CIAT Annual Report 2018

Latin America and the Caribbean

Alliances: a powerful connection

Alliances play a crucial role in implementing and scaling up CIAT’s research findings and innovations. In Latin America and the Caribbean, collaboration with NGOs, governments, multilateral organizations, and international financial institutions led to many success stories in 2018.

Projects with Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador, Swisscontact in Honduras, and Heifer International in multiple countries in the region, was crucial to large-scale development projects including the “Raíces” project in El Salvador and “Oportunidades Rurales” in Honduras.  

Member states of the Central American Integration System (or SICA for its Spanish acronym) used a CIAT digital platform for water resource management to improve climate information for agriculture, most notably in Honduras and Guatemala. In Honduras, the Institute for Forest Conservation began using CIAT-developed Terra-i to monitor forest conservation and loss, and agricultural performance. Terra-i was tested in Colombia with the Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC), the regional environmental authority where CIAT headquarters is located. 

CIAT continued working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to design policies related to climate change and agriculture in the region. This included participation in the Week of Agriculture and Food and Green Climate Fund projects in Guyana and Nicaragua. 

Partnerships with regional banks and governments were key to building institutional capacity in the region. We continue to work with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and its partners in four Central American countries to support capacity-building processes for new approaches into IFAD loan projects. USAID and the International Climate Initiative, funded by Germany, supported projects in Colombia, Peru, and Brazil for farmers to switch out illicit crops for profitable ventures such as cacao.

Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes 

Peru and Colombia are home to just under one quarter of the Amazon rainforest. Recognizing the vital role that these forests play in providing ecosystem services at local, regional, and global levels, both countries are actively promoting land management practices that mitigate and adapt to climate change, and reduce negative human impact on the Amazon rainforest. The Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes (SAL) project, led by CIAT and supported by the CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), developed science-based practices for farmers to improve their wellbeing and their ability to cope with climate change. Sustainable land use alternatives were co-designed and pilot-tested jointly with a network of 42 farmers on 262 hectares in Colombia and Peru, with the vast majority of the sites focusing on interventions involving greater presence of trees and shrubs.  

 As a direct outcome of SAL, farms in Colombia that participated in the project joined the Financing Fund for the Agricultural Sector in Colombia (FINAGRO) on a pilot under the Visión Amazonía program, led by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS). This incentive (called Instrument for Sustainable Productive Transformation, ITPS) is designed for small- and medium-size landholders to promote the conservation of the remaining forests and restoration of deforested areas while concentrating cattle ranching activities in less fragile but more productive areas. 

Teaming up to face climate risk 

Climate risk for farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean is compounded by degradation of natural resources, limited capacity for disaster preparation and recovery, and lack of information with which to prepare. In Colombia, Local Technical Agroclimatic Committees (LTACs), which were formed as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), to help farmers be directly involved in addressing these issues. Many other countries across the region have implemented this strategy, or are in the process of implementing it, according to their specific needs and with the support of FAO-CCAFS collaborative work. 

IDB Lab for AI in Agriculture 

CIAT joined forces with the Inter-American Development Bank’s IDB LAB, the innovation laboratory of the IDB. The lab works to mobilize financing, knowledge, and connections to increase innovation and inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project with CIAT focuses on the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for agriculture with a focus in the rice sector. 

A roadmap for Latin America and the Caribbean 

For over 50 years, CIAT has collaborated with hundreds of partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). We have worked with government agencies and other partners, providing scientific and technical support and tools to achieve more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. The new roadmap for Latin America defines the main topics of CIAT’s research agenda in the region: food systems, agroecosystems and landscapes, and agriculture climate resilience.  

Improved forages help transform family farm 

Thanks to hard work, technical support and the implementation of research developed by CIAT and its partners, families in Colombia’s Cauca region have shifted to sustainable livestock production systems. Today, some farms work as models for the region. The work was developed within the framework a project that links forages to sustainable livestock production and was financed by Colombia’s National System of Royalties, implemented by the Governor’s Office of Cauca and led by the University of Cauca with support from CIAT. More than 200 producers received training, material, and support for the project implementation and participated in workshops on improved farming techniques. 

CIAT’s network for impact in LAC grows 

CIAT was designated as an active member to the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (RIABM) due to the Center’s experience and knowledge in landscape restoration, resilient food production systems, well-being of rural communities, and gender equity. Together with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the NGO Cuso International, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), CIAT will foster best forest and natural resource management practices in Latin American and Caribbean countries and Spain, to advance the network’s mission.  

Carolina Navarrete Frías
Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

CIAT is a CGIAR Research Center

Was edited and compiled by CIAT Partnerships and Communications

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