Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Agricultural research and education combine for tangible results in Latin America 

Agricultural research and education combine for tangible results in Latin America 

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Posted by


A body of water is surrounded by mountains. Photo by CATIE

In light of its standing as a regional research platform and a higher education institution of international recognition, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) holds an undeniably important position in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The work carried out by CATIE researchers is focused on generating and disseminating knowledge, putting it into practice and encouraging uptake. From restoration to climate change adaptation and mitigation, conservation strategies and silvopastoral systems, the center’s work spans not only numerous countries but also several decades.

To mark CATIE’s official 45th anniversary this year, Environmental Livestock Unit researchers Cristóbal Villanueva and Danilo Pezo, Forest Seed Bank head Francisco Mesén and genetic resources expert William Solano spoke about key work and achievements.

Read also: CATIE celebrates 45 years of putting knowledge into practice 

What is the history behind the development and use of research on silvopastoral systems at CATIE?

Cristóbal Villanueva and Danilo Pezo: CATIE’s work on silvopastoral systems started in the late 1980s, but initially the emphasis was on the use of tree fodder as a source of feed for ruminants.

Initially, most of the efforts were on native trees such as Erythrina species, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena leucocephala and Calliandra calothyrsus, as well as the introduced Morus alba. All these were managed under different silvopastoral options, mostly the traditional live fences, and intensive fodder banks and alley farming with pastures systems.

Later, emphasis was put on other woody perennial species as well as on the role of different silvopastoral options — such as the most commonly practiced scattered trees in pastures — as a means to diversify production and improve animal welfare in livestock systems, as well as providers of timber and environmental services such as biodiversity, soil and water conservation in livestock dominated landscapes.

More recently, the role of woody perennials as part of adaptation and mitigation strategies on livestock farms has been part of CATIE’s research agenda.

Team members plant seedlings. Photo by CATIE

Over the years, CATIE has been the leader in post-graduate education and training in silvopastoral systems in Latin America, contributing to strengthening the research and development capability of many education and research institutions, as well as NGOs, technical assistance providers and farmer organizations, mostly in Latin American and the Caribbean.

CATIE research findings have also been used as inputs for the design of policies tackling the livestock and environmental interphase in the region. At a global level, CATIE has shared its learnings through several publications, as well as presentations at international congresses, conferences and seminars.

Watch: CATIE: el destino para una educación superior de excelencia

How is CATIE’s Forest Seed Bank used, and who benefits from this valuable resource? 

Francisco Mesén: The CATIE Forest Seed Bank (BSF), which has existed for 51 years, is a self-sustainable commercial unit that distributes the seeds of 50 forest species as well as coffee clones of high genetic quality.

Each year BSF seeds reach more than 170 clients in 20 countries in America, Asia and Africa, supplying private companies to national reforestation programs. The BSF maintains commercial agreements with partners in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru for seed distribution and promotion.

The seeds that we distribute come either from our own sources, from selected third-party sources, or from other seed banks in the region. In addition to strict internal quality control, we are also under the supervision of the Costa Rican Seed Certification Office, which certifies both the physical and genetic quality of our seeds.

In our training, marketing and promotion efforts, we develop our agenda in conjunction with our partners in member countries. We provide continuous advice to our clients as required, and we receive an average of 300 visitors per year to our headquarters, including politicians, producers, businessmen, technicians and students.

Read also: CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

What is the story of CATIE’s germplasm collection, and which stakeholders now benefit from its use?

William Solano: CATIE’s germplasm collections date back to the 1940s. In 1976, the germplasm bank was formally established as a center for the conservation and use of the plant genetic resources of Mesoamerica.

The collections were placed under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2004 and two years later were under the jurisdiction of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The germplasm that CATIE conserves has worldwide relevance due to its quantity and diversity.

Different types of cacao varieties can be found in CATIE’s International Cacao Collection. Photo by CATIE

The most representative field collections are coffee, cacao, peach palm and sapotaceae fruits, while the most important seed collections are those of cucurbits, tomato and pepper. Many of the accessions are unique and not represented in collections elsewhere. The collections include accessions of wild relatives of crops, a valuable resource for future genetic improvement.

There are several examples of CATIE’s germplasm distribution to users who have promoted the economic development of new crops and helped tackle new diseases in crops of high economic value. CATIE highlighted the distribution of selected seven cocoa clones resulting from its Cocoa Breeding Program — known for their high yield, resistance to moniliasis and excellent chocolate quality (two of them were in the top 10 at the Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris in 2009) — to smallholders throughout Central America.

These clones were fundamental for a key initiative of the Central American Cacao Project aimed at modernizing cocoa plantations in an integrated manner in order to improve the income and living conditions of families in the region.

The distribution throughout the region of hybrids F1 with resistance to coffee rust, which were derived from introductions in the CATIE collection, is also of great value to the coffee sector. These materials are characterized by 30 to 50 percent higher productivity than traditional varieties and have an exceptional cup quality – one of them won the Cup of Excellence competition in 2016 – as well as tolerance to adverse weather conditions such as drought, flooded soil and frost.

Also worth noting is a germplasm transfer in the 1960s, from the CATIE coffee collection to Panama, of the Geisha variety, which led to the production of a high-quality specialty coffee with a very high market value, reaching US$601 per pound. Another product of CATIE’s coffee germplasm collection is the “Nemaya” rootstock variety, which is resistant to major nematodes affecting the Central American coffee sector.

Small-scale farmers, including indigenous communities, have also benefited from native germplasm of important food crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and squash, presenting valuable agronomic traits such as nutritional quality, better taste, good adaptation to different climatic conditions and resistance to diseases and pests. CATIE makes this germplasm available to all users, in a continuing contribution to meeting the current challenges of agriculture.

Read also: Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator, and Karla Salazar, CATIE Communicator.

Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Impacto del cambio climático sobre la cadena de valor del café en el Perú

Impacto del cambio climático sobre la cadena de valor del café en el Perú

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Posted by


Climate change is affecting the value chain of Peruvian coffee. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperature variations reduce crop productivity and decrease its quality. The present study estimates that between 13% and 40% of the coffee area of the country’s northeast will no longer be suitable for coffee; these areas should develop adaptation strategies and actions that contemplate crop change. Between 85% and 45% of producers will have to carry out actions of incremental or systemic adaptation that allow crop sustainability, which includes sources of additional income.

Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Local tree knowledge can fast-track agroforestry recommendations for coffee smallholders along a climate gradient in Mount Elgon, Uganda

Local tree knowledge can fast-track agroforestry recommendations for coffee smallholders along a climate gradient in Mount Elgon, Uganda

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Posted by


Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) is economically important for many smallholder farmers in the Mount Elgon region of East Uganda, but its production is increasingly threatened by climate change. However, ecosystem services (ES) provided by companion trees in coffee agroforestry systems (AFS) can help farmers adapt to climate change.

The objectives of this research were to develop agroforestry species recommendations and tailor these to the farmers’ needs and local context, taking into consideration gender. Local knowledge of agroforestry species and ES preferences was collected through farmer interviews and rankings. Using the Bradley-Terry approach, analysis was done along an altitudinal gradient in order to study different climate change scenarios for coffee suitability. Farmers had different needs in terms of ES and tree species at different altitudes, e.g. at low altitude they need a relatively larger set of ES to sustain their coffee production and livelihood. Local knowledge is found to be gender blind as no differences were observed in the rankings of species and ES by men and women.

Ranking species by ES and ranking ES by preference is a useful method to help scientists and extension agents to use local knowledge for the development of recommendations on companion trees in AFS for smallholder farmers.

Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Turning local knowledge on Agroforestry into an online decision support tool for tree selection in smallholder farms

Turning local knowledge on Agroforestry into an online decision support tool for tree selection in smallholder farms

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Posted by




This paper presents the main features of a unique decision-support tool developed for selecting tree species in coffee and cocoa agroforestry systems. This tool aims at assisting in the selection of appropriate shade trees taking into account local conditions as well as needs and preferences of smallholder farmers while maximizing ecosystem services from plot to landscape level. This user-friendly and practical tool provides site-specific recommendations on tree species selection via simple graphical displays and is targeted towards extension services and stakeholders directly involved in sustainable agroforestry and adaptation to climate change. The tool is based on a simple protocol to collect local agroforestry knowledge through farmers’ interviews and rankings of tree species with respect to locally perceived key ecosystem services. The data collected are first analysed using the BradleyTerry2 package in R, yielding the ranking scores that are used in the decision-support tool. Originally developed for coffee and cocoa systems of Uganda and Ghana, this tool can be extended to other producing regions of the world as well as to other cropping systems. The tool will be tested to see if repeated assessments show consistent ranking scores, and to see if the use of the tool by extension workers improves their shade tree advice to local farmers.

Published at Experimental Agriculture, Cambridge University Press

Open access

Publication year: 2016

Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Update on gender research projects

Update on gender research projects

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
Posted by


ICRAF | Bioversity International | CIAT | CIFOR

Climate change is severely affecting Yunnan Province. Photo: Louis Putzel/CIFOR
Climate change is severely affecting Yunnan Province. Photo: Louis Putzel/CIFOR


Gender and climate change in China’s Yunnan Province

In 2016, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) East and Central Asia office (ECA) has made significant progress on gender and climate change research to inform policy makers in China’s Yunnan Province.

First, ICRAF-ECA has recently been investigating how gender affects climate change adaptation throughout Yunnan. This Poverty and Vulnerability Analysis China Gender Report will be published as a working paper before the end of this year.

It is a part of a wider initiative investigating how gender has influenced climate change adaptation throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which includes Nepal, Pakistan and India. All research teams involved in this initiative used the Livelihood Vulnerability Index, developed by Hahn in 2009.

Preliminary results show that climate change has severely affected Yunnan Province and that few interventions have tried to better prepare local communities for future changes in livelihoods, water availability and natural disasters. It seems that most households are extremely vulnerable and have few resources to support short or long-term mitigation efforts in response to climate change. In this context, gender is one of the factors in predicting adaptation and vulnerability.

Additionally a paper on gender-specific responses to drought in Yunnan Province is currently being revised in line with comments received from journal reviewers. This paper reveals that during the period of record-breaking drought from 2009-2012, women’s changing role in agriculture and household resource management had important consequences for individual and community responses to water resource stresses.

Perceptions of drought impacts and of responses to the drought differed significantly according to gender. However, government policies and practices which aim to support adaptation and adaptive capacity have so far failed to take this gender differentiation into account, and as a result may be out of step with local drought responses, and may even serve to further marginalize mountain women in water resource management.

Finally two Chinese language book chapters about gender and climate change adaptation will be included in the book “Gender analysis of climate change impacts and adaptation” (in Chinese), also to be published this year.

A workshop is planned before the end of the year in Yunnan to disseminate the book among government officers and discuss relevant research findings and policy options.

For more information please contact Yufang Su at

Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry

Bioversity International

Project: Conservation for diversified and sustainable use of fruit tree genetic resources in Central Asia

The project ‘Conservation for diversified and sustainable use of fruit tree genetic resources in Central Asia’ aims to improve the prospects for long-term food security and livelihoods of farmers in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its focus is on generating and disseminating knowledge about fruit and nut tree species, including traits that are important for adaptation and nutrition, their patterns of genetic diversity and how to effectively conserve them.

As primary users and custodians of fruit trees, both women and men play a key role in the management, conservation and transfer of fruit tree resources to future generations. Understanding gender-specific practices, knowledge and perceptions related to forests and trees as well as associated gender-based constraints in their management is essential to co-develop, with local forest managers, equitable innovations in the management of fruit tree genetic resources.

In September, national research partners in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan havecompleted a set of participatory research activities and interviews in project sites to explore gender-specific forest and fruit-tree-related knowledge, practices and interests.

Semi-structured interviews focused on the state’s role in forest management have been conducted with staff from 20 Forestry Enterprises (national forest management units). In parallel, 390 semi-structured interviews have been held with local men and women who manage fruit trees in their home gardens to understand resource management decisions and sourcing of planting material. The focus was on varieties of apple (Malus spp.), apricot (Prunus armeniaca) and walnut (Juglans regia) grown. Finally, 26 focus group discussions on local fruit tree management practices have been held with forest dwellers in separate women’s and men’s groups. Data are currently being cleaned and translated into English.

Results will provide guidance on how to foster the equitable participation of men and women in the management of fruit tree genetic resources in home gardens and forests. They will also help identify strategies for promoting the use of ‘wild’ (forest-based) fruit and nut tree genetic resources in home gardens; for addressing threats to wild populations of fruit and nut species; and for capturing opportunities for sustainable use and conservation of wild fruit and nut tree populations.

National research partners are :

  • Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Center of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
  • Kyrgyz National Agrarian University
  • Institute of Horticulture of Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The project is coordinated by Bioversity International with financing from the Government of Luxembourg and with co-funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

For more information please contact Marlene Elias at

Photo: CIAT
Photo: CIAT


Looking at gender in coffee agroforestry in Nicaragua

The research on gender, tree uses, and decision-making patterns among shade coffee producers in Tuma la Dalia, Nicaragua has made some progress.

Research suggests that coffee agroforestry producers in Latin American countries derive significant commercial and subsistence value from the non-coffee products of the agroforestry system, for example, timber, fuelwood, and fruits. However, there is a lack of consideration of gender aspects within the research, for example, how uses derived from the agroforestry system may vary between men and women producers.

The objectives are:

  • Analyze how men and women value and use trees on farms.
  • Understand the role of men and women in the decision-making process on the use and management of trees.

The research results shall support the development of gender-sensitive climate change interventions focused on high value tree crops. CIAT partners with the Fundación para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Agropecuario y Forestal de Nicaragua (FUNICA).

Findings suggest that women perceive more household uses of farm trees than men. Furthermore, women may be more prone to giving more importance than men to fruit trees than those used for timber. Results also demonstrate that although men tend to dominate decision-making processes, women and men both participate in decision-making on harvest sales and how to use income.

For more information please contact Tatiana Gumucio at


Photo: Carol J. Pierce Colfer
Photo: Carol J. Pierce Colfer

Gendered dimensions of agricultural land investments

The social and environmental effects of large-scale agricultural investments in forested landscapes have been extensively documented and debated in public and scholarly spheres, compelling a reassessment of investment policies and rural development plans, agrarian reforms, and regulatory safeguards on the part of host governments and the donor community.

While land deals come with promises of economic prosperity, studies suggest that their negative externalities have disproportionately impacted resource-poor groups, including women and landless farmers.

Within the vast literature on large-scale land acquisitions, or “land grabs”, there has been relatively little research systematically documenting mediating factors that affect rural women and men in the process of agribusiness investments or how different outcomes might be realized under more smallholder-inclusive investment models.

This research contributes to CIFOR’s gendered research agenda by examining the ways in which women and men are differently affected by agribusiness expansion into forested landscapes of Tanzania.

How do factors such as tenure regimes, institutional context and norms, market conditions, financial and other types of capital, intra-household relations, or other social practices mediate the ways in which women and men are differentially integrated into investor supply chains?

How are feminine and masculine domains reinforced, restructured, or renegotiated as a result of inclusion or exclusion into different investment modalities?

For more Information please contact Emily Gallagher at

Gender Café at previous Global Landscapes Forum. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT
Gender Café at previous Global Landscapes Forum. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT

Upcoming events: Panel discussion and side events at GLF and COP

Concerns over gender equality and women’s empowerment are increasingly considered in climate change policy at the global level.

There are currently over 50 UNFCCC decisions that support gender integration in climate policy, including the two-year Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG). The LWPG was initated at COP20 in Lima 2014 with a two-fold objective: enhancing the gender balance of the UNFCCC negotiations; and achieving gender-responsive climate policy.

However, while there now is a clear global mandate to develop and implement gender-responsive climate policy and action, these commitments are often not evident in national climate policies. For instance, only 40% of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted to the secretariat before COP21 in Paris made any references to women or gender. In the instances such references were made, they often served to paint a rather generalized picture of women as ‘vulnerable populations’.

The focus of COP22 will be on the implementation of the Paris Agreement: How are the Parties to the Agreement going to deliver on the promises made in Paris? This year’s COP also marks the end of the two-year LWPG. Parties and observer organizations have thus been urged by the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to share experiences and views to guide the possible continuation and enhancement of the program.

Given the gap between the global commitments to gender-responsive climate policy and their systematic implementation on a national level, it is of crucial importance to highlight and assess some of the existing attempts to address gender issues in climate policies.

Towards this end, the gender integration team is partnering with a wide range of organizations to bring together a high-level panel at the Global Landscapes Forum 2016 in Marrakesh on Wednesday November 16th. The focus will be on translating these global commitments into national and local actions. Partners are UN Women, UNDP–UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF).

Together with the same partners, we are also convening a skills share session at the GGCA Innovation Forum on Saturday November 12th, as well as a side-event at the UNFCCC COP22 (green zone) on Monday November 14th.

The above sessions will delve into the national processes of drafting and implementing gender-responsive climate policy. Particularly, the panelists will explore the role of multiple stakeholders – ranging from advocates and practitioners to researchers and donors – in supporting such processes.

The sessions will further investigate if, how and when ‘gender-responsive policies’ actually enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment on the ground. Participants will be invited to share achievements and challenges of drafting and implementing gender-responsive climate policy and action thus far, thereby fostering South–South learning of good practices.

The sessions will also provide an opportunity to deliberate over a minimum set of standards that countries could follow to ensure that commitment towards addressing gender equality are firmly rooted in national climate policy and action and that mechanisms for accountability, monitoring and continuous learning are in place.


Notice: Undefined index: id in /home/ft4user/ on line 3
  • Home
  • Projected climate change impacts on climatic suitability and geographical distribution of banana and coffee plantations in Nepal

Projected climate change impacts on climatic suitability and geographical distribution of banana and coffee plantations in Nepal

Notice: Undefined variable: id_overview in /home/ft4user/ on line 64
Posted by


World Agroforestry Centre 2015, Working Paper

Global circulation models all forecast that climate change will increase mean temperatures and change precipitation regimes. Change in bioclimatic conditions will impact the productivity of high-value agricultural crops. As a result of this change, traditional cash crop-growing regions may disappear and new regions may become available.

Back to top

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Connect with us