Climatesmart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to developing policy,technical and investment conditions to acquire sustainable agricultural growthfor food security under varying climatic conditions.
Farmers with small landholdings following traditional methods of agriculture without considering theaspect of climate change are now benefiting from CSA as there is very littlerisk by practicing it. CSA brings together practices, institutions and policiesthat are not new but in the context of climate change these practices,institutions and policies are unfamiliar to farmers.Thispaper analyses CSA in Guatemala, which was ranked 9th among countries mostaffected by extreme climate events in the past two decades.Themain aim of this study is to assess the costs and benefits of climate-smartagriculture in Guatemala.Themethod used in assessing the climate-smart agriculture in Guatemala includes:Literaturereview on practices used in CSA with respect to their costs and benefits andLiterature review on crops used in CSA with respect to their costs andbenefits.Concerningobtaining secondary data sources using the literature review on practices inCSA, the following practices employed in CSA will be considered based on theircosts and benefits: Mulching, Crop rotation, Contour farming, Water reservoir/ponds + drip irrigation.Thesepractices will be explained in detail in the subsequent sections.
Concerningobtaining secondary data sources using literature review on crops used in CSA, cost-benefitanalyses of the following crops will be considered: Heat-tolerant maize variety,Pest-tolerant bean variety.MULCHING: it is a CSA practice carried out by applying a layer of material on thesurface of soil. The materials used as mulchcould be dead plant materials or polythene materials. Mulching is veryimportant in CSA for the following reasons: it helps in conserving soilmoisture (by preventing evaporation), improving fertility and health of thesoil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area. Thetypes of mulching materials used in Guatemala are polyethylene- black mulch, polyethylene-SRM red mulch, mana grass and Guatemala grass.
The mulch applied covers thesoil surface and thus does not leave the soil bare, consequently preventingsoil erosion. Finally, when mulch made of plant material decomposes, additionalnutrients are added to the soil. Carrying out cost and benefits (CBA) onmulching as a CSA practice, the following can be outlined as part of the costwhen mulching is employed: cost for equipment and machinery that would be usedfor making the mulch, cost for labour and cost for polythene materials whenpolythene are used as mulching materials. In addition, when mulch is applied, seeds remain dormant and if theywill even germinate, they take much longer time.Regardingthe benefits associated application of mulching, the following can be outlined:it increases crop yield by helping conserving soil moisture consequently makingsoil water available to crops. Mulch made of plant materials decompose and add additionalnutrients to the soil thereby improving fertility and health of the soil.
Mulching reduces weed growth and thereby reducing the amount of money needed toclear weeds in terms of applying weedicides or using mechanical methods. The mulch applied covers the soil surface andthus do not leave the soil bear, consequently preventing soil erosion. Thisimplies that no new land is necessary needed to be sought after for the nextgrowing season since the previous soil’s properties are kept intact. CROP ROTATION: it is the practice of growing a series ofdifferent types of crops on the same piece of land by alternating them indifferent sequential growing seasons. The original land on which crop rotationis applied could be a fertile land or non-fertile. In Guatemala, Farms are veryvulnerable to erosion and often are steep or rocky.
On average, the size of afarm ranges from .2 to 1.5 hectares. This affects the size of plots because ifyou do not have enriched soils it is hard to produce quality goods. As thefarms are often steep or rocky, only a small portion of land is available, thissmall portion of land is thus used for crop rotation.Forexample, when we cultivate leguminous crops in one growing season on a piece ofland, the green leaves together with the other wastes are ploughed into thesoil after the growing season and thus replenishing the fertility of the soilback into it. In the next growing season, a different crop like maize can becultivated on this same land which has gained its fertility and the rotationcan continue.
Crop rotation often uses a leguminous crop together with othernon-leguminous in alternation in the growing seasons. Carryingout CBA on this practice, the cost involved in this practice would be: Equipmentused for ploughing the legumes into the soil, cost of fuel that would be boughtfor operating the ploughing machine and the other mechanization process, labourcost is also factored, time consumed for the ploughing process.Thebenefits involved in this practice would be: Yield will be twice when manure isapplied, crop rotation maintains the soil nutrients, it also helps in improvingthe soil stability, it prevents soil erosion because the land is always coveredwith some crops, availability of cheap organic manure since after harvestingthe legume the wastes is ploughed back into the soil as free organic source.CONTOUR FARMING: This is a type ofCSA practise, where undulating parts of a land, especially on hilly andmountainous areas are ploughed across the slope of the mountains for thepurposes of conserving rainwater and also to reduce soil erosion that mightotherwise have occurred. These are done by means of making furrows, crop rows,and wheel tracks across slopes.
The furrows made in the contours act as basinsfor storing water consequently allowing the water to percolate into the soiland helping with CSA. Contour farming has been practiced usually in places where water isscarce and thus irrigation farming is important. Contour farming is used as anessential part of erosion control. In Guatemala this practice is a boon asthere is scarcity of water and the farm lands are prone to erosion as they arerocky and steep.
Carrying out CBA on this practice, the cost involved in thispractice would be: Equipment used for contouring and to make furrows, labourcost for making the contours, time consumed for making the contours, fuel to beconsumed when making the contours. Thebenefits involved in this practice would be: Prevention of soil erosion, retentionof soil water, it increases water infiltration into the soil and also helps inslowing the water flow from the top of the mountain to the bottom.WATER RESERVOIR/ PONDS + DRIP IRRIGATION: Water reservoir could be explained as an enlarged natural orartificial area created specially as a storage pond or impoundment tostore water.
Water reservoirs can be created bydamming a stream that drains from an existing water body. InGuatemala, the use of low pressure drip irrigation systems and rain waterharvesters by impoverished farmers are being evaluated. Water reservoir canalso be created by digging a large hole for collecting rainwater that will fallto the ground. This is usually done in arid regions and consequently, waterreservoirs are important for CSA. Drip irrigation involves dispensing water tothe crops using drip tubes.
Drip irrigation ensures that the crop gets exactlythe amount of water needed for growth and yield and thus avoids wastage ofwater which could just be sprinkled on the land to dry up without serving anypurpose to the crop.Combiningwater reservoir and drip irrigation in CSA will ensure that the minimal wateravailable is efficiently and effectively used to ensure maximum yield.Carrying out CBAon this practice, the cost involved in this practice would be:Equipment used forexcavating the soil, equipment needed to line the excavated pit, labour costfor making the excavations, time consumed for making the excavations, fuel tobe consumed when making the excavations, cost for the drip tubes and drip tips.The benefitsinvolved in this practice would be: It ensures continuous water supply to thecrops throughout the season and also sees to that exactly the right amount ofwater is supplied to the crop, it avoids wastage of water, it ensurescontinuous yield of crops throughout the year.
HEAT AND WATERSTRESS-TOLERANT MAIZE VARIETY, PEST AND DISEASE-TOLERANT BEAN VARIETY: Twocommon indicators of CBA is Net present value (NPV) and Internal rate of return(IRR). The IRR is defined as the discount rate (in this case 12%) which makesNPV equal to zero.The payback period (PP) also plays animportant role for CBA of climate smart agricultural practices.
Payback periodrefers to the time needed to repay the initial investment (which includesmaterial, labour and installation costs). The payback period should begenerally within 1 to 2 years considering minimal financial risks for smallproducers. The costs for adapting both the maize and bean variety includeinstallation costs and maintenance costs which includes both labour andmaterial costs. The benefit is discussed in the next section. HEAT AND WATERSTRESS-TOLERANT MAIZE VARIETY: ICTA (ICTA- Instituto de Ciencia y TecnologíaAgrícolas Institute of agricultural science and technology) B-7 a local maizevariety tolerant to heat and limited water scarcity was introduced. The benefitof Heat and water stress-tolerant maize variety is that the payback period is 2years and is highly pro?table in the conditions of the Dry Corridor inGuatemala as the entire distribution of the Internal Rate of Return lies overthe value of 12%. As a matter of fact, there is a 90% probability of getting anIRR greater than 122%.
PEST AND DISEASE-TOLERANTBEAN VARIETY: ICTA Ligero bean variety with tolerance toBean Golden Mosaic Virus was introduced. The benefit of pest anddisease-tolerant bean variety is that the payback period is 1 year and ishighly cost-effective practice when high frequency of pest occurs. In addition,subsequent yield losses and low cost implication for changing bean variety isavoided. The entire distribution of the Internal Rate of Return lies over the12% value.
As a matter of fact, there is a 90% probability of getting an IRRmore than 600%. Thus, both varietieshave benefits in CSA practice when compared to the conventional varieties ofmaize and bean. These imply ICTA Ligero Pest and disease tolerant bean varietyemerges as the stronger choice for the farmers in the region, even preferred tothe maize. CONCLUSION: Cost benefit analysis is a tool that can be usedto assess the profitability of different CSA practices.
For majority of policy makers, most decisionsfor investing andpromotion of most agricultural practices are based on two issues: whether theagricultural practice to be promoted will be beneficial to farmers in the CSA –as this largely determines its implementation potential and adoption andwhether society will benefit from adoption and implementation of such CSA practices.In such scenarios CBA plays an important role as it can evaluate investmentoptions. Thus, Cost benefitanalysis is one platform for assessing the risks, economic profitability andimpacts associated with private benefits as well as externalities associatedwith climate smart agriculture practice and choice of planting materials.