Latin America and the Caribbean together hold the planet’s largest reserve of arable soils, 30% of renewable water, 46% of tropical forests and 30% of biodiversity, making a massive contribution to global food supply and other planetary ecosystem services. Climate change and natural disasters, exacerbated by COVID-19, have eroded economic and food security in the region, destabilizing communities and triggering exports of people instead of food. Further breakdown of the region’s most vulnerable agrifood systems will push millions globally into food insecurity, unleash unprecedented migration, especially of young people, and jeopardize our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Latin America and Caribbean region faces a host of challenges. Its resource-intensive agricultural production model has reduced agrifood system resilience and increased conflicts. Agricultural expansion and intensification, and urbanization, have degraded over 20% of forests and farmlands in the region, with negative effects on productivity, carbon storage and biodiversity, especially in the Andes. While regional food production depends on smallholders, their livelihoods are threatened by climate change, as more than 30% of Latin American and Caribbean cropland is becoming less suited to changing climates. Farmers lack access to training, improved technologies and remunerative markets. High uncertainty due to climate variability discourages new investments in agriculture. Agricultural value chains fail to incentivize resource efficiency, agricultural diversification and inclusivity. And socio-economic disparities are more pronounced for women and indigenous peoples, whose participation in agrifood system innovations is hindered by deep-seated inequalities.
This Initiative aims to increase the resilience, sustainability and competitiveness of Latin American and Caribbean agrifood systems and actors by better equipping them to meet urgent food security needs, reduce climate threats, stabilize conflict-vulnerable communities and reduce out-migration.
This objective will be achieved through:
- Shaping nutrition-sensitive socioecological-technological “best bets” to operationalize local agrifood system transition to climate-resilient nutrition pathways, to ensure local actors can access and will use tailored climate-resilient and nutrition-sensitive technologies supported by enhanced capacity of national agricultural research extension systems.
- Inclusive, digitally-enabled agro-advisories for risk management, consolidating a digital-enabled ecosystem around climate risk management and sustainable intensification across five value chains in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
- Agrifood system development that meets both mitigation and sustainable development objectives, integrating sustainable development priorities, social inclusion and gender-responsive frameworks into efforts to mitigate climate change in agrifood systems, and building an investment-friendly climate around low-emission agrifood system development.
- InnovaHub (innovation hub) networks for agrifood innovation and scaling to accelerate the development, mainstreaming and early commercialization of innovative tools, technologies and approaches to the adoption of climate-responsive agrifood system pathways.
- Science-informed policies, investments and institutions, supporting the adoption of climate-resilient and competitive practices for reducing food insecurity and out-migration, particularly in the context of COVID-19.
This Initiative will work in the following countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
Proposed 3-year outcomes include:
- Nutrition-sensitive innovations co-designed with local actors enable agrifood systems in five regional countries to effectively align the technical aspects of transition processes with the socio-ecological needs of at least 250,000 farmers.
- A digital ecosystem spanning three Latin American and Caribbean countries empowers producer associations, AgriTech companies, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and public extension services to offer digitally enabled agro-advisory services to at least 200,000 farmers, enabling them to more effectively manage climate risk and sustainable intensification across their value chains.
- Low-emission strategies with development goals across agroecosystems, landscapes, and value chains, reaching at least 300,000 hectares, are integrated by national and local governments in three Latin American and Caribbean countries. Financing streams, support functions, and monitoring, reporting and verification efforts are realigned to interventions that blend mitigation objectives with social, ecological, and equitable development priorities of communities.
- InnovaHub learning, knowledge management, and evidence in four Latin American and Caribbean countries accelerate on-farm uptake and scaling of innovations, by making them more gender-responsive, production-friendly, and context-specific, reaching at least 200,000 farmers.
- CGIAR science, evidence, and tools are used by public and private institutions in three Latin American and Caribbean countries to inform and shape more transformative, sustainable, mitigation-comprehensive, and climate adaptation-friendly policies, incentives, and initiatives. These are then mainstreamed and scaled throughout six countries, helping actors realign and transition their agrifood systems to more sustainable pathways that meet climate and broader development objectives.
Projected impacts and benefits include:
|NUTRITION, HEALTH & FOOD SECURITY
Local and regional food systems are reconfigured to ensure access to nutritious diets for rural and urban populations, produce balanced food baskets and ensure food security, reaching 8 million people across the region by 2030.
|POVERTY REDUCTION, LIVELIHOODS & JOBS
Co-designed and tested CGIAR innovations increase farmers’ incomes, empower women, and enhance youth capacities, facilitating access to diversified and nutritious food, and reaching 8 million people across the region by 2030.
|GENDER EQUALITY, YOUTH & SOCIAL INCLUSION
Female and male smallholder farmers of all ages play an important role as data curators and interpreters of decision support tools in rural communities. Youth provide technical support to field monitoring and data cubes. Outcomes are gender-responsive through active involvement for understanding major challenges and opportunities for women, reaching 2.5 million women across the region by 2030.
|CLIMATE ADAPTATION & MITIGATION
Climate-related policies and investments informed by CGIAR research, and access by farmers to more accurate, tailored, and timely information via CGIAR innovations benefit at least 8 million people across the region by 2030.
|ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & BIODIVERSITY
Promotion and adoption of climate-, water- and nutrient-smart practices enhances multifunctional landscapes and enables integrated crop-tree-livestock systems, with a focus on sustainability of agriculture under climate and other stresses, improving management on 19 million hectares of land.
Header photo: Coffee picking in Cauca, southwestern Colombia. Part of the Two Degrees Up case studies series on the effects of climate change on agriculture. Photo by N. Palmer/CIAT.