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North Carolina State University brings new expertise to annual BecA-ILRI Hub workshop

Beca news -

The BecA-ILRI Hub annual workshop on Introduction to Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics (IMBB) kicked off on Monday 9 May 2016 at the ILRI campus in Nairobi. The intensive 11-day workshop attracted 27 participants from national agricultural research systems (NARS) in 11 African countries including Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sudan.

This year’s workshop includes a new component on rapid diagnosis of Phytophthora, a parasitic pathogen of plants that is capable of causing enormous economic losses on crops worldwide, as well as environmental damage in natural ecosystems. Phytophthora infestans was the infective agent of the potato blight that caused the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), and still remains the most destructive pathogen of crops belonging to the Solanaceae family including tomato, potato and eggplant.

The module on Phytophthora diagnosis is facilitated by a leading scientist from North Carolina State University (NCSU), Jean Beagle Ristaino who is a William Neal Reynolds distinguished professor and the director, Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster at the NCSU department of plant pathology.

While many African NARS have basic equipment for molecular biology research, and access to the internet for bioinformatics analysis, the skills to apply the technologies to agricultural research remain largely at the nascent stage. The IMBB workshop seeks to address a skills gap in basic molecular biology and bioinformatics in African national agricultural research systems.

Through this training and other capacity building activities, the BecA-ILRI Hub is contributing to the increased capability for   African scientists and institutions to conduct biosciences research and to develop and deliver improved and new technologies for agriculture.

Ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis as low-tech tool to enhance small ruminant production

CRP 3.7 News -

Productivity and profitability of meat and milk production from small ruminants are geared by reproductive performance. Females that fail to reproduce are only negatively impacting the environment. A major setback here is infertility but other reproductive-related problems are also important. A whole generation of easy-use, high resolution, portable ultrasound machines is now available to provide different levels of information which will translate into concrete management strategies. ICARDA has been testing field solutions for ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis to reduce reproductive losses and increase lambing rates in sheep and goat flocks – initially in with Awassi sheep in agro-pastoral systems of Jordan, Karakul sheep in Aral Sea, Angora goats in Fergana Valley and Menz sheep in Ethiopian highlands. Read the full article
Filed under: Animal Breeding, CRP11, CRP37, Ethiopia, Genetics, Goats, ICARDA, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants

ILRI Vacancy: Administrative Officer – INTERNAL (Closing date: 18 May 2016)

Jobs -

The Position: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit an Administrative Officer who will support the ILRI Ethiopia Head of Administration in the day-to-day management of all administrative services that support ILRI’s activities and operations in Ethiopia.  The administrative units under ILRI Ethiopia administration include Finance, People & Organizational Development, Supply Chain, Information, Communication Technology, Engineering & Facility Management, Housing, Catering & Conferencing, National Liaison & Protocol and Security.  She/he will provide analytical support to the ILRI Ethiopia Head of Administration.

General: ILRI works with partners worldwide to enhance the roles that livestock play in food security and poverty alleviation, principally in Africa and Asia. The outcomes of these research partnerships help people in developing countries keep their farm animals alive and productive, increase and sustain their livestock and farm productivity, find profitable markets for their animal products, and reduce the risk of livestock-related diseases.

A member of the CGIAR Consortium working for a food-secure future, ILRI has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, a principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and offices in other countries in East, West and Southern Africa (Mali, Mozambique and Nigeria) and in South Asia (India and Sri Lanka), Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) and East Asia (China). www.ilri.org.

Main duties and Responsibilities:

  • Define, collect, analyse, report and follow-up on dashboard indicators for all administrative units;
  • Support administrative unit heads in facilitating the improvement of administrative systems;
    • Observe, document and review current work flows including baseline data
    • Collect feedback from stakeholders including service providers and users
    • Facilitate design of new work flows
    • Develop implementation plan
    • Monitor implementation of plans and measure effectiveness
  • Project manage or provide project management support to specific initiatives/projects by planning and managing/ monitoring schedule, cost and quality;
  • Troubleshoot and resolve day-to-day matters through to completion.  Listen to feedback from stakeholders and follow-up on their issues;
  • Review and strengthen control systems;
  • Provide substantive assistance in planning, budgeting, budget monitoring financial analysis and reporting;
  • Support long-term facility management planning;
  • Provide financial analysis on the performance of administrative units including business units;
  • Represent head of administration in meetings when assigned;
  • Help to manage e-mail for Head of Administration by monitoring, prioritizing and responding to select emails;
  • Provide routine administrative assistance such as drafting and/or reviewing correspondence, coordinating meetings, managing calendar, setting meeting objectives and agenda,  taking notes,  supporting the needs of visitors, filing key documents; ordering procurements and reviewing checks to be signed;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirement:

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Management, Business Administration or related subject (MBA preferred)

Experience:

  • Five-years’ experience for bachelor degree holder or two-years’ for MBA holder
  • Experience in one or more of the following disciplines highly desired: project management, business management, systems improvement, budget management, financial analysis, control systems, facility management

Skills:

  • Excellent English written and oral communication is essential
  • Excellent Word, Excel and PowerPoint skill is essential

Personal attributes/Core competencies:

  • Integrity
  • Attention to detail
  • Planning and organizing
  • Management control
  • Judgment
  • Problem analysis, numerical analysis, and commercial awareness
  • Communication skill (oral, written and listening skill)
  • Interpersonal sensitivity
  • Teamwork
  • Initiative
  • Drive and Commitment
  • Customer Service

 Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Job level:   2C. 

Monthly Base Salary: Birr 16,619 (Negotiable depending on experience, skill and salary history of the candidate)

Terms of appointment:  This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position, initial appointment is for three years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and the availability of funding. The ILRI remuneration package for nationally recruited staff in Ethiopia includes very competitive salary and benefits such as life and medical insurance, offshore pension plan, etc.

Applications: Applicants should provide a cover letter and curriculum vitae; names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to be included in the curriculum vitae. The position and reference number: REF: AO/18/16 should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the cover letter. All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal: http://ilri.simplicant.com on or before 18 May 2016.

To find out more about ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org

To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org/ilricrowd/

Suitably qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply.

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Odisha Odyssey: A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India

Spotlight from ILRI news -

 

Odisha_Signboard_Cropped

Bhadrak, Odisha, was one of several ILRI-CSISA project sites in India (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on
‘Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—
A dozen stories from northern and eastern India’.
PART 7:
Odisha Odyssey:
A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India

Written by Jules Mateo, Pradeep Sahoo, Braja Swain and Susan MacMillan

In recent years, scientists of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have been working with institutional partners and local farmer organizations in Odisha, a large eastern state of India on the Bay of Bengal, on research to improve the feed and fodder resources readily available to smallholder livestock keepers. ILRI conducted this collaborative research through a CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aiming to increase and sustain small-farm productivity in selected regions of Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy businesses around the city of Bhadrak, in northern Odisha State, are growing (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

As part of an ILRI photojournalism trip to India undertaken in early Mar 2016, the authors visited a town on the outskirts of Bhadrak, a city in northern Odisha, to capture a bit of what the ILRI-led CSISA work has accomplished for small-scale dairy farmers in the area.

Dairying in Odisha

Dairy cows are kept in sheds and well cared for and fed (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

The team met with dairy producers, home-based cheesemakers, milk collectors and inspectors and other key players in Odisha’s emerging commercial dairy value chain.

A milk collection centre in Odisha

A milk collection centre in Bhadrak run by an ILRI-trained paravet woman (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

First stop was a milk collection centre located in a village on the outskirts of Bhadrak, where customers carrying milk were queuing. This centre is run by a paravet woman who received dairy training from ILRI and local partners in the CSISA project. In addition to collecting milk, the centre provides the dairy farming community with concentrate feeds and good-quality cow and buffalo semen.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Concentrate feeds and cow and buffalo semen are also available at the centre (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A block away was the team’s second stop, a large fodder farm growing various types of improved fodder plants and grasses, which are sold, cut and carried to local dairy cows and buffaloes.

Fodder for dairy cattle

A tract of land for growing fodder for dairy cattle (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

Next on the tour was a nearby integrated crop-livestock farm. And ‘integrated’ it truly was—with just the animal husbandry operations including several milk cows, daily cheese-making in the household kitchen, chickens pecking the earth at the front of the compound, and six large fish ponds at the back of the house, behind the cow stalls.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An integrated farm with dairy cows, cheesemaking, chickens and fish ponds (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Like most smallholder producers, this integrated farm is a family-run business: everyone, every day, helps to raise the animals, feed the fish and make the cheese. The matriarch heading this household runs a tight ship and appears to have good, if ambitious, business sense. When complimented on her efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly integrated farm, she responded, ‘It’s hard work. I don’t sleep well at night’.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

The matriarch of the family who manages an integrated farming business (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The next stop, again only a few blocks away, was another farm, this one with dairy cows chewing their cud and grains drying in the sun at the front of the compound. The man who headed this household and led its dairy business work showed us an enclosed pen where he kept several prized milking cows. In a room next to the pen he stored a chopping machine, manufactured under ILRI’s direction, that he uses to cut fodder into small pieces for easier consumption and digestion by his milk cows.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Grains and milk in a farmer’s yard (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An ILRI-developed chopper is used for cutting fodder for dairy cows (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A milk chilling centre closer to the city proper was the team’s fifth and final stop for the morning. Inside a small single room, the centre’s modern freezer, vats and other milk storage equipment loomed large. The evening and morning milk delivered here by local farmers are chilled and trucked daily to Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

A milk chilling centre on the outskirts of Bhadrak (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Read previous parts in this blog series: Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—A dozen stories from northern and eastern India
Part 1: Colourful convocation: Jimmy Smith addresses graduates of India’s prestigious National Dairy Research Institute, 30 Mar 2016.
Part 2: Elite buffaloes and other exemplars of advanced Indian dairy science at the National Dairy Research Institute, 31 Mar 2016.
Part 3: Culture of the cow: Curds in the city—Better living through smallholder dairying in northern India, 5 Apr 2016.
Part 4: Building better brands and lives through peri-urban dairying and smart crop-dairy farming, 6 Apr 2015
Part 5: Wonder women of Bhubaneswar, 12 Apr 2016.
Part 6: Odisha Odyssey: The Arcadian landscapes and tribal goat keepers of Mayurbhanj, 9 May 2016.

Read more about ILRI’s work in Odisha:
Goat business is big business in India’s Odisha State—Bishnupada Sethi, 23 Feb 2016.
Indian farmers in Odisha, on the Bay of Bengal, face fodder crisis: Using crop ‘wastes’ as feed is one solution, 28 Aug 2015

Note:
On 8 Mar 2016, ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith, his wife Charmaine Smith, ILRI Representative in South Asia Alok Jha, and ILRI research project leader Braja Swain paid courtesy calls on senior government and university officials in Bhubaneswar, the capital of India’s eastern state of Odisha. The ILRI delegation met with the Chief Secretary, AP Padhi, and the Secretary for Odisha’s Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (F&ARD) Department, Bishnupada Sethi, to discuss the state of the livestock sector in Odisha and contributions ILRI could make in improving the lives of farmers dependent on livestock.

ILRI has recently submitted a proposal on ‘Feed and Fodder Production in Different Agro-climatic Zones and Utilization for Livestock of Odisha’ to F&ARD’s Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (DAH&VS).

ILRI has been working in Odisha since 2013 in collaboration with Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) and the state government’s DAH&VS and F&ARD to improve the state’s livestock productivity through better use of crop residues and locally sourced feed supplements within the framework of the CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA).

An international workshop on Improving Livestock Feeding Practice and Enhancement of Feed and Fodder Availability in Odisha was organized jointly by the Society for Management of Information, Learning and Extension (SMILE) and ILRI in 2015.

Based on the workshop’s recommendations, Odisha’s F&ARD Department is recommending the preparation of a comprehensive fodder development plan for Odisha.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

View all the photographs taken in Odisha in this ILRI Flickr album.

Learn more about the ILRI–CSISA project.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

ILRI scientist Braja Swain led the ILRI livestock work for the CSISA project in Odisha. Pradeep Sahoo, an agricultural economist and university lecturer from Odisha, spent two years working on the ILRI–CSISA project in this state. Jules Mateo (based in Manila) and Susan MacMillan (Nairobi) are part of ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management team.


Odisha Odyssey: A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India

News from ILRI -

 

Odisha_Signboard_Cropped

Bhadrak, Odisha, was one of several ILRI-CSISA project sites in India (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on
‘Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—
A dozen stories from northern and eastern India’.
PART 7:
Odisha Odyssey:
A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India

Written by Jules Mateo, Pradeep Sahoo, Braja Swain and Susan MacMillan

In recent years, scientists of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have been working with institutional partners and local farmer organizations in Odisha, a large eastern state of India on the Bay of Bengal, on research to improve the feed and fodder resources readily available to smallholder livestock keepers. ILRI conducted this collaborative research through a CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aiming to increase and sustain small-farm productivity in selected regions of Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy businesses around the city of Bhadrak, in northern Odisha State, are growing (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

As part of an ILRI photojournalism trip to India undertaken in early Mar 2016, the authors visited a town on the outskirts of Bhadrak, a city in northern Odisha, to capture a bit of what the ILRI-led CSISA work has accomplished for small-scale dairy farmers in the area.

Dairying in Odisha

Dairy cows are kept in sheds and well cared for and fed (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

The team met with dairy producers, home-based cheesemakers, milk collectors and inspectors and other key players in Odisha’s emerging commercial dairy value chain.

A milk collection centre in Odisha

A milk collection centre in Bhadrak run by an ILRI-trained paravet woman (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

First stop was a milk collection centre located in a village on the outskirts of Bhadrak, where customers carrying milk were queuing. This centre is run by a paravet woman who received dairy training from ILRI and local partners in the CSISA project. In addition to collecting milk, the centre provides the dairy farming community with concentrate feeds and good-quality cow and buffalo semen.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Concentrate feeds and cow and buffalo semen are also available at the centre (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A block away was the team’s second stop, a large fodder farm growing various types of improved fodder plants and grasses, which are sold, cut and carried to local dairy cows and buffaloes.

Fodder for dairy cattle

A tract of land for growing fodder for dairy cattle (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

Next on the tour was a nearby integrated crop-livestock farm. And ‘integrated’ it truly was—with just the animal husbandry operations including several milk cows, daily cheese-making in the household kitchen, chickens pecking the earth at the front of the compound, and six large fish ponds at the back of the house, behind the cow stalls.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An integrated farm with dairy cows, cheesemaking, chickens and fish ponds (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Like most smallholder producers, this integrated farm is a family-run business: everyone, every day, helps to raise the animals, feed the fish and make the cheese. The matriarch heading this household runs a tight ship and appears to have good, if ambitious, business sense. When complimented on her efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly integrated farm, she responded, ‘It’s hard work. I don’t sleep well at night’.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

The matriarch of the family who manages an integrated farming business (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The next stop, again only a few blocks away, was another farm, this one with dairy cows chewing their cud and grains drying in the sun at the front of the compound. The man who headed this household and led its dairy business work showed us an enclosed pen where he kept several prized milking cows. In a room next to the pen he stored a chopping machine, manufactured under ILRI’s direction, that he uses to cut fodder into small pieces for easier consumption and digestion by his milk cows.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Grains and milk in a farmer’s yard (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An ILRI-developed chopper is used for cutting fodder for dairy cows (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A milk chilling centre closer to the city proper was the team’s fifth and final stop for the morning. Inside a small single room, the centre’s modern freezer, vats and other milk storage equipment loomed large. The evening and morning milk delivered here by local farmers are chilled and trucked daily to Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

A milk chilling centre on the outskirts of Bhadrak (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Read previous parts in this blog series: Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—A dozen stories from northern and eastern India
Part 1: Colourful convocation: Jimmy Smith addresses graduates of India’s prestigious National Dairy Research Institute, 30 Mar 2016.
Part 2: Elite buffaloes and other exemplars of advanced Indian dairy science at the National Dairy Research Institute, 31 Mar 2016.
Part 3: Culture of the cow: Curds in the city—Better living through smallholder dairying in northern India, 5 Apr 2016.
Part 4: Building better brands and lives through peri-urban dairying and smart crop-dairy farming, 6 Apr 2015
Part 5: Wonder women of Bhubaneswar, 12 Apr 2016.
Part 6: Odisha Odyssey: The Arcadian landscapes and tribal goat keepers of Mayurbhanj, 9 May 2016.

Read more about ILRI’s work in Odisha:
Goat business is big business in India’s Odisha State—Bishnupada Sethi, 23 Feb 2016.
Indian farmers in Odisha, on the Bay of Bengal, face fodder crisis: Using crop ‘wastes’ as feed is one solution, 28 Aug 2015

Note:
On 8 Mar 2016, ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith, his wife Charmaine Smith, ILRI Representative in South Asia Alok Jha, and ILRI research project leader Braja Swain paid courtesy calls on senior government and university officials in Bhubaneswar, the capital of India’s eastern state of Odisha. The ILRI delegation met with the Chief Secretary, AP Padhi, and the Secretary for Odisha’s Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (F&ARD) Department, Bishnupada Sethi, to discuss the state of the livestock sector in Odisha and contributions ILRI could make in improving the lives of farmers dependent on livestock.

ILRI has recently submitted a proposal on ‘Feed and Fodder Production in Different Agro-climatic Zones and Utilization for Livestock of Odisha’ to F&ARD’s Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (DAH&VS).

ILRI has been working in Odisha since 2013 in collaboration with Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) and the state government’s DAH&VS and F&ARD to improve the state’s livestock productivity through better use of crop residues and locally sourced feed supplements within the framework of the CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA).

An international workshop on Improving Livestock Feeding Practice and Enhancement of Feed and Fodder Availability in Odisha was organized jointly by the Society for Management of Information, Learning and Extension (SMILE) and ILRI in 2015.

Based on the workshop’s recommendations, Odisha’s F&ARD Department is recommending the preparation of a comprehensive fodder development plan for Odisha.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

View all the photographs taken in Odisha in this ILRI Flickr album.

Learn more about the ILRI–CSISA project.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

ILRI scientist Braja Swain led the ILRI livestock work for the CSISA project in Odisha. Pradeep Sahoo, an agricultural economist and university lecturer from Odisha, spent two years working on the ILRI–CSISA project in this state. Jules Mateo (based in Manila) and Susan MacMillan (Nairobi) are part of ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management team.


This is how coffee farmers in the highlands of Guatemala are adapting to climate change

CRP 7 News -

It is therefore vital to identify best agroecological management practices to adapt to these changes, especially for organic farmers. A project supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) along with several partners* and led by Bioversity International, are conducting research with members of the Asociación Barillense de Agricultores (ASOBAGRI) in the western highlands of Guatemala. The cooperative consists of more than 1,200 organic farmer families.

ASOBAGRI promotes a three-prong plan for improving the resilience of shade-grown, organic coffee production by ensuring that growers are implementing best cultural practices; using two low-cost, biological foliar sprays (one that is a fertilizer and another for control of coffee leaf rust); and encouraging growers to re-plant their plots with a mix of both traditional high quality varieties and disease-resistant varieties which ensure yield. In the video below, farmers explain how they use these local solutions for adaptation.

Joint research with partners

Farmers indicated shade management as the most important measure to sustain coffee productivity under climate change. Therefore the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity are applying niche modeling to predict which tree species are most suitable for establishing shade trees under progressive climate change. These species can also provide additional income and food sources like fruits, nuts, and timber.

Terraces are another best management practice promoted by ASOBAGRI extensionists as an important conservation tool. ASOBAGRI has a rather progressive vision when it comes to soil health and conservation. The cooperative is in the early stages of developing a soil conservation monitoring project, whereby 54 demonstration parcels have been identified to highlight different soil conservation practices and validate innovative organic inputs that boost soil fertility.

Students from the University of Vermont developed with ASOBAGRI technicians and farmers an accessible method to evaluate soil erosion and physical soil processes occurring in their coffee parcels. Preliminary results suggest that residue management has a greater effect on the degree of observed soil erosion than site characteristics such as slope or tree cover, suggesting that despite having to grow on steeply sloping landscapes, farmers can mitigate soil erosion and land degradation with proper residue management.

 Google

Location of Barillas in Huehuetenango (outlined), Guatemala. © GoogleMaps

The farmers considered livelihood diversification as an important component of adaptive capacity and resilience. However, where they live (Huehuetenango department) are far from the capital or even secondary cities, which might offer markets for different agricultural products or diverse labor opportunities.

Migration within the country or into Mexico or Belize offers only one diversification option: poorly paid and strenuous labor on large farms, which our interviewees perceived as exploitative. Access to higher education for men and women family members allows families to further diversify their livelihoods and become more resilient to global change including access to skilled positions in urban areas.

The next best, and most frequently used, options are migration to the United States and, to a lower degree, agricultural diversification. As in other Mesoamerican coffee communities, farmers in Barillas municipality also grow corn, or “milpa,” often harvesting twice a year. But many of our interviewees told us that their corn yields were diminishing, and corn management practices don’t get nearly the development attention that coffee practices do.

Coffee growers at the lower altitudes have diversified into cardamom production, for which a developed market exists in Guatemala. But farmers in this region sell mainly to intermediaries, and receive relatively low prices. It is not perceived to be as profitable as coffee and a thrips pest outbreak was an anticipated threat. Honey is another potential diversification option that has been promoted through past rural development schemes, and is now being produced by some farmers.

Conclusions

Coffee farmers in Huehuetenango are adapting their coffee systems to climate change with support of ASOBAGRI. They benefit from being connected to agroecological research for further adaptation and monitoring systems like in selection of suitable shade trees under climate change and soil conservation evaluation tools. Currently, farmers have little diversification options other than migration to carry out poorly paid seasonal jobs or try getting into the USA.

Some farmers have successfully diversified in cardamom and honey, providing them perspectives to stay. But there are several challenges up to developing multiple and equitable value chains for agricultural products. Lessons can be learned from the experiences of other smallholder associations in Guatemala like in the Maya biosphere where remote forest communities we able to set up biodiverse value chains for export markets allowing smallholders to get out of poverty through sustainable and diversified production.

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