The effect of climate change on quinoa production in the Bolivian Altiplano and improving the adaptive capacity of the farmers
Climate change is likely to pose the already arid conditions in the Bolivian Altiplano with frequent and drastic droughts in the future. Quinoa production in the region employs most of the Altiplano population, making the crop a valuable part of household income and consumption. Quinoa is a primary food source in Altiplano, but the consumption customs are strongly affected by the market power and price fluctuations of the crop. Despite generally being a tolerant crop, increased extreme weather events and intensified climatic conditions can increase the vulnerability of quinoa production in the future. Many farmers in the quinoa producing communities in southern Altiplano had reported from loss of production due to climate shocks, greatly affecting the household income of the farmers. Furthermore, unsustainable production methods in the region have made the production more vulnerable to climate change. The ability of the farmers to adapt to climate change appears limited due to inadequate resources available at community level. Improving financial, technological and political resources is required, as well as making information and communication available about the risks of climate change. Existing barriers constraining adaptation need to be removed and sufficient distribution of resources ensured across scales down to the community level to sustain successful adaptation in the future. A 6-step Policy Recommendation is presented to address the risk and vulnerability of quinoa producers in Altiplano under future climate change, and to provide recommendations to improve the adaptive capacity of the farmers, by focusing more on bottom-up and anticipatory adaptation measures.