IDB, FONTAGRO, Government of New Zealand sign agreement on climate change mitigation and agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Consortium of research institutions will implement the program

The Government of New Zealand, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (Fontagro) signed today an agreement to work together for the first time on climate change mitigation and agriculture projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The project, selected during IDB FONTAGRO’S 2010 call for proposals, and with additional funding support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of New Zealand, will be implemented in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, to improve the national greenhouse gases inventories and develop mitigation options adapted to the farming conditions of each country. 

In Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia, agriculture is the main contributor to greenhouse emissions, representing 76%, 44% and 45% of total emissions respectively. In particular, beef cattle production is an important source of income to the local economies, but also a main contributor to greenhouse emissions. 

The project will be coordinated by the National Institute of Industry and Agriculture (INIA) of Uruguay and will be implemented by a consortium of national research institutions and universities of Latin America with a contribution of Programa Cooperativo para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Agroalimentario y Agroindustrial del Cono Sur (PROCISUR) and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC). 

New Zealand’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) will join with the other research institutes from the region to participate in the project to provide technical support. NZAGRC has a world class research programme delivered through its 9 New Zealand partners, all well known in agriculture research circles. NZAGRC Director Dr. Harry Clark says “we are excited to be working with FONTAGRO and the participating countries and I have high expectations for this project. It will help build much needed capacity for livestock mitigation research in the region. The project coordinator from INIA Uruguay Dr. Veronica Ciganda was the first recipient of a New Zealand LEARN Fellowship and spent time here in 2008” added Dr Clark. “Veronica is already familiar with our research efforts and our researchers and we look forward to expanding our cooperation further through this project.” Dr. Ciganda also works with Dr. Clark as co-lead of the Ruminant sub-group of the Livestock Group of the Global Research Alliance. 

This collaboration between New Zealand, IDB and FONTAGRO will contribute to the overall efforts of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a global initiative led by New Zealand with the participation of 34 member countries, and is expected to be the start of a broader collaboration between New Zealand and the region. 


The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the leading multilateral financial institution for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB offers financial products and resources to help countries in the region promote growth and reduce poverty and inequality in a sustainable way. This initiative is encompassed within IDB’s objectives of promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation and food security in the region. 


A regional fund to support research and innovation in agriculture to improve small holder agriculture as a mechanism to reduce poverty, promote food security and protect the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the last 12 years FONTAGRO has supported 72 projects for a total of US$66 million in partnership with co financiers and national research institutions. 

FONTAGRO’s projects have contributed with valuable knowledge to increase agricultural productivity, tackle rural poverty and protect the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean through collaborative efforts among researches of multiple countries from within and outside the region. 

FONTAGRO is sponsored by the IDB and the Inter-American Institute for Agriculture (IICA) with 14 member countries in the region and Spain. 


The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of New Zealand is contributing NZ$500,000 of funding towards this project from the Government’s Global Research Alliance budget. New Zealand Minister of Agriculture Hon. David Carter said that “New Zealand is delighted to be able to support this project with funding and technical expertise. It demonstrates real commitment and leadership from these countries to tackle a global challenge and we anticipate it will become a model replicated by others. The project has been specifically designed to address the needs of participating countries in a coordinated and efficient manner and it is exactly the sort of initiative that New Zealand wants to see emerging from the Global Research Alliance.”