CIAT Annual Report 2018

Voices of Science

“Our main achievement in 2018 is the successful implementation of Terra-i in Di Linh district, Lam Dong province, Vietnam. Indeed, given the results obtained at district level, the Provincial People’s Committee has adopted Terra-i and decided to expand its application within the whole province. Civil society organizations, such as the Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), have also recognized Terra-i as a useful tool to promote participatory forest monitoring and have suggested expanding its application to other provinces in the country.”

Louis Reymondin, Digitally Inclusive Agriculture program co-leader

“Smallholder farmers are especially vulnerable to climate change. The companies who buy from them are in a unique position to facilitate their transition to greater resilience while also applying CIAT’s research to farmers’ realities. At CIAT Asia, partnership with companies such as Mondelēz International, Olam International, and ECOM Agroindustrial has been instrumental in developing climate-resilient value chains for cocoa and coffee farmers in Indonesia and Vietnam.”

Tiffany Talsma, Climate Strategy specialist

“2018 was a great year for stakeholder engagement in nutrition-sensitive food systems. One remarkable achievement in food systems assessment was the initiation of the agreement with the National Institute of Nutrition in Vietnam. Thanks to a well-coordinated effort, the partial baseline assessment of food systems was carried out with different components along a rural-urban transect, and we were able to access data of the general nutrition survey and nutrition surveillances to support our research outputs.”

Tuyen Huynh, research associate, Sustainable Food Systems team

“Our close collaboration with development partners, Send a Cow and SNV, has allowed us to tap into their wide network of farmers. The introduction and evaluation of improved forages in Kenya and Ethiopia were therefore embedded in ongoing projects that have been empowering men and women farmers to improve their overall farming systems for many years. This will allow us to have a wide-scale impact, not only in terms of productivity, but also in terms of equitable income and overall well-being of farming communities. So far, we have managed to reach 5,000 farmers, a figure that will grow as we sustain our joint outreach.”

An Notenbaert, Livestock Systems SSA

“In 2018, we successfully partnered with the Adaptation of African Agriculture Initiative of the Moroccan Government and with the World Bank to develop climate-smart agriculture investment plans for two African countries (Mali and Côte d’Ivoire). Through this partnership, we have identified government-supported investment opportunities totaling over US$500 million to attract climate finance and support these countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change.”

Evan Girvetz, senior scientist

“Our research on Climate Change Scenarios in Honduras was an important resource to the Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Similarly, the resulting technical-scientific information has been key to designing Municipal Adaptation Plans and prioritizing climate-smart agriculture practices. This has been made possible thanks to partners such as the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock, Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO), Ministry of Environment, and funders such as The Nature Conservancy, the United States Department of State, and the United Nations Development Programme.”

Diego Obando, DAPA researcher, Central America

“CCAFS has consolidated as a model in Latin America for its trailblazing research for improved decision-making in managing climate-related risks. This is evidenced in success cases such as the Agro-climatic Technical Working Groups, where more than 500,000 farmers in Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are using climate information for implementing adaptation actions. This initiative has already left a mark on public policy. For instance, the Colombian Government committed to establishing 15 such working groups at the subnational level as a key measure for the country to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.”

Ana María Loboguerrero, Head, Global Policy Research, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

“Rural women are organized and have a keen interest in novel knowledge and self-improvement. I am grateful to CIAT and the University of Cauca because their work has strengthened family structures and community-based economic growth. Many thanks for your commitment and for guiding us through the process, and for showing that sacrifice is important when we really want to succeed in livestock production.”

María del Carmen Ibarra, a member of the Farmer Users Cooperative of Patía, Cauca (Coagrousuarios).

“Thanks to collaborative work, livestock producers discovered new alternatives for their farms, such as silvopastoral systems. They were able to establish trials in their fields to test forage varieties with best performance and results in meat and milk production. We also carried out a study of the meat value chain, and concluded that the target community needed a certified meat processing plant.”

Eliana Paz, Secretary of Agricultural Development, Municipality of Patía, Cauca Department, Colombia

“Everyone who participated in the Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes (SAL) is open to learning about biodiversity management from farmers. They are the masters of masters. We need to make the best of the knowledge available from producers, scientists, technicians, and academics to improve our capacity for climate change adaptation and mitigation, while sustainably using ecosystem services.”

Dennis del Castillo, Director of the Forest Management and Environmental Services Program, Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP).

“The Bean Program has prioritized abiotic stress as a complement to disease resistance for several years now. Gain continues to be made in drought tolerance, after an intense period of drought during the July-August season. Even more novel, significant advance in heat tolerance was recorded with Andean beans selected under high temperatures, and subsequently expressed tolerance to water deficit. These are unique genotypes with potential to expand the area of bean production into low altitudes.”

Bodo Raatz, plant breeder

“TUMAINI mobile application app focused on banana farmers around the world in a collaboration between CIAT and Bioversity International. Using a large dataset of banana disease images taken in the field in Congo, Uganda and South India, we applied deep learning model to classify major banana diseases around the world. In addition to describing the type of disease, the app generates a series of recommendations and management of the detected problem. The app right now is trained for banana but can be easily transferred to other CIAT mandatory crops.”

Michael Selvaraj, leader, Phenomics Platform

“In an alliance with Climate Focus (a climate NGO) and the CIAT Tropical Forages Program, we established a technical and finance center named GANSO (Ganadería Sostenible, or Sustainable Cattle Farming) in the Orinoquia region of Colombia for implementation and upscaling of sustainable intensification practices.”

Jacobo Arango, molecular environmental biologist

“CIAT Pheno_i is a simple web-based application to analyze drone and satellite images rapidly and support decisions by plant breeders and farmers. Using this platform, farmers can map the physical features of their farms to evaluate water flow, germination, and productivity zones of their farms. Breeders can assess quickly traits such as plant height, canopy cover, biomass, nitrogen-use efficiency, resistance to pests and diseases, canopy temperature, etc. They have validated this system to classify rice Hoja Blanca virus in collaboration with FLAR breeders and are also using this application for precision agriculture project funded by the UK Space Agency.”

Michael Selvaraj, leader, Phenomics Platform

“An agreement with the seed company Papalotla will contribute to dissemination of breeding lines at scale and refining client profiles.”

Valheria Castiblanco, plant breeder

“The AGROSAVIA-CIAT forage network, established in 2018, seeks to expand the range of forage options to increase the efficiency, competitiveness, and resilience of the livestock production sector in Colombia. As such, the forage network aims to evaluate, select and deliver novel forage materials for their use in livestock systems of each of the different regions of the country.”

Juan Andrés Cardoso, eco-physiologist

“Important progress made in flowering induction by CIAT’s cassava breeding program has allowed to expedite the production of botanic seed in elite clones, thus speeding up the release of new varieties resistant to pests and diseases, conserving traits of high productivity with stable dry matter content.”

Luis Augusto Becerra, leader, Cassava Program

“The SFS team published 25 ISI journal papers including a well-received piece by Chris Bené and other colleagues entitled “When food systems meet sustainability – Current narratives and implications for actions” in World Development. SFS delivered important outcomes in the Climate-Smart Value Chains project in West Africa on cocoa and in East Africa and Central America on coffee.”

Mark Lundy, leader, Sustainable Food Systems (SFS)

“The most important achievement was the launch of the USAID-funded initiative “Water Planning System (WPS).” WPS was made available as a governmental web platform, “AGUA DE HONDURAS,” which provides communities with information combining hydrological data for current and future climate scenarios, and data on vegetative cover and water demand to facilitate water management decision making in relation to micro-watersheds, sub-watersheds, and watersheds in Honduras.”

Jefferson Valencia, hydrology specialist and WPS project co-leader, ASL research area

“The establishment of a research network on cacao and cadmium was one major achievement. Thanks to a collaborative work with Cacao for Peace (USAID/USDA), CIRAD, European Union, AFD, and national partners in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, we have been implementing several of complementary initiatives to support those countries in their efforts to comply with the new EU regulation on cadmium limits in cacao products.”

Mayesse da Silva, soil researcher, ASL research area

“After four years collecting data and implementing activities to make landscapes bloom again, new partnerships were forged and commitments agreed upon to improve environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation in the Peruvian Amazon. It is with great satisfaction that we see how farmers have made arrangements on their farms to adopt silvopastoral and agroforestry systems.”

Wendy Francesconi, leader, Ecosystem Services and Environmental Impact, ASL research area

“One of the most important achievements we had in 2018 was our work on ‘digital solutions to transform Ethiopian agriculture’ in partnership with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and with support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Thanks to the joint work, we were able to build awareness among over 80 participants and provide data analytics training to 16 national agricultural researchers.”

Lulseged Desta, leader, Landscape Restoration in Africa, ASL Research Area

“When things work for the farmer and we have a product that works for the farmer then you don’t sleep. As a bean researcher when farmers say they can now grow beans when they were not able to before, that makes me want to do more.”

Robin Buruchara, PABRA Director

“I am motivated by environmental concerns which go hand in hand with improved livestock. I seriously think improved livestock feeding can make a contribution to climate-smart livestock. Improved pastures mean improved soils which in turn result in improved livelihoods without harming the environment.”

Birthe Paul, Livestock Systems scientist

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Was edited and compiled by CIAT Partnerships and Communications

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