Looking to share knowledge of environmentally friendly agricultural production technologies to increase the country’s farming systems’ resilience to climate change, researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) participated in the First International Congress on Agroecology in Managua, Nicaragua. The event was organized by the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), and brought together 300 farmers from different areas of Nicaragua, academics, researchers, national and international development institutes, and private sector actors from across Latin America.
Since Nicaragua passed a Law of Agroecological and Organic Production in 2011, the government has worked to mainstream agroecological principles in agricultural and natural resource management policy and planning. The Congress provided a platform to conduct the first national exchange between Nicaraguan producers interested in agroecology, scientists, private sector actors, and activists from other countries in Latin America.
“Agroecology is a concept that integrates a holistic view of production. It goes beyond simply seeking higher crop yields, towards a better performance of the entire system’s productivity, as well as adequate natural resource management,” said Miguel Obando, deputy director of INTA, during his keynote speech.
As part of its ongoing collaboration with Nicaragua’s agricultural research for development efforts, scientists from CIAT and the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics) participated in the Central Conference Panel and contributed to various workshop sessions during the Congress, sharing their expertise and leading discussions based on their experience promoting agroecological techniques in Nicaragua.
CIAT technician Orlando Téllez and CIAT soil scientist Pablo Siles shared their experiences during a session titled “Agroecology and biodiversity: genetic resources and agroecological territories.” Téllez explained the components of the establishment and management of CIAT’s successful Quesungual Agroforestry System to restore degraded soils and landscapes.
CIAT soil scientist Mirjam Pulleman also participated in this session with a presentation on the role of soil biodiversity for ecological intensification of agriculture and soil biodiversity improvement through management practices, including agroforestry and silvopastoral systems.
During the third Central Conference Panel, titled “Agroecology, food security, and climate change,” Katharina Schiller, Humidtropics scientist at CIAT, discussed practices and crops used by Nicaraguan farmers to diversify their production systems, and Nicaraguan farmers’ perceptions of how agroecology contributes to their farms’ resilience in the face of climate change, in her presentation “Agroecology in Nicaragua: Diversification of production systems and climate change.”
Congress attendees received very well the presentations highlighting CIAT’s ongoing scientific leadership and contributions to Nicaragua’s priorities in promoting agroecology research for the country’s agricultural development.