Within the framework of the celebration of its 45th anniversary, CIAT launched the book Eco-Efficiency: From Vision to Reality, the first in a series of publications titled Issues in Tropical Agriculture.
The publication, authored by a group of CIAT scientists and colleagues from 18 partner organizations, was presented to the Center staff on July 3rd.
The book charts six distinct but complementary pathways for achieving a more eco-efficient agriculture:
1. Large-scale adoption of better crop varieties and management practices based on sound agronomic advice
2. Increased investment in best practices that offer large enough gains to compensate farmers for greater risks
3. Reduced investment in inputs that are being over-used
4. More efficient use of all resources to obtain greater returns at lower cost
5. Spread of technologies that make possible quantum leaps in agricultural productivity
6. Protection against future losses in productive capacity
During the launch, Ruben Echeverría, CIAT Director General, thanked all of those who invested their effort in producing this publication and gave a review on the history of use of the term eco-efficiency.
His opening address and remarks on the expectations of this new publication set up the ground for the next presentation by Clair Hershey, Leader of CIAT’s Cassava Program and scientific editor of the publication, who introduced the book highlights, concepts, and lessons learned.
Hershey outlined a picture of the 14 chapters comprising the book and key messages that the authors intended to convey. He also encouraged all to keep up the momentum and to continue spreading the central message to internalize the concept within the Center’s organizational culture and modus operandi. With this in mind, an 8-page brochure was issued summarizing the main contents of the publication.
His presentation was followed by the panel discussion, with five of the book’s authors, moderated by Nathan Russell, Head of Corporate Communications. The panelists included Steve Beebe, Leader, Bean Program; Clair Hershey, Leader, Cassava Program; Caitlin Peterson, Visiting Researcher, CCAFS; Idupulapati Rao, Plant Nutritionist and Physiologist; and Simone Staiger, Leader, Capacity Strengthening and Knowledge Management Initiative.
The panelists shared more details about the chapters they co-authored and multiple examples of agricultural systems and crop development for eco-efficient agriculture.
To conclude the session, the Director General remarked that CIAT is taking very seriously the eco-efficiency concept: “Most of our research follows the six pathways towards eco-efficiency, which is highly relevant in the face of climate change and agriculture. It is definitely not a recipe for change, but it can be a guiding principle… a route map, if we intend that research pursues a right path.”
At the closure, Ken Cassman, Chair of the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), spoke up to place global agriculture in the middle of the debate about resource-use efficiency and asserted that eco-efficient agriculture will contribute significantly to increasing productivity to feed the world’s growing population, while decreasing environmental impact.
“Eco-efficient agriculture not only must increase yields, but also reduce ecological footprint and protect biodiversity and soils, while being profitable and socially adequate…” A wise conclusion and an invitation to continue working in an articulated manner.
Eight chapters of the book are currently online. The entire publication is expected to be available by the end of July.