Developing Participatory Agro-Climate Advisories for Integrated and Agroforestry Systems


Southeast Asian farmers face numerous slow and fast-onset natural hazards that have
negative impacts on their livelihoods, and consequently risk slowing their ability to adapt to
changing climate patterns. Meanwhile they are also tasked to implement farming practices
that help mitigating climate change. One key activity could help farmers’ decisions in
addressing both challenges: better tailored seasonal weather forecasts combined with
participatory development of climate-smart agricultural advice.
The Agro-Climate Information Services for Women and Ethnic Minority Farmers in Southeast
Asia project (ACIS) addresses farmers’ demand for more actionable climate services in Viet
Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia. Although generally perceived as climate-smart practices,
integrated and agroforestry systems are rare in advisories, nor as a strategy to adapt to
natural disasters and climate variability. To address this gap, we demonstrate how farmers
are involved in co-producing such information, using the example of My Loi, a ‘climatesmart
village’ in Northcentral Viet Nam. The documentation consists of logbooks and notes
from three participatory scenario planning meetings, the development of advisories, and
in-depth interviews conducted between 2016 and 2018. In short, the timing and content
of forecasts and advisories need to be decided with farmers. Regularly updated forecasts
over various periods were important for agroforestry systems. Farmers needed information
about limiting weather conditions, not the average. When forecasts were uncertain,
diversification of species often also meant diversification of risk. Social learning helped
farmers observe and document recommendations to build checklists for how to combine
trees and crops to minimize negative weather-related impacts.