Project : Agriculture, Vulnerability and Adaptation (AVA) - A methodology for measuring the vulnerability of the agriculture sector


Project : Agriculture, Vulnerability and Adaptation (AVA) - A methodology for measuring the vulnerability of the agriculture sector

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Project detail:
Status: Completed

Approximately 26% of Colombians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture to survive. Among this population, 62.1% live in poverty. Agriculture constitutes approximately 14% of GDP. However, the phenomenon of “La Niña” has reduced productivity in the rural economy, causing losses across more than 200,000 hectares of crops, a proliferation of pests and the destruction of agricultural infrastructure. (see here) The Upper Basin of the Cauca River is one of the regions most affected by this phenomenon. It is estimated that the costs associated with climate change in the Andean region in 2025 will be about $30 million per year (SGCAN, 2008). Climate change will also lead to changes in the location and type of crops, as well as population displacement in rural areas, among other effects.


Economic sectors that plan and prepare for climate change will be more competitive. Taking present measures to prepare and adapt to a changing climate is much more cost effective than waiting to execute emergency measures. Additionally, adaptive measures can offer a range of opportunities and possibilities for growth. The agricultural sector is no exception to this assertion. It is imperative to incorporate climate change in decision-making and planning in any consideration of development and rural poverty reduction. Risk assessment and adaptation to climate change is crucial in the design and implementation of agricultural policies.


The objective of the project was to promote the technical and scientific conditions necessary to assure the adaptability and longevity of the most important agricultural value chains in the upper basin of the Cauca River, based on short, medium and long term climate forecasts.

Specific Objectives

  • To develop indicators and methodology to analyse the vulnerability of the agricultural sector in the Upper Basin of the Cauca River through participatory activities involving institutions, trade associations and communities.
  • To carry out a study of climate vulnerability in the primary agricultural sub-sectors in the region.
  • To share and discuss findings with local regional and national actors involved in order to generate recommendations for public policies.
  • To generate a list of lessons about the process that may be used in other analyses of vulnerability including the National Adaptation Plan for the agricultural sector headed by the National Planning Department.

Principal outcomes

  • Outcome 1: Analysis of vulnerability of agricultural sector in the Upper Basin of the Cauca River.
  • Outcome 2: Synthesis of the principal results of the vulnerability analysis.
  • Outcome 3: Online platform  
  • Other outcomes: Policy Recommendations; Lessons Learned document.


  • Direct Beneficiaries: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Planning Department, Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the IDEAM, municipalities in the department covered in the study and primary agricultural associations.
  • Indirect Beneficiaries: Rural communities and ethnic minorities, academics and research organisations.

Project funding: £281,528

Country: Colombia

Executing agencies: University of Cauca, CIAT, University of Caldas and Cenicafé.


Final products of the project (in Spanish):