Huancayo, Nov 29 (EFE).- Rains that arrive months late, unexpected hailstorms, and high temperatures for several months have had negative impacts on Peruvian farmers and livestock breeders in high Andean communities.
These difficult conditions have forced them to alter their traditional crop calendar and challenge their worldview to survive.
In an interview with EFE, Luis Romero, Save the Children’s national advisor on disaster risk management and climate change in Peru, said, “Climate change is undoubtedly causing such rapid alterations in weather patterns that crop and livestock farming processes are undergoing abrupt changes as a result.”
In Junín, 3.500 meters above sea level, a department of central Peru, farmers and ranchers are worried about the uncertainty of the weather, causing more damage than they realize.
Last year, the inhabitants of the Apata’s District experienced an extreme drought that led to a 50% reduction in their potato harvest and inflicted serious harm on their fragile economy.
According to Romero, Apata’s District was officially declared a disaster area due to heavy rains typical of the season, but a drought declaration came shortly after.
Another example of such sudden changes occurred a few months ago. When the weather forecast failed to predict rain, farming families decided to fumigate, and unexpected storm hit, and washed away all the insecticide that had not yet penetrated the soil.
The rain not only caused a financial loss but also destroyed much of the crop.
“These changes have prompted farmers to rethink their views on climate change and its impact on their livelihoods,” says Romero, adding that Save the Children is working with communities to develop a guideline to understand these new processes.
He pointed out that altering the established patterns of these communities, under which they have always operated, “constitutes a challenge.”
Additionally, the absence of internet and information access in these high Andean communities also poses a difficulty.
“It is the way individuals learn, we work that way, we learn throughout our lives, capitalizing on our knowledge and implementing it consistently. This change requires support, but it shouldn’t be limited to external or technical information but should focus on the construction of meaningful experiences,” he explains.
Nonetheless, he says that working with children in schools “has an advantage”: “They can participate in the same activities as their parents, facilitating a transgenerational shift in information approaches, which is crucial.”
He explained that they are developing programs that focus on anticipatory action to engage future generations, which involve educating children about climate dynamics and the challenges they pose so that they are equipped to make informed decisions as adults.
The director of Descocentro, Alliance for Research and Conservation in the Amazon, Angela Dionisio, suggests that changing the calendar acts as an adaptation mechanism, requiring families to record changes, gather information, and modify planting or harvesting schedules.
Although she admits that this is not enough to prevent these phenomena from affecting small farming communities, it would be an important tool, for example, to strengthen seeds and soils so that they are more resistant to extreme weather events.
In addition, it is equally vital to optimize water resources through innovative technologies and revitalize traditional practices, including water collection and the utilization of “qochas” – reservoirs found in high altitude Andean sub-basins.