One of the main concerns on researchers’ minds nowadays is how to help farmers address the effects of climate change. The main issue at hand is how to produce food using sustainable methods, without depleting soils and water.
Over the next few decades, one of the greatest challenges mankind will face will be how to meet population’s growing needs, such as food demand. By 2050 the world’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion people and it is estimated that the middle class will make up more than half of the population, which will result in a higher demand for animal protein.
The family agriculture sector is vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change because it usually occupies less productive areas and it generally has limited access to new agronomic technologies and practices, markets, and financing, among others.
Latin America and the Caribbean have substantial natural resources (such as land and water) for food production. Most of the production for domestic consumption is done by family agriculture. Family agriculture is defined as the sector that is made up of farms operated by families that mainly use their own labor. In Latin America and the Caribbean, it is estimated that some 15 million family units own about 400 million hectares.
The family agriculture sector is vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change because it is usually situated in less productive areas and it generally has limited access to new agronomic technologies and practices, markets, and financing, among others.
However, there are many examples of technologies that have been developed and provide concrete solutions for farmers. One of them is the “water harvesting” case, in which water reservoirs were built as a practice for adapting to climate change in order to address the negative effects of drought in Central America. Reservoirs became an economic and sustainable alternative for continued production during droughts, since they transformed rainfed systems to irrigation systems in dry areas by tapping into rainwater runoff. The project worked with small family producers of staple grains. It helped build pilot reservoirs and install irrigation systems on their farms, as well as validate the use of improved seeds as well as agronomic crop management. The project placed special emphasis on human capacity development.
Based on examples like this, FONTAGRO—a cooperation mechanism for the innovation of family farming—has decided to support the development of innovations to promote the sustainable intensification of agriculture facing climate change and contribute to sustainable food production that has less impact on the environment, especially on soil and water.
One of the mechanisms utilized by FONTAGRO to support family agriculture research and innovation is the call for project proposals, in which two or more member countries that share similar problems decide to join and work in a coordinated manner towards achieving a common objective: creating innovative technologies!
$1.2 Million to Support Innovation Platforms
FONTAGRO’s 2017 call for proposals will finance projects of up to $300,000 each. It will support innovation platforms formed by public and private stakeholders from two or more member countries, working together to promote technological, organizational, or institutional innovations for farmers and their future generations to be prepared to address climate change.
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