Empowering Cacao Farmers with Climate Literacy in Northern Peru

by | Jul 8, 2023

Climate change is a pressing global issue that affects various sectors, including agriculture.

In the vulnerable and impoverished regions of northern Peru, cacao farmers and their families face the brunt of climate change’s impact.

Recognizing the need for climate literacy in these communities, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT has commissioned the Captain Polo Climate Academy to provide education and support to these farmers, local school teachers, and students. Join us on this incredible journey as we work towards sustainable, climate-smart agriculture in northern Peru! The project fits within the Project CLima Loca, funded by the EU Desira programme.

An Exploratory Trip

In June 2023, the Captain Polo Climate Academy expanded its horizons beyond local school projects. I embarked on an adventurous overland journey from Ecuador, using a combination of rickety taxis and even crossing the river border on foot. One particular taxi ride was quite memorable, with gas bottles clattering in the trunk, no seat belts in use, and a daring speed of 140 km/h on a single lane highway.cacao school

Cacao: A regional treasure

Northern Peru and southern Ecuador are renowned for producing some of the world’s finest chocolate, thanks to their exceptional cacao. Farmers in this region have embraced organic production methods to access certified cacao markets around the globe. Unfortunately, they face severe challenges due to extreme climate events such as prolonged droughts and devastating floods caused by phenomena like El Niño.

Climate Confusion and the Importance of Education

During my interactions with the farmers, it became evident that they lacked awareness and knowledge about climate change. The absence of climate education in local schools exacerbates this issue, despite Peru being a signatory of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The Alliance has recognized this gap and seeks to empower cacao producers, teachers, and school children with climate literacy through the Captain Polo Academy.


The Role of Captain Polo and Friends – empowering cacao producers

The outreach efforts led by local technicians from the Alliance and various other institutions focus on climate adaptation and promotion of climate-smart agriculture. By integrating climate-resilient practices, cacao producers can not only enhance their own resilience but also contribute to mitigating climate change. The trick is explaining all this in an engaging manner and to different age ranges – that’s where Captain Polo comes in! Through a range of engaging climate education materials, capacity building workshops, and interactive sessions, Captain Polo aims to impart knowledge and inspire positive action among the cacao producers and local schools. Additionally, a new cartoon character depicting the bird Furnarius leucopus, the northern cousin of the charismatic house-building Rufous Hornero, will be introduced to further enhance the educational materials with a local touch.


Exciting Times Ahead!

As the project unfolds, we will keep you updated on our progress and share stories from the local communities. The Captain Polo Climate Academy is determined to bring climate literacy to vulnerable regions and foster sustainable productive practices among cacao farmers. Together, we can create a more resilient future, where agriculture and climate coexist harmoniously.

Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting project! Join us as we embark on this journey to empower cacao farmers, teachers, and students with climate literacy, one step at a time.

Remember, with knowledge comes resilience, and with resilience comes the power to combat climate change!

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