CIAT is proud! Jefferson Valencia, young scientist from the Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) area at CIAT, was awarded a Borlaug fellowship and will attend Purdue University in Indiana, United States, to pursue an internship to implement a hydrological assessment based on GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to optimize cacao production in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
The internship will be conducted within the framework of the “Cacao for Peace (CfP)” project that aims to improve rural well-being in Colombia through the development of an inclusive and sustainable agricultural development, with a positive impact on income, economic opportunities, stability, and peace for cocoa farmers.
CfP will rely upon CIAT for the overall coordination of the project within the country, due to its technical experience, especially on soil and water management. On the other hand, Valencia will focus his investigation on defining the water characteristics of the cacao crop to contribute to increase productivity in communities from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
This research will allow me to understand better critical thresholds for water-storage capacity in the soils where cacao is grown, as well as crop water requirements, which are relevant aspects to ensure an adequate water supply, according to climate and soil conditions.Jefferson Valencia
Jefferson will join the Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program for 12 weeks. This is a full-tuition fellowship and the program will be carried out next year, between the months of March and April.
The scientific results obtained through this program will provide farmers with key tools for decision-making, improving cacao productivity, and streamlining water management practices in farms of the prioritized communities.
The research to be conducted will contribute to build the capacities of cacao producers, project partners, and the ministries and institutions involved, to meet the objective of increasing the productivity of high-quality cacao, the sustainable use of land, the conservation of natural resources, and food security in the country.
The knowledge Valencia is acquiring will be used to propose water management practices that will help increase water availability for cacao, with the purpose of achieving an optimal and sustainable production.