By Comunicaciones

Social Technologies, an ingenious irrigation method, recovering genetic material from native criollo goats in Patagonia, family involvement in fish farming, and empowering women are some of the specific innovations identified by the cases that have enabled adaptation to climate change. (Washington, D.C., Monday, March 14, 2016) }

Today FONTAGRO announced the winning cases in the 2015 Contest for Successful Cases of “Innovation in Family Farming Adaptation to Climate Change.”

With support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its sponsors—the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)—FONTAGRO sought to identify successful innovative experiences for adapting to climate change, as well as lessons learned from family farmers.


The contest allowed for the discovery of concrete innovations developed by family farmers over the past 15 years, which can potentially be used in other regions of the world. Some examples included climate-smart agriculture technologies adopted by farmers with the support of a partnership of organizations in Brazil’s semiarid region. There was also an ingenious irrigation method through rainwater harvesting in Nicaragua and Mexico. Another case tackled the recovery of genetic material from native criollo goats, which enabled goats to face not only snowfall, but also the fall of volcanic ash that had compromised food security in the Argentine Patagonia.

Among many of the innovations implemented there were family participation and unity towards fish farming in Bolivia or towards organic quinoa production and exports in the Peruvian Altiplano, as well as the empowerment of women who decided to take risks and diversify in order to prosper. Remarkable efforts involving training and knowledge dissemination helped strengthen the capacities of farmers and their families, and have enabled them to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

The Contest

Within the framework of the contest, FONTAGRO received 49 case proposals. After an evaluation by a panel of experts, 11 cases were invited to submit their final proposals. The external evaluation panel and FONTAGRO’s Board of Directors identified the most innovative experiences and selected the following winning cases:

“Associations of Producers, Processors, and/or Marketers, and Nongovernmental Organizations” CATEGORY

Title Organization
1 Adapta Sertão – Social Technologies for Adapting to Climate Change Rede de Desenvolvimento Humano (REDEH) – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2 Fish for Life. Improving Farming Families’ Food Security and Finances Centro de Promoción Agropecuaria Campesina (CEPAC). Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

Asociación de Piscicultoras del Norte Integrado (APNI). Yapacaní, Bolivia

“National Research and/or Development Organizations and Universities” CATEGORY
3 Food Security of Family Producers in the Argentine Patagonia: Use of Local Genetic Resources and Adaptation to Climate Change National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA – IPAF Patagonia). Plottier, Argentina.

Secretaría de Agricultura Familiar. Delegación Río Negro (SAF). San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.

“International and Multinational Organizations” CATEGORY
4 Addressing Poverty and Climate Change with Agricultural Innovations for Family Farming in the Peruvian Altiplano International Potato Center (CIP). Lima, Peru.

Centro de Investigación de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente (CIRNMA). Puno, Peru.

5 Converting Rain-fed Farming to Irrigation through Rainwater Harvesting in Nicaragua and Mexico. Fondo Latinoamericano para Arroz de Riego (FLAR). Cali, Colombia.
6 Transitioning from Cattle Farming to the Future We Want in the Chorotega Region Asociación Agroforestal Chorotega (UNAFOR Chorotega). Chorotega-Hojancha, Costa Rica.



Winning cases will receive a $5,000 monetary award, to be distributed among case participants, as well as $10,000 to contribute to strengthening the institutional capacity of winning institutions in the “Associations of Producers, Processors, and/or Marketers, and Nongovernmental Organizations” and “National Research and/or Development Organizations and Universities” categories.

The evaluation panel also came to a perfect tie between two cases in the “International and Multinational Organizations” category. It therefore unanimously recommended that the award in this category be shared by both groups of contestants.

Lastly, FONTAGRO’s Board of Directors decided to award an honorable, nonmonetary mention to recognize an innovative case on intensifying cattle farming systems in Costa Rica.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 17, 2016, at IDB Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the publication will be launched then as well. Full cases, as well as details and registration dates for the event, will be announced on FONTAGRO’s website soon.

For more information, please email your queries to

About Family Farming and Climate Change

According to the 2014 study, “Agriculture and Future Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean: Systemic Impacts and Potential Responses” published by the Inter-American Development Bank, the main changes in agriculture resulting from the impact of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean are atmospheric and soil temperatures, decreases in top soil moisture, sea level rise, and CO2 fertilization. Agriculture is also affected by the intensification of climate events. From the first half of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, the frequency of floods and droughts in the Americas increased twentyfold. Family farmers are the most affected by climate change, because they tend to work in precarious conditions and have limited access to technical, financial, and knowledge resources. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the family-farming sector includes 17 million small farms and accounts for 40% of total production. Many low-cost innovations can improve the yields of small agricultural holdings and help small producers become more resilient. Consequently, the increase in income generally enables farmers to have more resources for adapting to climate change.


FONTAGRO is a unique regional cooperation mechanism that promotes family farming innovation, competitiveness, and food security. It was established in 1998 and it includes fifteen member countries that have contributed a capital of some $100 million. FONTAGRO is sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Its Technical Administrative Secretariat is based at IDB headquarters in Washington, D.C. FONTAGRO has cofinanced 108 projects and initiatives in its member countries for an approximate amount of $88.7 million, including contributions from other sources of funding and executing agencies. Its member countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Carina Carrasco
Communications Adviser
Telephone: +1 202 623 3038. Email:

Twitter: @FONTAGRODigital

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