In a country where much of the economy is based on small scale agriculture, and rural areas are dominated by extreme poverty, balancing growth with climate mitigation and adaptation is key to achieve sustainable development.
In new proposal on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) in Honduras, UNEP DTU points to practices that can ensure growth in the Honduran livestock sector, while at the same time turning the sector in to a carbon sink.
The majority of the Honduran population live below the poverty line, with a higher concentration in rural areas, where agriculture is the main source of income, and where natural resources is an indispensable condition for people’s survival.
The introduction of sustainable practices will result in a better management of natural resources, making growth without adverse environmental effects possible while contributing to reforestation and adaptation to climate change.
Poverty, food and climate
Implementation of the NAMA developed is expected to increase the productivity, while ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, limiting soil degradation and improving resilience to climate change. This will result in increased income-earning opportunities and assist in poverty reduction in the rural areas, where poverty is concentrated. The actions outlined in the NAMA would also help strengthen national institutions, as well as favour community collaboration, creating stronger social links.
The NAMA is in line with national development policies and strategies, and will contribute to national policies on reforestation, poverty reduction, food security and to the Nationally Determined Contributions of Honduras to the Paris Agreement.
In terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the NAMA will contribute to drastically changing the sector’s current development path, which is characterized by increasing emissions, towards reversing this trend in the direction of becoming a GHG sink over time.
As a result of broad stakeholder consultations with local producers and national institutions with the relevant mandates on climate change and agriculture, as well as national and local institutions engaged in capacity-building in the livestock sector, the following NAMA livestock practices were identified.
1. Implementation of silvopastoral systems, including rotation and division of pastures
2. Implementation of biodigesters
3. Production and application of organic fertilizers (composting and biofertilizers)
4. Production and application of nutritional blocks
Implementation of these practices will contribute to net emissions reductions by decreasing GHG emissions per animal head, decreasing the amount of nitrogen and carbonates applied to pastures and other forage systems, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable biomass for cooking and lighting, and increasing carbon stocks in woody biomass and soil carbon. Together with increased sequestration, this will result in a reduction of the current GHG emissions from the livestock sector.
The NAMA was developed by UNEP DTU and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE) in close coordination with the Directorate of Agricultural Science and Technology (DICTA), the Secretariat of Energy, Natural Resources, Environments and Mines (MiAmbiente), the National Directorate on Climate Change of the Ministry of Environment, and the Secretariat for Agriculture and Livestock.
As well as cooperating with national entities, the NAMA proposal was developed through several workshops with livestock producers and discussions with their national representatives as well as field visits, to ensure that the priorities of rural producers are represented.
Support for NAMA development has been provided by the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF).
An important sector with potential
The livestock sector is one of the main activities in the Honduran rural economy, but at the same time one of the largest contributors to GHG emissions in the country. Current practices are contributing to the degradation of land and deforestation, eroding the conditions that enable efficient livestock production to continue.
Climate change projections show that Honduras is expected to have the highest aridity in the Central American region, potentially leading to severe adverse impacts on the productivity of the livestock sector. It is therefore urgent to identify good practices that promote adaptation and mitigation to climate change.
The livestock sector has great potential to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks, while allowing increased intensification of livestock production and greater efficiency on the part of farms. Following the NAMA proposal, the sector can contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the implementation of national development policies.