Agriculture, being one of the most significant economic activities in the Andes Mountains, is particularly important to those living there but also to the wider economy. However, it is one of the human activities most affected by climate change. The agricultural industry increases in significance from north to south in Andean countries, from 4 per cent of GDP in Venezuela to 13 per cent in Bolivia (World Bank, 2013). This is also generally the case for the degree of employment in agriculture, from 8 per cent in Venezuela to 32 per cent in Bolivia. Precipitation and water flow changes will have significant effects on irrigation across the region. In the Bolivian mountains and Altiplano, the increased concentration of the rainy season has already affected farmers (Boillat and Berkes, 2013). Farmers have shifted their crops to fast-growing vegetables relying more on artificial irrigation. This puts pressure on water flow, which is eventually shared with communities in the lowlands. Many rural farming communities are significantly affected by national and international migration. Young men disproportionally migrate in search of employment and opportunities elsewhere. This leaves responsibilities for agriculture in the mountains in the hands of women, children and the elderly. The fact that women generally have less access to adaptation options is therefore particularly problematic for many mountain communities.
From collection: Outlook on climate change adaptation in the Tropical Andes mountains
GRID-Arendal and Cartografare il Presente/Riccardo Pravettoni