Driving Sustainability for Indigenous Communities

Published at: 13 February 2024

In an effort to address the challenges of climate change and improve food security for Mapuche indigenous communities in Argentina and Chile, FONTAGRO financed a project in 2017 that served as a catalyst to identify new technologies and innovations to strengthen the traditional livestock production system of small indigenous farmers in Argentina (Patagonia) and Peru.

At the heart of this new initiative is a groundbreaking collaboration among scientists and extensionists from Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand. Their aim is clear: to propose a new, larger-scale initiative that not only benefits these countries but also lays the groundwork for the adoption of technology and innovation in Latin American indigenous communities, marking a crucial milestone in the history of sustainable agriculture.

In Argentina, the study area will focus on northern Patagonia, home to numerous Mapuche communities that occupy parts of the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén. These communities, organized into zonal councils and backed by laws protecting their rights, are critical to the project's success. The relationship between INTA and Mapuche communities is based on collaboration and mutual respect, with each project obtaining approval from local authorities.

Climate change poses significant challenges for the region, with projections indicating a decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperatures. This puts pressure on agricultural systems and the livelihoods of communities, affecting the availability of food and water for livestock and increasing the risk of wildfires.

This new proposal not only identifies problems but also proposes innovative solutions. From the installation of demonstration plots to the evaluation of the adaptation of local crops, adaptive strategies are being implemented to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote sustainability.

Ultimately, the project's impact extends beyond local communities. The demonstration plots become success stories shared with other rural communities, expanding their adoption nationally and internationally. Furthermore, the project opens opportunities for rural agritourism and the appreciation of culturally diverse agriculture.

With the financial support of FONTAGRO and the Government of New Zealand, the project "Facilitating Climate-Smart Agriculture Resilience in Indigenous Communities of Latin America" is on track to transform indigenous agriculture in Argentina and Chile. It is an inspiring example of how collaboration and innovation can address the most pressing challenges of our time and build a more sustainable future for all.

With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)