- The visit of Jim Suits, USDA project management officer, was developed for the purpose of cooperation between the two organizations.
August 12, 2022. On August 10 and 11, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) welcomed Jim Suits, Project Management Officer of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to its campus in Turrialba, Costa Rica. He was welcomed by Muhammad Ibrahim, Director General of the Center.
During his visit, Suits toured the International Cocoa Collection located at CATIE, where he learned about the different varieties of cocoa preserved in this collection, their flavor and quality, the process of grafting cocoa clones, as well as the transfer of knowledge carried out by the team of researchers of genetic improvement of cocoa, CATIE, to cocoa-growing families.
He also visited the institution's livestock farm and dairy. There, Cristóbal Villanueva, a researcher at CATIE's Livestock and Environmental Management Unit, showed him the good livestock practices implemented in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, and livestock health and feeding to improve milk production and quality. He also explained the work being done at the industrial level and how, through training, they are seeking to involve more producers in sustainable livestock farming.
Subsequently, Suits visited the International Coffee Collection, learning about the different varieties of coffee that it houses, the development of F1 hybrids and their high tolerance to diseases such as rust and CBB, the management of shade in coffee plantations and the high value that the coffee collection has, being the second most important in the Americas and the fourth in the world.
Finally, the team of CATIE's Climate Action Unit presented the main topics on which it works (climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation and synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation) and its main contributions. In terms of adaptation, examples of the work carried out in the modeling of climate change impacts on ecosystem services (water, biodiversity) were shown. In the mitigation component, research results on deforestation and degradation were presented, as well as case studies on Blue Carbon. In the component on synergies between adaptation and mitigation, examples of studies on the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions measures and forest restoration through governance platforms were presented.
“On behalf of myself and USDA, thank you again for enabling my visit to CATIE. It is always beneficial to learn of the goings-on of capable institutions around the world. It was most informative to better understand the breadth of programming at CATIE: A mighty institution, with more than meets the outside eye.” Suits mentioned.
The sheer volume of genetic accessions for key crops (cacao, coffee, cucurbits, grains, etc.); the highly detailed ecosystem modeling in critical regions of mesoamerica; the demonstration of improved low-emission cattle production; the wherewithal for awarding respected postgraduate credentials to key policymakers in the region. It may not get attention, but it's absolutely critical work.
Strategic Communications Coordinator