September 22, 2021. For the first time, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) participated in the European Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development (TROPENTAG) 2021, this year organized by the University of Honhenhein, Germany.
This important activity has been carried out since 1999 and reaches an average of 1,200 people annually. On this occasion, CATIE had the opportunity to organize Workshop 12, entitled Strategies to promote sustainable agriculture in the Latin American region: lessons learned by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE, its Spanish acronym), in which different researchers from the institution presented the results of their scientific work and practical experience through the implementation of various projects in the region.
The presentations were given by CATIE's general director, Muhammad Ibrahim; Eduardo Somarriba; Rolando Cerda; Arlene López; Laura Benegas; Eliécer Vargas and Gracia Lanza. Each presentation addressed different topics such as livestock, agro-forestry, watersheds, sustainable tourism, economy and environment.
The workshop began with a presentation by the Director General, who addressed the sustainable intensification of livestock in the tropics for economic and environmental recovery post-Covid-19. Eduardo Somarriba, senior researcher of the Agro-forestry Unit, then presented the analysis of tree shading in coffee and cocoa agro-forestry systems using ShadeMotion software.
Rolando Cerda, coordinator of the Agro-forestry Unit, presented CATIE's contribution to the genetic improvement of coffee and cocoa plantations in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the importance of agro-forestry in the evaluation of coffee hybrids and cocoa clones produced at the institution. Arlene López, agro-forestry specialist, spoke about cocoa cultivation and its link to tree cover change and the discourses of local stakeholders, mainly in the context of Nicaragua and Peru.
Researcher Laura Benegas, coordinator of the Watershed, Water Security and Soil Unit, addressed the role of trees in soil water dynamics in tropical agriculture, a research that yielded as part of its main conclusions the positive impact that trees can have on the soil through the reduction of evaporative water losses during the dry season, as well as an improvement in the preferential flow under the trees.
Eliécer Vargas, specialist in sustainable tourism of the Sustainable Economy, Environment and Agribusiness Unit, presented the challenges and opportunities of agro-tourism and expanded agriculture, beginning with the importance of agro-tourism in complex adaptive systems; its implementation; presentation of agro-tourism companies in Costa Rica; mapping of value chains; improvements in alternatives and equipment for rural women who work as tour operators; creation of alliances, among others.
Finally, Gracia Lanza, coordinator of the Economics, Environment and Sustainable Agribusiness Unit, in addition to being the moderator of the event, presented the results of the research on the effect on consumer behavior of providing environmentally friendly alternatives, in this context biodegradable bags as a substitute for plastic bags. The study was carried out at farmers' fairs, specifically in the provinces of Cartago and Heredia in Costa Rica.
The activity took place last Friday, September 17. If you want to see the complete workshop presentation, you can access the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I7f_q6dh0M. For more information, here you can find access to the presentations of each of the researchers.
Gracia María Lanza Castillo, PhD.
Economics, Environment and Sustainable Agribusiness Unit (UEAAS) Coordinator.
Dannia Gamboa Solís
Information Technology and Communication