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A powerful voice for climate-smart agriculture in the tropics

With hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers producing food and other agricultural products in the tropics, there is an urgent need to help them adapt to a changing climate, which is already impacting food production systems and farmer livelihoods. In this interview, Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of CIAT, shares a vision of how cutting-edge research and focused programs make farming more resilient, sustainable, and profitable.

16 December, 2014 by CIAT Comunicaciones (comments)

An interview by Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative, with Ruben G. Echeverría, Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

 

With hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers producing food and other agricultural products in the tropics, there is an urgent need to help them adapt to a changing climate, which is already impacting food production systems and farmer livelihoods. In this interview, Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of CIAT, http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/6942150591_70e39c7368_z.jpgshares a vision of how cutting-edge research and focused programs make farming more resilient, sustainable, and profitable.

 

Rice production near Treinta-y-Tres, Uruguay. CIAT’s Rice Program, in collabration with partners, has made significant progress in improving the crop’s yields, pest tolerance, nutritional quality, and resource use.

 

Margaret: Having worked in agricultural development for over 30 years, what do you think are some of the greatest food security challenges in the world’s tropical regions?

 

Ruben: Parts of the humid tropics have the potential to become future breadbaskets for the world.  They are where some 70 percent of the world’s poor people now live, and they contain most of the world’s biodiversity. Climate change poses a serious threat for these smallholder farmers, who already face significant challenges from poor soils, volatile rainfall patterns, lack of knowledge on best cultivation practices, and lack of investment in new technologies that can help them. We need to forge stronger policies and better institu  tions to preserve and manage biodiversity in the tropics, and to invigorate public research on agriculture and the environment in these countries.

 

Margaret:  What are some specific areas where you have seen success in the tropical zones where CIAT works?

 

Ruben: CIAT has helped achieve major improvements in the productivity of rice, cassava, beans, and forages for livestock. For example, some 80 percent of the rice grown all the way from Uruguay at the tip of South America to Mexico can be attributed to CIAT’s rice research program. The program works closely with FLAR (Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice), which is among the first public-private partnerships set up by the CGIAR institutions. FLAR’s members represent 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through better collaboration across the Americas, the Fund has made major advances in improving yields, nutrition, quality, and the environmental sustainability of rice production.

 

- See more at: http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/2014/12/16/a-powerful-voice-for-climate-smart-agriculture-in-the-tropics/#sthash.RScUeaPb.dpuf

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