Representatives from Central America learned about advances and innovations in sustainable livestock and climate services for agriculture.

"Learning", "knowledge", "teamwork" and "excellent" were some of the words with which livestock and climate services representatives from governments and institutions in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, defined the Second Exchange of Experiences in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) between Colombia and Central America, held from 8 to 12 April 2019.

Innovations and advances in sustainable livestock and climate services in Colombia were the main topics of the exchange organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), within the framework of the project "A common journey", led by the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Firsthand learning

Participants visited farms in Meta and Caquetá and gained firsthand experiences related to the implementation of sustainable livestock practices. The visits were led by CIAT researchers from the "Livestock Plus - Phase 2" and "Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes".

In the field, visitors learnt about dairy systems specialized for warm weather under improved pastures and silvopastoral systems. They also get to know a dual purpose livestock system under intensive grazing that have implemented forage banks with food bands and conservation of natural areas. The guests also visited the forage showcase of the University of the Amazon. In Bogotá, they met with Germán Serrano, leader of the Sustainable Livestock Committee in Colombia.

II Intercambio de Experiencias en Agricultura Sostenible Adaptada al Clima entre Colombia - Centroamérica

Understanding climate

The project "Agroclimas - Phase 2" of CIAT-CCAFS and the Colombian institutions that implement agroclimatic services, shared with the representatives from Central America their experience, product development, and agroclimatic information platforms to improve farmers' decision making.

Nelson Lozano from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia, explained and shared the process of formulation of the National Determined Contributions (NDC) carried out in the country, which include as an adaptation measure, the implementation of 15 Local Technical Agroclimatic Committees (LTAC), for 2030. He also highlighted the importance of applied research, using as an example the project "Climate and agricultural sector" that was developed in Colombia with CIAT and different agricultural associations.

At the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), attendees learned about the important advances that Colombia has made in the collection and dissemination of meteorological information, as well as the key role of IDEAM in LTACs. The National Federation of Rice Growers of Colombia (FEDEARROZ) told attendees how they implemented climate services for the rice sector and presented their platform "Is it going to rain or not?" and the application "Plan your crop" that offers useful information for planning rice cultivation.

During the exchange, the representatives from Central America also shared their experiences on issues related to climate services for agriculture and sustainable livestock.

Cooperation opportunities

On the last day of the exchange, participants worked on two regional proposals for climate services for agriculture and sustainable livestock. A group of topics were also prioritized for the realization of virtual seminars among which are: sustainable livestock tables, intensive and/or rotational grazing system, silvopastoral systems, and inter-institutional approach of LTACs, agroclimatic service platforms, dissemination and translation of agroclimatic information, among others.

The participants could also listen to Juan Diego Ruiz Cumplido, Regional Coordinator of IFAD for Mesoamerica & the Caribbean, who explained the work the fund has been doing in Latin America and highlighted the importance of government actions at a local level and the development of initiatives as the second exchange on CSA.

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Lauren Sarruf Romero is the Communications Officer for CCAFS Latin America. Andrea Castellanos is the Science Officer for CCAFS Latin America.