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Promoting sustainable irrigation technologies: a water-energy-food (WEF) nexus perspective towards reducing climate risk from small farmers in high climate risk in the municipalities of Rabinal, and San Miguel Chicaj in the Dry Corridor of Baja Verapaz

The Dry Corridor (Corredor Seco) of Guatemala, spanning from the Pacific coast to the northern region, is characterized by prolonged periods of absence of rain, leading to consequential droughts, as well as intermittent episodes of excessive rainfall. This hydroclimatic scenario poses a significant threat to the agricultural and livestock production model in the region, with direct and indirect repercussions on nutrition, human well-being, and health. The adverse effects include diminished agricultural output and challenges in accessing clean, sustainable water, sanitation, and energy, amplifying concerns for the community.

In recent years, the region has faced extended periods of drought, exacerbating the strain on already limited water resources and compounding the impact on the local population. Addressing these challenges becomes paramount to safeguarding the livelihoods and overall resilience of the communities within the Dry Corridor.

CTCN Support

The objective of this technical assistance is to establish suitable systems and business models for the deployment of Photovoltaic Solar Irrigation Systems (SPIS), specifically targeting small farmers and women in the dry corridor of Guatemala. The technical assistance will encompass a comprehensive approach, including the development of SPIS, comparative evaluations of existing technologies, sensor irrigation, irrigation planning, and satellite observation.

The scope of the technical assistance extends to conducting a thorough cost-benefit and social analysis of the selected technologies. Additionally, the initiative aims to design viable business models that contribute to the development of local value chains. The overarching goal is not only to introduce SPIS but also to update the national policy framework, ensuring its assimilation and widespread use while fostering technological expansion.

Anticipated outcomes of this initiative include:

  • Evaluate current irrigation practices and validate appropriate technological options tailored for small farmers, culminating in the design of suitable irrigation business models.
  • Promote well-coordinated and integrated planning and management of a water-energy-food model to enhance resilience systems. This involves interventions to improve sustainability within the nexus of water, energy, and food.
  • Provide training for smallholder farmers in the integrated management of water resources, sustainable agricultural practices, and the incorporation of renewable energy. The aim is to enhance energy efficiency and implement water supply technologies that safeguard livelihoods.

Expected Impact

The implementation of Solar Photovoltaic Irrigation Systems (SPIS) and innovative digital solutions in the agricultural practices of Rabinal and San Miguel de Chinaj is anticipated to yield a transformative impact on the resilience of small farmers, particularly focusing on empowering women in these municipalities. By embracing technological adaptations, this initiative aims to fortify the agricultural landscape against environmental challenges and resource constraints.

The anticipated outcomes include enhanced water efficiency through the integration of SPIS, which not only mitigates the impact of water scarcity but also fosters sustainable farming practices. Empowering small-scale farmers, particularly women, with digital solutions is expected to provide them with access to vital information, market insights, and financial resources. This, in turn, can contribute to improved decision-making, increased productivity, and expanded market opportunities.

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