Catalyzing farmer innovations and the adoption of promising management and technological options to facilitate the development of low-carbon cattle value chains in Latin America

This project aims to incentivize the accelerated and sustainable implementation of promising innovations and best-fit practices by VC actors of the livestock sector. Photo credit: José Luis Urrea (CCAFS - CIAT)

Project description

Latin America has the potential to be at the forefront of transformation in livestock sector towards more productive and sustainable cattle value chains (VC) through cattle breeds fed on high-quality forages and kept in good health. This production alternative will result in higher market value due to the high appreciation of products developed with low emissions. Low-emitting technologies and management practices for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to maximize cattle productivity and cattle VC performance are commonly known, as could be identified by previous projects like LivestockPlus. However, it’s necessary to proactively adopt better known, profitable, and best-fit mitigation options. That’s why this project is working hand in hand with the Latin America Mitigation Network (LAMNET) to bring multi-disciplinary livestock and non-livestock stakeholders together and strengthen South-South collaboration among VC actors in target countries: Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, and Nicaragua. Working with LAMNET, our goal is to foster creative low-emissions business models, feasible monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) approaches public-private partnerships and alliances, and the development of mechanisms (i.e., finance schemes) that incentivize the accelerated and sustainable implementation of promising innovations and best-fit practices by VC actors. However, to get to know the decision criteria in the adoption of practices to increase cattle productivity while reducing GHG emissions, we are researching life cycle analysis (LCA); food loss and waste reduction and utilization as alternative cattle feed options; and human behavioral science.


  • Improving cattle value chain performance and meeting emission reduction targets
  • Evaluating climate change mitigation options, building regional capacities and the effective communication of research findings

Expected outcomes

  • At least five agricultural Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA)/climate finance proposals.
  • Guidance on more efficient management options with mitigation co-benefits
  • Stakeholders use improved emissions data and tools.
  • 6–8 countries trained in scenarios analysis for low emissions development (LED) planning and MRV methodologies.
  • Revised targets and NDCs for agricultural mitigation.
  • Methods for MRV of agricultural emission reductions developed.
  • Improved capacity of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), NAMA and LED focal points & policy implementers to measure and monitor mitigation.
  • NAMA or LED investment proposals for 6–8 countries include gender considerations
  • Ten countries have used tools, analysis, business models and MRV methodologies to develop LED plans with mitigation potential.
  • Analysis of lessons learned from trials for best practices to support scaling up of LED options in agri-food sectors.

Gender and youth

This project ensures that gender, youth and indigenous community issues are included in all discussion platforms by inviting stakeholders from the relevant ministries in each of the target countries. The project also explores opportunities to build the income generation capacities of these groups in each target country.

More information

For further information, please contact project leader, Jacobo Arango (CIAT) (

Project Activities

Efficiency gains along cattle VCs contribute towards increasing profitability and thus attracting more public and private sector interests and investments. This activity will also focus on prioritizing low-carbon VC development with key actors and developing strategies to overcome previously identified barriers to efficiency gains along cattle value chains. Business and investment cases will also be explored under this activity. The activity will focus on ensuring that efficient and more productive VCs contribute towards wealth employment creation for youth, women and other marginalized groups (e.g., indigenous groups) in the target countries. This activity will also will support regional progress towards achieving and stimulating the raising of ambition in emission reduction targets stated in the respective Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) as well as achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 2 and 12.

This activity will focus on organizing platform meetings, training workshops, capacity building sessions and will explore the use of other non-traditional communication tools to effectively communicate science. This activity will also focus on designing and developing a blend of formal (e.g., courses to grad students and GANSO) and informal (e.g., farmer-to-farmer) approaches, to provide support to cattle producers in the target countries. The activity will also focus on fostering an understanding on how to create and strengthen/improve the necessary environments (i.e., incentive structures) and networks (e.g., livestock round-tables), to stimulate practice change on mainly modern (e.g., technophile and social media experienced farmers) large-scale farms without neglecting traditional small- and medium-scale farms who show interest in increasing cattle productivity while reducing GHG emissions.

As part of the project "Heirs of Tradition" along with SENA and Alqueria (a private company of dairy products), a series of workshops and seminars will be carried out in order to develop capacities in the youth to facilitate the generational relief in the livestock sector of Colombia. Such events will be adressed under three programs (productive, environmental and socioeconomic). Key subjects of the workshops include: value chains, gender roles, seed production, forage conservation, species for livestock, carbon footprint and its incorporation to the farm management plan, among others.

In the Orinoquia region exist reliable statistics of adoption of improved forages, in terms of number of hectares planted with certain species. Based on these statistics and on previous studies that have evaluated the potential of several forage germplasm resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the soil and/or animal source compared to the traditionally used naturalized or native grasses, we aim to estimate the impact of such improved forages in reducing livestock associated emissions of greenhouse gases at a sub-national scale.

A series of workshops will be held with stakeholders from different countries across all Latin Ameria and the Caribbean to exchange experience in the development of national greenhouse gas inventories. A network of scientists from research centers, NARS, universities and NGOs will be established with the aim to learn methods, models, data, among others towards more specific emission factors for different economic sectors.

Project Deliverables