World Agroforestry Centre and Embrapa sign cooperation agreement
A cooperation agreement signed between the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in Brasilia builds on a longstanding relationship between the two institutions.
Ravi Prabhu, ICRAF deputy director general for research, said Embrapa’s agricultural research is internationally renowned, and “this MoU opens up great possibilities for collaboration between ICRAF and Embrapa, not just within Brazil but in other areas of mutual interest, such as Central America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa, regions where both institutions already have active programs.”
A specific effort underway is a four-year Programme for the Development of Alternative Biofuel Crops, which is being implemented by ICRAF with partners in South Asia, Latin America and Africa, including Embrapa. It is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
According to Prabhu, the program is designed to conduct research and development along biofuel value chains while also strengthening food security and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
In Brazil, the program is focused in the Northeast, looking at research gaps that limit development and scaling up of pro-poor macaúba value chains. A palm tree native to tropical America, the highly productive macaúba has nontoxic oil-bearing fruits that can be used for many purposes along the value chain, including production of animal feed, fuel briquettes, activated charcoal and cosmetics. The tree is drought tolerant and often grows on poor soils.
ICRAF is partnering with Embrapa and other centres of excellence to develop silvopastoral and agroforestry systems in the Northeast region that integrate food crops and/or livestock with macaúba trees, benefitting smallholder producers.
Jonathan Cornelius, regional coordinator of ICRAF in Latin America, also present at the signing on Aug. 19, said that ICRAF has a long history of collaboration with Embrapa in Brazil, pointing to the ASB partnership and the Amazon Initiative.
“For ICRAF-Latin America,” said Cornelius, “the signing of this MoU opens up exciting new vistas for joint researchnot just in the highly promising area of biofuels but also in new areas of participatory research in themes such as silvopastoral systems, land rehabilitation and oil palm agroforestry. We are looking forward to working with our Embrapa colleagues in developing these and other lines of activity.”
Written by Nona Marie Sheck of ICRAF Latin America regional office.
The ICRAF Latin American regional office has headquarters in Lima, Peru, with offices concentrating on Amazonia in Pucallpa, Peru and Belem, Brazil, and one in Turrialba, Costa Rica, that focuses on work in Central America.
For more information, contact:
ICRAF Latin America regional office; Telephones + 51 1 349-6017, 349-6021, 348-5134; E-mail: ICRAF_LA@cgiar.org