Giving Compass' Take:

• Big data has become a trend in agriculture as scientists are collecting large sets of research on climate conditions, crop genetics, and other factors, such as soil type. This data is now being used to develop new farming technologies for small-scale farmers in tropical locations. 

• What can agricultural research do to support small-scale farmers and build sustainability in the food system? How can donors support research efforts?

• Learn about climate-smart grains in Africa. 

Small-scale farmers throughout the tropics have long faced serious challenges. Many have struggled to secure access to nutritious food and good incomes. Climate change and ever dwindling natural resources make life even more difficult. However, with challenge comes opportunity. Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), informs Food Tank that there is good reason to be hopeful about the problems facing tropical agriculture—and agricultural research has a large role to play.

CIAT is based in Cali, Columbia, but they have projects in more than 50 countries. The institute works with small-scale farmers in low-income countries to improve food security, incomes, resilience, and natural resource management. To achieve their goals, CIAT develops new crop varieties, farming techniques, and technologies and disseminates them to farmers. CIAT also uses research, outreach, and policy engagement to help improve small-scale farmers livelihoods and integrate them into markets. In recent years, climate change resilience and sustainability have become top priorities for the organization.

Read the full article on making tropical agriculture more resilient and sustainable by Colton Fagundes at Food Tank