CIAT and Colombia seize historic opportunity for a sustainable agricultural revolution

17 March, 2011 by (comments)

CIAT and the Colombian government have formalized an historic agreement that could trigger a revolution of sustainable agriculture of the country’s vast Orinoquia region, also known as the Llanos, or eastern plains.

One of the flagship programs of the Colombian government is the sustainable development of the Llanos, and its transformation into a promising agricultural area to resettle smallholder farmers displaced by rural violence. The work will build on significant advances in recent years made by CIAT and the Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Research (Corpoica) to recover soils and to cultivate the varieties of rice, forages, and maize adapted to the area.

The US$3 million agreement, signed in November last year, was formally endorsed last week by Colombia’s President Santos at a special meeting at Carimagua Farm, CIAT and Corpoica’s Llanos research station. It was at the same site that CIAT carried out important research projects during the 1980s, demonstrating that the region’s soils could be used for agriculture, contributing to the Colombian Government’s support for agricultural development in the region through the involvement of both large companies and small farmers.

During the event, President Santos officially handed over around 17,000 hectares of land to 500 displaced families. Also in attendance were Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Juan Camilo Restrepo; CORPOICA director, Juan Lucas Restrepo; and CIAT Director-General, Ruben G. Echeverría.

The initiative identifies multiple areas of collaboration in order to develop agriculture in the Llanos, as well as issues such as:

  • climate change adaptation
  • institutional training and integration for the better use of biotechnology on behalf of other Colombian institutions
  • training on intellectual property rights, and
  • development of support strategies for research into high-value tropical fruits.

 

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Filed Under: Inside CIAT, Latin America and the Caribbean, Regions