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APC-Colombia and CIAT, partners in fostering good agricultural practices

The Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC-Colombia) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen sharing of good practices for South-South Cooperation (SSC) in agriculture, climate change adaptation, and rural entrepreneurship.

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In a first phase, the APC-Colombia and CIAT strategic partnership will undertake SSC activities involving technical assistance and knowledge sharing with the ministries of agriculture of Senegal and Kenya (Africa); Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean); and Vietnam (Southeast Asia).

The partnership aims to help position Colombia across the world through cooperation and provide beneficiary countries with better access to innovation and scientific research through knowledge sharing in the agricultural sector.

“One national technical experience identified by APC-Colombia that is well known globally involves research undertaken by CIAT on value chains, agriculture, rural development, and climate change adaptation. We believe this work, which has shown excellent results in our country, can have the same impact in similar surroundings outside Colombia,” said Alejandro Gamboa, APC-Colombia director general.

First experiences of South-South sharing

A previous South-South exchange carried out by CIAT took place in September 2013, in collaboration with Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) within the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Representatives of key institutions from the Colombian and Honduran agricultural sector visited Senegal to share knowledge and lessons learned on adaptation to climate variability, with the aim of better preparing to manage the risks involved through new ideas and collaboration.

Then, in May 2014, a delegation from Senegal was invited to Colombia to get to know first-hand the work undertaken by CIAT and major Colombian institutions working on climate change adaptation.

Last July, a workshop on climate change and food security was organized with the aim of strengthen South-South collaboration between Colombia and Africa. It was attended by a delegation of representatives from Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal.

“This was undoubtedly an inspiring experience. Today, we can say that the seed planted 2 years ago with the first visit of Senegal is starting to bear fruit, as Colombian institutions are boosting innovative initiatives such as “Local Technical Agroclimatic Groups” Task Forces in three subnational regions. We hope to be able to join efforts with APC and continue to strengthen the potential of this South-South exchange mechanism, which benefits each country by sharing and receiving,” said Osana Bonilla, CIAT and CCAFS scientific officer.

Another example of South-South cooperation with Southeast Asia was the “International Training Course on Cassava Witches’ Broom: Diagnostic Methods and Alternatives for Integrated Disease Management,” held at CIAT headquarters. This event, promoted by APC in November 2013, brought together researchers from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Colombia.

Early steps

The first phase of the memorandum of understanding signed today will encompass various activities. In Senegal, training workshops will be held on the use of climate and agronomic modeling, methodologies for assessing present and future suitability of key crops, such as rice, and short- and medium-term planning for investment. The activities will also include sharing of successful organizational experiences with Colombian associations and institutions involved in value chains as well as knowledge sharing visits for technical staff from institutions in Colombia and Senegal. The cooperation will further be extended to Kenya, which has expressed interest in learning about Colombia’s successful experiences with silvopastoral systems, sugarcane, forages, and livestock production, and also to Vietnam.

The memorandum of understanding, which covers the period 2015–2018, was signed at CIAT headquarters, near Cali, Colombia.

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