|San Jose, 6 July 2023 (IICA) – Agriculture faces the challenging task of adapting to the impacts of climate change, but it can also contribute to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, stated Diego Arias, Agriculture and Food Program manager at the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, in an interview with AgroAmérica, broadcast on the TV channel AgroMais in Brazil.|
“The sector’s environmental agenda no longer consists only of adapting, but also of contributing to climate change mitigation. We must work so that small farmers can demonstrate the contributions they make in terms of the environment”, said Arias.Arias explained that the World Bank grants funding—usually non-refundable—to farmer cooperatives or associations that present green projects that not only aim to improve productivity but also to adapt to and mitigate climate change.“The cooperatives or associations must present a business plan to the Ministries of Agriculture of their respective countries, through which the World Bank grants funding. In this way, we establish productive alliances, in which we give subsidies aimed at sustaining best practices and opening new markets”, he explained.During the interview, Arias informed that the World Bank is the multilateral funding agency owned by the countries. Its Board of Directors is comprised of the ministers of finance and Central Bank governors. Support is provided to the countries through loans and donations as well as through analytical work, which consists of preparing studies and providing technical assistance.Arias explained that there are three pillars on which the World Bank’s policy on agriculture and food is based: its economic role, since the sector constitutes the livelihood of rural families, most of whom are small scale farmers; agriculture’s contribution to environmental care given its link to climate change and the conservation of biodiversity; and its close relationship with food safety.Impact of extreme weather events“In the last 15 or 20 years, the World Bank has received a large number of requests from the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean related to the rise in climate volatility and extreme weather events, which are increasingly frequent and have an impact on agri-food production. We provide support through funding and strategic studies to promote adaptation to this new reality”, revealed Arias, who holds a Doctorate in Agri-food and Environmental Economy.“We have made many investments in research”, he added, “for example, to produce drought-resistant seeds, more efficient or precise water management systems or precision agriculture. The goal is to make farmers more resilient to these shocks. We also work with financial instruments, such as agriculture insurance”.Arias gave some examples of cases in which the World Bank has financed and provided technical assistance to climate-smart agriculture projects related to drip irrigation, combination livestock and forestry systems, direct seeding and precision agriculture with digital technology that contributes to reducing the use of fertilizers or herbicides.“Today, one trillion dollars goes toward climate financing, of which only 2% goes to the agri-food sector. This is because the vast majority of farmers are small and reporting and verifying the environmental benefits they provide is very expensive. We are working with several partners and countries on how to verify reduced emissions in small agricultural units, so that family farmers can receive climate funding. This is possible through satellite images, which will eliminate the need for farmer-to-farmer measurement and monitoring”.At the end of the interview, Arias assured that the agri-food sector is in a position to capture more resources to adapt to climate change and also contribute to mitigation: “These resources must be leveraged by family farming, which plays a key role in terms of the economy, environment and sustainability of food safety”.AgroAmérica is a program broadcast by the Brazilian TV channel AgroMais, owned by Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação and produced in partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The program comments on current affairs in the agriculture sector and rural life in IICA member countries with a view to promoting an exchange of experiences and discussing challenges and opportunities for Latin America and the Caribbean in agricultural and rural development.
|About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.|
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