Colombian farmers announced part of an emergency plan to prepare for El Niño, a weather phenomenon that raises temperatures, increasing the likelihood of droughts and forest fires, threatening the country’s food supply, reported Radio Caracol Tuesday.
According to president of the Agricultural Society of Colombia (ASC), Rafael Mejia, the organization is preparing lines of credit especially for farmers to allow them to purchase the necessary equipment to face possible droughts in the country.
Mejia added that the summer could mean serious economic losses for the farming sector. According to the ASC, all crops are vulnerable to El Niño’s adverse effects, but bread products are the most likely to take the first hit.
The regions that could be impacted most strongly this summer are the Atlantic Coast, the Andes, the coffee triangle in central Colombia and the Llanos Orientales in the Eastern Plains.
El Niño is not definitely going to occur in the country, as Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies claims there is only a 50% chance of an episode occurring.
Mejia estimated that in the event of an episode, food inflation could reach between 4% and 4.5% by the close of the year
The El Niño phenomenon refers to a climate pattern that typically affects the central and eastern Pacific region every five years. Changes to the atmosphere near Colombia include unusually high sea temperatures, increased cloudiness and weaker than normal easterly trade winds.
Several of Colombia’s neighbors, such as the United Sates, Ecuador and Peru, are also developing plans for changing weather patterns.