CABI’s centre in São Paulo, Brazil, was opened at the end of 2010. It operates across the whole of Latin America, providing high quality scientific knowledge, information and expertise to the Latin American nations. This is a region with a diverse climate, high biodiversity and highly sensitive environments, where a wide range of crops and livestock are farmed and traded, particularly coffee and cocoa. The region presents significant opportunities for improving the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture.
The centre supports CABI’s global Plantwise programme, and works with partner institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce crop losses. It also implements projects related to integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control of agricultural and forest pests, and invasive weeds. Smallholder farmers are encouraged to use IPM approaches to control pests and the centre works to identify practical and sustainable methods of pest control, which also protect the environment and the health of the local community.
Food security is important for countries in the region and the centre encourages them to embrace sustainable production methods. The centre also works to improve information sharing and communication between farmers and other stakeholders.
The centre collaborates with a number of organizations across the region, from local and national governments to universities and commercial enterprises. Examples of mutually beneficial relationships include collaboration with EMBRAPA, one of the main agricultural institutions in Brazil, and the São Paulo universities, UNESP and ESALQ, among many other partners in the region.
Work carried out by the centre is having a positive impact on the region’s economy and environment. Colombia and Chile are both CABI Member Countries, and CABI hopes to be able to welcome other nations in the region as members in the future.
Looking ahead, the centre will continue to strengthen CABI’s presence in the region, opening new projects and creating opportunities for further co-operation with the nations of Latin America.
CABI - Brazil
The coffee berry borer (CBB) is the most serious coffee pest, worldwide, causing crop damage in excess of $US500 million, annually. In Colombia, 75% of coffee crops are affected by this pest, where it directly damages coffee beans, destroying the taste and making the beans unsaleable. Furthermore, climate change is enabling the wider spread of CBB, especially at higher altitudes. To overcome losses, the trend amongst farmers is to intensify their activities and expand growing areas. CABI and partners are producing an alert system that uses climatic data and remote sensing technology to give farmers advance warnings of CBB surges, allowing them time to access and apply controls. Biopesticides will be profiled by CABI and relayed into the alert system to further advance the farmers’ abilities to select the right product, at the right time. Women farmers are also integral to the project and to on-farm decision-making but a lack of access to information reduces their participation. This project will focus on overcoming gender disparities in coffee farming.