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Central American agriculture will benefit from the new geospatial information system

Central American agriculture will benefit from the new geospatial information system

IICA and a Mexican research center have signed an agreement for work on the development of solutions to food security issues in Central America.

The Director General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos, and of CENTROGEO, José Ignacio Chapela.

Mexico City, 21 January 2015 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Mexico’s Centro de Investigación en Geografía y Geomática (CENTROGEO) are to develop a Web platform for Central America’s ‘dry corridor’ and Panama’s ‘dry arc.’ The innovative geospatial information and knowledge system in question will help improve agricultural productivity and competitiveness in the region.

The Directors General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos, and the CENTROGEO, José Ignacio Chapela, signed a technical cooperation agreement designed to boost agriculture’s contribution to the development of territories and rural well-being by creating the platform, which will provide geospatial information about physiographic features, natural resources, land use, and demographic, economic, social, and climate trends.

The institutions will also endeavor to create a mechanism for interaction among government agencies, producers, and academics.

Central America’s dry corridor runs along the region’s Pacific coast and is highly vulnerable, as it is subject to low precipitation and high temperatures, as well as other effects of climate variability.

The geospatial information generated by the new platform would be used for specific research projects in the corridor designed to produce information and knowledge about the problems that exist, models for area-based intervention, and climate scenarios.

The platform would underpin the operation of a formal knowledge network and provide a range of Web tools for interaction and the communication of results, in order to promote fresh lines of research.

The agreement between IICA and the CENTROGEO calls for work in three stages:

• Design and basic development of the platform and design of the formal knowledge network. 
• Development of the Geospatial Information System module and review of the collection of documents containing the findings of, and detailing the progress made by, research and projects related to the corridor. 
• Incorporation of a system for monitoring the Central American dry corridor and Panama’s dry arc. 

The information generated would make it possible to improve agricultural productivity and competitiveness, and the sector’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It would also facilitate better use of natural resources and enable agriculture to make a bigger contribution to food security.

In working together, IICA and the CENTROGEO aim to make a more effective contribution to the sustainable development of agriculture and the improvement of rural living conditions; facilitate the public-private sector dialogue on agriculture; and enhance the competitiveness of agrifood chains while promoting equity.

IICA, the international agency of the Inter-American System specializing in agriculture, was founded more than 70 years ago, while the CENTROGEO is a state-run, primarily research center that forms part of the system operated by Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).

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