Rainfall variability, food insecurity and migration in Cabricán, Guatemala

Andrea Milana, Sergio Ruanob
Taylor & Francis
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This article presents data and insights on rainfall variability, food insecurity and migration in four rural mountain communities in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. In mountain areas, climatic patterns and impacts change over short distances and no meteorological station is located within the range of a few kilometres from the selected communities. Therefore, rainfall patterns and impacts were investigated with local communities in a participatory way. Rainfall is crucial for local livelihoods because their most important source of food is the yearly harvest of a rain-fed corn-based crop sub-system called milpa. The great majority of survey respondents and participants in the participatory research approach sessions believe that climatic conditions have worsened in the last 20 years and are affecting their food production. They also remarked that the profitability of in situdiversification options is decreasing and associated with decreasing migration opportunities. These trends expose local populations to the risk of becoming trapped in the near future in a place where they are extremely vulnerable to climate change. In fact, no long-term risk-management and livelihood diversification strategy, including ex situstrategies, seems to be sustainable for people in the study area.

Taylor & Francis

DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2013.857589