, the fact the wild beans have survived so long means they probably have some kind of evolutionary advantage. And here, on the outskirts of Lamay, one particular strength is clear: at 2,940m above sea level, this is high. And high means cold. Nowadays, farmed beans can barely survive above 2,000m.

So this particular wild bean in front of us – yes, this dead-looking thing amid a jumble of other dead-looking things – is actually right at the evolutionary frontier of cold tolerance. If you’re a crop breeder concerned with developing better beans for smallholders around the world, that’s something akin to striking gold.

And here’s why: if you cross cold-tolerant wild beans with high-yielding, large-seeded types, you could produce beans for farmers in cooler climates. Or ones that can be grown at different times of the year. For a crop that’s already humanity’s most important source of vegetable protein, it’s a tantalizing prospect.

It also means a bean like this really ought to be conserved in a genebank somewhere. And fortunately, it is. Wild bean G40725 was collected back in 1987 on the same verge, by the same Daniel Debouck. Things were quite different then. He tells me that at one point he was bean hunting on the valley floor while overhead, government troops exchanged fire with rebels from the Shining Path.

Undeterred, he and his Peruvian colleague took plant samples to Lima’s National University of San Marcos and deposited the seeds at the genebank at the National Agrarian University – La Molina, also in Lima. In accordance with an agreement between CIAT and Peru’s Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria (INIA), duplicate seeds were conserved at CIAT’s genebank in Colombia, where Daniel continues to work. In 1988, he returned, searching for more wild beans.

Retracing his steps today – in a much more peaceful Peru – is a quest to see how resilient or simply lucky an ecological niche can be. A lot can happen in three decades: a wildfire could wipe it out; invasive plants might choke it off; humans might build a burger bar on it. Think Joni Mitchell.

And it’s more than a hypothetical risk. Daniel has collected wild beans in parts of Mexico that are now urban areas; their evolutionary journeys and all their genetic mysteries snuffed out by asphalt and bitumen. Fortunately, those seeds are safely conserved at the CIAT genebank. Others weren’t so lucky.

So why has this particular niche in Peru survived? Daniel notes that the rocky verge is unlikely to be developed for construction or farming. The absence of vegetation-clearing goats is a boon too. He’s happy to conclude that the niche is stable.

I ask how he knows where to look for these little nooks of leguminous delight.

“That’s my trick,” he replies with a grin.

But as we begin the search for wild bean number two, it becomes clear that he has, in fact, several tricks.

Daniel can read landscapes, picking up signals from nature. The presence of certain shrubs; soil type; proximity to water, all give little whispers that he’s tuned-in to. When the whispers converge into a chorus of clues, it’s just a matter of pulling over and having a look.

He’s honed this quasi-mystical ability during a career spent on the trail of wild beans. Rummaging through the undergrowth in 14 countries in the Americas, and usually wearing his signature cyan and magenta hat, he’s discovered 15 new species and deposited 3,270 new samples in the CIAT genebank.

These and others in the nearly 38,000-strong CIAT bean collection – the largest in the world – are freely shared with scientists around the globe under the United Nations’ International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

CIAT and its partners have already found plants that are tolerant to pests, diseases, drought and heat, and with higher levels of important minerals like iron and zinc. These have been used in crop breeding programmes to develop hardier, more nutritious beans that are now grown by millions of people in Africa and Latin America. More breakthroughs are likely too: one-fifth of the beans in the CIAT collection are yet to have their secrets unlocked. CIAT’s Future Seeds initiative hopes to move ahead with screening these.

Back on the treasure trail near Ollantaytambo, our luck continues.

We stop at a dusty roadside where the bean drumbeat drew Daniel almost 30 years ago. And after a bit of a scout around, there’s wild bean number two (G40711; another P. augusti), buried in another vegetative tangle but safe and well. Proximity to the town’s impressive Inca ruins seems to be its saviour: planning regulations prevent construction too close to the historic site.

This niche, he concludes, is also stable.

But further downhill, in the village of Puente Achaco, things aren’t looking so rosy for the final bean on our list – and the one we really want to find: wild common bean.

Work to dredge the Limatambo River had gutted the original collection site.

Daniel seems perturbed.

Once again, I scamper after him as he paces up and down a long stretch of road, rifling through hedgerows and staring into more tangles of weeds, at times almost sniffing the wind for beans.

I find myself urging his magical powers to pick up the scent.

He searches…

He seeks them here...

And searches…

He seeks them there...
Getting warmer, hopefully

And searches some more…

Danile reads the landscape...
...and then continues the search

Then, a few hundred meters downstream, the sandflies start to bite: we’re close.

We cross a bridge to an area which, in disconcertingly literal testament to the aforementioned Joni, had actually been turned into a car park. And there it is: a solitary common bean plant (G23454) hugging the gravelly perimeter.

Daniel is delighted.

He uncovers more plants up a nearby trail. Some of the pods show signs of damage by feeding birds, harkening back to what those early hunter-gatherers might have seen. He pops one open to reveal the small, shiny, patterned seeds.

A pod of a wild Phaseolus vulgaris plant (accession no. G23454)
The tiny seeds of wild Phaseolus vulgaris (G23454)

He can’t say what secrets they might contain – this is one of the beans that’s yet to be screened. But some kind of disease resistance is a possibility: surviving the constant attack for a few million years is a long time to be simply lucky. At the very least, the seeds from this fragile niche are safely conserved, thanks to the efforts of Daniel and INIA 30 years ago.

As we douse ourselves in repellent, I ask how he can be so sure that these beans are actually wild and not just escapees from nearby farms. Apart from visible clues like seed size, it’s ultimately about polymorphisms, he says. These are mutations in the beans’ DNA, like a genetic autobiography. They enable geneticists to read the moves and shakes in a bean’s long journey like a book.

Briefly mesmerized by the huge volume of history contained in the tiny seed in his palm, I ask a rhetorical question:

“Can we take it with us?”

“No; it stays here,” he replies, flicking the bean back into the undergrowth.

To collect seeds you need an official permit for each trip. And for good reason: the UN’s Plant Treaty recognizes that wild plants are a country’s intellectual property and that there is a risk of biopiracy. Permits are a requirement with which Daniel has always dogmatically complied.

But having spent a couple of days with him, I also knew that he was tipping the nod to something much more profound: the idea that this wild bean should be left to continue its evolutionary journey, whichever direction it may take.


The work of Daniel Debouck and his team at CIAT’s Genetic Resources Program, which runs the organisation’s genebank, has been possible thanks to funding from the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation (AGCD); Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ); The European Union; the Crop Trust; the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources; the International Union for Conservation of Nature; Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC); the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the United States Department of Agriculture, and the World Bank.

In addition, Daniel would like to personally thank his colleagues at INIA, for their years of support and friendship, and their important contributions to the conservation and study of wild beans in Peru. Specifically, the herbarium at the National University of San Marcos, Lima; the herbarium at the National Agrarian University – La Molina, Lima; and the Vargas Herbarium, Cusco.

* P.vulgaris is believed to have been domesticated twice; first in Peru, with a separate “domestication event” in Mexico a few thousand years later.

The codes G40725, G40771, and G23454 are accession numbers of the beans at the CIAT genebank. They are also identified respectively as populations #2312, #2313 and #2580.


Pics by Neil Palmer, except for the shot of Daniel Debouck in the 1980s, taken by CIAT’s Joe Tohme.

Many thanks to the Crop Trust for their inputs.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by CIAT and retrieved on 11/07/2017 and reposted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the original authors and publisher. We will not be held accountable for the reliability, accuracy, and validity of the published materials. If you need additional information about the contents and materials of the article, please contact the original authors and publisher. INDESEEM is an emerging nonprofit, research and development organization which seeks to enhance development partnerships in developing countries to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 and beyond. Please cite article accordingly. Thank You.








Climate services for smarter farming – what’s it all about?

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Dr. Julian Ramirez-Villegas, a Climate Impacts Scientist, at CIAT and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Photo by: Neil Palmer / CIAT

 | Oct 5, 2017


Over the last few years, CIAT, CCAFS and their partners* have been doing groundbreaking work to provide climate information to help farmers make smarter decisions. Having achieved success in Colombia and Honduras, now the team wants to take climate services to the rest of the world. Dr. Julian Ramirez-Villegas, a Climate Impacts Scientist, talked to us in-depth about what makes this a revolutionary approach that can enable farmers to thrive in a changing climate.

What is a climate service?

A climate service is basically the act of providing specific pieces of information about the climate in a systematic and sustained way to allow a user to make a decision. Climate affects crop productivity quite significantly. Globally, it’s been estimated that maybe a third of global crop production depends on climate. So you need to be able to understand what the climate effects are and be able to manage your crops.

So if you’re a farmer, accurate and reliable climate information is really important — it can help you make decisions about what crop to grow, which variety of that crop to plant, and when best to plant it.

Sustainably providing this kind of information in the right formats and means to farmers, extension agents, or other people that are helping farmers make decisions — that’s what constitutes a climate service.

Can you give a real-world example?

In parts of Casanare and Meta — departments in Colombia — where farmers grow rice or maize, there’s a single growing season, from around May to September. But during that season, you can have pretty unstable rainfall: It can rain a lot for a few days, but then it can stay dry for a few days. This uncertainty hinders crop productivity because it affects the growth of the crop significantly.

Also, the areas can experience relatively long dry spells, so if you’re a farmer, the ideal situation is to be really sure that there’s going to be rain for the few days after planting. If there isn’t, then the seed that you put in the soil won’t germinate, and all the seed that you purchased will go to waste.

So a valuable climate service in that particular case would involve providing reliable information about the most reliable time to plant.

How do you generate that information?

We’re used to forecasts on television giving us weather information for the next few days, and these help us take decisions in our daily lives. But farmers need reliable information over the course of months — seasonal climate forecasts as well as weather forecasts. Seasonal conditions are harder to predict. The new information technology tools and approaches enable us to generate reliable climatic predictions that farmers can trust.

Typically, we try to answer questions like: Are the next few months going to be wetter or dryer than normal? Or are they going to be around normal? And for that information, part of the process involves looking at weather records to try to construct possible seasonal predictions. We feed this information into crop models and use big data analytics, which allow us to calculate how a particular crop behaves under certain climatic conditions. The model will show us the likelihood of a crop performing well or poorly if planted at a particular time, or will tell us which varieties may perform best under the expected conditions. The models can be quite precise: They can tell you that if you plant your crop between the 15th and the 20th of May, for example, then you’re very likely to achieve the highest productivity.

How do the models account for the fact that climate change is also happening? Doesn’t it mean that the future won’t be like the past?

In our mathematical models, we include the long-term trend. However, in a general sense, we should always be reminded that “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” In some instances, when climate change leads to more extreme climatic conditions that have not been experienced in the past, the type of statistical models that we are using may not work well. But this is why it is very important to continuously and closely monitor local climatic conditions. This will allow us to identify where and when extreme conditions may be increasing, and make our models “learn” from these events, too.

Where do you get the historical climate information? Can you download it online or do you have to request it from the weather agency?

Many of the weather agencies we interact with are working toward having online systems where you can download directly, or make a request online. At the moment, we request it, and they’re happy to share it. Colombia has a policy for open meteorological data, which makes our work very effective and efficient there. We also recognize the hard work that IDEAM, the Colombian meteorological agency, puts into data collection, curation, and sharing.

We can typically get 15-30 years of climate information for a given location. In some cases, we can get up to 40 years. It depends on how long the meteorological agency has been recording the climate.

What kinds of recommendations do you provide to farmers?

For rice and maize, which are the two crops that we work on most in Colombia, the analysis tells you basically three things: firstly, whether a farmer in a particular locality should plant or not plant — because there might be a risk of crop failure; secondly, if the farmer should plant, then when they should do it; and thirdly, which crop variety they should plant, based on the likely seasonal climate.

There’s no standard set of recommendations. They are tailored depending on the climate predictions for that season, and on the local conditions and knowledge of technicians and farmers. Agronomy in a way is a kind of recipe, but you need to ensure you get the ingredients right for each situation.

How do you make sure this information gets to farmers?

We have a series of different delivery mechanisms, and when I say “we,” it’s actually not only CIAT, but also our partners in these countries.

We have been creating new tools and knowledge, but at the same time, we have been building the capacity of farmers’ organizations, to empower them and help them embrace this knowledge. We’re also working with teams of people who not only run models, but who also look at the climate conditions, and to interpret the outputs of models and convert that into advice for farmers.

We have also set up and been working through platforms called technical agroclimatic committees. These are roundtables of people from different institutions, including those within the meteorological service and different farmers’ organizations for different crops, so you have climate experts and farmers sitting together. The committees are able to issue the forecast as a joint output, along with recommendations for farmers in a given region. That comes typically in the form of a bulletin. Because these agroclimatic committees are local, they provide very specific information, and as such, they have been quite effective: Whoever comes to the meeting leaves with a clear set of recommendations and a clear idea of what might be coming weather-wise in the next few months. They then are able to share these with the farmers they work with.

What are some crucial elements to providing successful climate services?

First, providing a climate service is a two-way communication process with users. You need to talk to the users of the service, and you need to make sure that the information is tailored to the needs of those users.

Building the capacity of farmers organizations was crucial to our work in Colombia. The project we have there provided them with funding, which allowed them to hire people to develop tools with us. However, now they are themselves funding their teams, thus preserving the analytical capacity in-house, and being less dependent on external funding. Of course, external funding always helps to explore new topics and expand work, but the core capacity is now there.

With experts from IDEAM, farmer organizations, and other institutions, we also developed an online platform that automatically provides forecasts. With the help of farmers and technicians, we were able to make this much more tailored to users. It was a lot of work, but it increased the sense that they belong to the process. It empowered them and helped make the tool much more locally relevant and useful.

So you can see that providing climate services is the work of many people. Even inside CIAT, there are more than 30 people working on it. And outside CIAT, there are farmers’ organizations, secretaries or ministries of agriculture, meteorological service providers, and climate experts from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University. It’s in no small part thanks to IRI that we and our partners know what climate prediction tools exist and how to use them.

This work dates back a number of years, and it’s had many, many players without whom we could not have not pursued this.

So what makes climate services a unique proposition to farmers and for CIAT?

Before we started our first project in Colombia, under an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, a lot of people were aware of the importance of the climate but didn’t know what to do about it. After going to the field, we realized that Colombian farmers were planting based on what happened last year. So if I planted on the first of May last year and I got a good crop, then I’ll do the same this year. With the amount of climate variability that we have here in Colombia, particularly rainfall, that’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect that climate conditions are going to be exactly the same from one year to the other: At the extreme, you might have a La Niña cycle this year, so it’s very wet, and an El Niño cycle next year, meaning it’s hotter and drier. It just wouldn’t make sense to apply exactly the same strategy across time. There was clearly a gap for a service that would systematically provide information about what to do when certain climate conditions are coming.

CIAT, of course, has been working on climate change for a long time, and leads the CGIAR Research Program of Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS). We’re collaborating with, for example, IRI at Columbia University, to be able to build tools that can connect what climate scientists are producing to insights that are relevant to farmers. We’re also able to use our network of partners to reach farmers. And this is where we see our role and comparative advantage: in building that bridge to connect hardcore climate scientists with farmers in the field.

What are the challenges to providing climate services? How do you address them?

Right now, we’re working with farmers’ organizations, who are empowered with the tools; they provide information to thousands of farmers. But there are many farmers that don’t belong to any farmer organization. They are typically small-scale farmers who are difficult to reach by typical extension services or communication channels. Also, particularly in Latin America, there are many regions that don’t have government-sponsored extension services at all. That makes it more difficult to reach these farmers with climate information. Plus, they’re often the most vulnerable farmers.

In these cases, other communication channels should be used. For example, radio would be much more effective because it is particularly good at reaching those in remote areas. But then it’s not only about the mechanism; it’s also about what you are communicating. In many localities that we’ve worked in, people would say, “Yeah on the radio I get the forecast, I get the climate predictions, but if I live in the Cauca Valley and the forecast is for the Andean region, how is that going to be useful for me?” We need to make the forecasts locally relevant.

Radio is just one example. Text messages, or even TV, could also work. There’s one very interesting example in Rwanda. There, CIAT is in the process of establishing a system whereby you have a TV screen located in district agricultural offices, which constantly provides climate predictions that are tailored to agriculture in that locality. I thought that was quite a neat idea.

Another key challenge is improving the accuracy of the prediction models. You say, “OK, you’re making climate predictions, so you’re telling me what might happen in the next six months. Is that really accurate?” The analysis that we’ve done suggests that the predictions are accurate about 80 percent of the time. This is actually a really high success rate, but we need to find ways of making the predictions yet more accurate, if we want to reduce the climate risks associated with farming to a minimum.

Do you think 100 percent accuracy is possible?

No natural phenomenon is 100 percent predictable. But we can reach greater levels of accuracy with better models. This would require significant investment in research on climate prediction.

Not only that; in some cases, we’ve realized there’s also an issue of data quality. So in regions where data quality is poor or where you have very few weather stations, the climate is more challenging to predict.

What’s next for CIAT’s climate service work?

Some of the prediction methods and mathematical models that we’re using are of a lot of interest to CIAT and partners in Africa and in Asia. So we really want to improve knowledge exchange across regions. To do this, we need to ensure that everyone knows there is a climate service framework and that we’re able to fit projects into that framework. Next, we want to take full advantage of the tools that we have or that we’re developing, to reduce duplication and enhance integration.

We see of course the area of climate services growing as we go into the future. Right now, we’re working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to create a climate service suitability map. This map would take into account factors such as level of climate predictability, the difference between potential and actual yields in different regions, and the levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. It would show hot spots, where if you invest in climate services, you might be very effective at getting development outcomes. Once we get this work done, it should help USAID reorient its investment in its different priority countries.

So we expect a lot of growth, and I think so far we’re getting a lot of traction.

Would you say climate services is like the missing recipe to farming success?

Yes, though that’s not to say that it all works perfectly, but we’ve made enormous progress, and right now, we estimate that 300,000 farmers are receiving climate information as a result of our work. It’s a great start, but there’s a lot more to do.

CIAT wants to make this work truly global. We’ve proven that it works, that farmer organizations and farmers like and embrace it, and that it can save them money and boost productivity. Imagine if we could implement similar systems in sub-Saharan Africa or South East Asia — there are potentially millions and millions that could benefit.

* CIAT’s partners in providing climate services include the Colombian National Federation of Rice Growers (FEDEARROZ), Colombian Association for Fruits and Vegetables (ASOHOFRUCOL), the National Federation of Cereal and Grain Legume Growers (FENALCE), the National Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), National Directorate of Science and Technology, Honduras (DICTA),  Agronet, Local Technical Agro-climatic Committees (LTACs), the Permanent Committee for Contingencies (COPECO), and the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG). Funders include the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Climate Services for Resilience Development (CSRD) Program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by CIAT and retrieved on 10/5/2017 and reposted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the original authors and publisher. We will not be held accountable for the reliability, accuracy, and validity of the published materials. If you need additional information about the contents and materials of the article, please contact the original authors and publisher. INDESEEM is an emerging nonprofit, research and development organization which seeks to enhance development partnerships in developing countries to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 and beyond. Please cite article accordingly. Thank You.



Board of Directors & Staff Dinner

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You Are Invited!

Please come and celebrate our success by the signing of the bylaws of INDESEEM by the Board of Directors.


We look forward seeing you and hope you can confirm your attendance as soon as possible.


For Board Members and Staff who are not able to attend due to location, you are receiving this invite as a notice that this event is being held to celebrate our mutual and collaborative efforts.


For those attending you may bring an additional person with you.




Your host has added:





INDESEEM Welcomes Board Officers

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Members of the Board of Directors of INDESEEM, today, elected few officers of the Board who are charged with the authority to lead and govern the operations of the organization. The officers elected include President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Other officers yet to be elected shall include Vice President and Associate Vice President.

Members of the Board of Directors that were in elected as officers include:

Samuel Jacobs-AbbeyPresident, PhD., MBA., Woodbridge, Virginia, USA

DGPQ9492[1]Samuel is a Conflict Analyst and a Director of the International Centre for Conflict and Human Rights Analysis (ICCHRA). He is founder and CEO of Health Wings LLC. Samuel has a background in International Humanitarian Law with in-depth knowledge and extensive study in Conflict Management and Peace Building processes. He became involved in several international projects from which he learned firsthand that other cultures also struggle with how best to resolve differences and conflict in a mutually beneficial way. After much experience in his career as a Conflict Analyst, he served with United Nations missions in several parts of the world and then worked with the West Africa Youth Network as its liaison officer to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and then worked for several years as a peace trainer, conflict analyst, human rights activist, social entrepreneur and social change activist in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Far East and South America.

In August 2005 he was made an Honorary Peace Ambassador by the Apeadu Peace Centre at a ceremony witnessed by Audrey Kitagawa, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children associated with armed conflict.

In 2007, he was awarded International Human Rights Hero by Artists for Human Rights at a ceremony held in Los Angeles, which was witnessed by high profile United Nations staff. He recently graduated with a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Kaplan University and is a member of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Samuel became a member of the Board of Directors of INDESEEM in 2017 and was elected President of the Board of Directors in September 2017.


Mr. Anthony OduroVice President, MBA, MA, & Msc., Worcester, Massachusetts, USA


Anthony OdiAnthony recently received his MBA from Clark University and a Master of Arts in Community Development & Planning. Prior to his academic works at Clark, he earned a Master of Science in Development & Innovation from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands as well as a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University Cape Coast, Ghana. He currently works in Milford at the Commercial Credit Analyst at the Milford Federal Savings and Loans Association.

I have known Anthony for over 6 years and we shared similar interests in development, agronomy, and food security in developing countries. Having Anthony as a member of the Board will further our goal within the nonprofit sector. Anthony is originally from Ghana. Anthony became a member of the Board of Directors of 2017 and was elected Vice President of the Board of Directors in September 2017.


Mr. Afrifa MensahAssociate Vice President/Treasurer, BS, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

IMG_5208[1]Afrifa is originally from Kumasi Ghana and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development. He is the Founder of Afrimens Academy – an educational nonprofit organization based in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

The vision of his organization is to provide quality education to rural communities in Ghana with a specific focus on math, science, technology, and cultural studies. Afrifa is currently in Ghana to ensure that the building of the school is completed as scheduled. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.



Jenkins Macedo, Secretary, Dual Bsc., MA., Msc., Westborough, MA, USA

IMG_20140106_113418Macedo holds a Master of Arts degree in International Development and Social Change and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts in the United States of America. He holds a double Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Geography with Concentrations in Environmental Studies and Forced Migration from Worcester State University.

His research interests include climate-smart agriculture, forced migration and refugees, environment, climate change, global food security, youth development, cultural exchange, and creative arts. He has conducted field research projects in the United States of America, Ghana, Lao PDR, Indonesia, and Liberia. He has written and contributed to several publications and presented at major conferences in the United States, Canada, France, Laos, and Ghana.

Macedo has over 10 years of combined professional experience working with various institutions and agencies including Children’s Aid Direct UK (CAD), European Economic Community (EEC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), RESPECT International & RESPECT Ghana, Unite for Sight, Regional Environment Council (REC), Commonwealth Corporation (CommonCorps), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Road Scholar. He’s a member of several professional organizations including the Project Management Institute, Association of American Geographers, American Sociological Association, and the International Geographic Honor Society. Macedo started INDESEEM in 2014 while in Laos. You may access his full curriculum vitae at CV.










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The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camps in Developing Countries

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The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camps in Developing Countries

Listen to the Be Inspired Podcast Network with Samuel Jacob-Abbey as he interviews with Jenkins Macedo

Much of the literature on refugee warehousing and their impacts on the host country’s environment assumes that refugees are exceptional resource degraders. The dominant conceptualization of refugees’ impacts on the host country’s environment treats refugees as actors with destructive behaviors rather than seeing the degradation as a result of inappropriate government policies, inefficient humanitarian assistance, and the lack of an effective plan by host countries to foster a durable solution.

Join me on Be Inspired Podcast Network Sat. Sept 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm EST or 7:30 pm GMT to discuss “*The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camp in developing Countries.*” with Jenkins Macedo, Int’l Dir, INDESEEM . Tune in at or Kindly send your questions/ comments ahead on whatsapp/SMS: 5713379185. Stay Connected!! Be inspired!! Be Unique!! & Be Different!!!


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