Scientific and industry leadership converge around sustainable food security
Written by Melissa Reichwage
The Latin America Conservation Council (LACC) brings together about 30 global leaders seeking a balanced approach to development and conservation in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The LACC held its fourth annual meeting at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, on 6-8 November.
During their stay, LACC members toured CIAT’s world class genebank, which forms part of a global effort to protect the genetic diversity of globally important food crops as a vital heritage of humankind. In the opening reception, LACC co-chair Roberto Hernandez and TNC President & CEO Mark Tercek signed a 5-year partnership agreement with Ruben Echeverría, CIAT’s Director General, committing all three organizations to the common goal of doubling food production with no new habitat loss by promoting the adoption of innovative production practices. The partnership permits a timely convergence of scientific and industry leadership to focus on a major global challenge for people and nature: achieving sustainable food security.
With almost 25% of the world’s arable land, Latin America currently produces about 11% of the global food supply. The region is poised to become the “next global breadbasket,” if political and market forces can be aligned in support of initiatives to achieve sustainable harvests, as outlined in a recent publication prepared by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in partnership with the Global Harvest Initiative.
By promoting sustainable intensification of agriculture on already cleared and/or degraded lands, the new partnership aims to close yield gaps and halt deforestation. Specific areas of collaboration include, but are not limited to, climate-smart agriculture and sustainable livestock production. The latter focus is especially urgent, since cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in key regional ecosystems, like the Amazon Basin.