To share experiences that will increase the productivity of Nicaragua’s livestock sector and improve the quality and efficiency of the country’s cattle production, the Nicaraguan Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA) organized the “First International Congress on Challenges and Opportunities to Increase National Livestock Productivity” in Managua. Highlighting CIAT’s participation within the model of collaboration based on partnerships, dialogue, and consensus promoted by the country’s public sector, members of the Center’s Tropical Forages Program shared CIAT’s contributions to the development of the region’s livestock sector.
Michael Peters, leader of CIAT’s Tropical Forages Program, was a panelist in a thematic round table titled “The best and most efficient sustainable meat and milk cattle production systems to increase national productivity,” and in the keynote conference “Productive and technological systems responding to international market demands for livestock products.”
In both scenarios, Peters shared CIAT’s experience with LivestockPlus, a strategic initiative that promotes the transformation of traditional cattle production systems, often characterized by considerable negative environmental impacts, toward systems with greater productive, economic, and environmental benefits, based on forage integration for sustainable intensification of livestock production.
During this exchange, CIAT shared research results on topics related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These included the potential for carbon sequestration in soils and improved pasture systems, the residual effect of biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) with improved Brachiaria humidicola pastures in silvopastoral systems, and increased productivity by growing cattle in improved pasture systems, be they monocultures, associated with herbaceous legumes, or silvopastoral systems.
CIAT scientists Rein van der Hoek, Livestock and Fish (L&F) coordinator in Nicaragua, and Martin Mena, L&F research assistant, facilitated a talk titled “Practical considerations for better pasture management” with an audience of more than 400 small- and medium-scale Nicaraguan cattle farmers.
The talk focused on the main gaps in traditional pasture management systems, explaining how these lead to lower productivity and degradation on cattle farms. At the same time, the team provided practical recommendations regarding adequate germplasm selection for various climate and soil conditions, improved pasture management based on intensity of use, and the need to transform traditional monoculture pasture systems into sustainable systems that include herbaceous legumes, shrubs, and other tree species in silvopastoral systems.
CIAT’s participation in this exchange highlighted the Center’s joint leadership with Nicaragua’s government to support the development of this priority sector. The conference also covered topics such as the production of staple and grain crops combined with livestock, as well as the use of organic fertilizers and improved seeds and pastures alongside livestock breeding to increase yields.