Last July, CIAT´s tropical forages and soils laboratories opened their doors to students from the University of the Amazon in Colombia’s Caquetá Department, giving them the opportunity to strengthen their capacity in the use of diverse tools and techniques.
The training focused mainly on assessing the usefulness of different forage species for silvopastoral systems, which combine improved forages with trees, enabling farmers to intensify food and livestock production sustainably, while at the same time capturing carbon to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The visit formed part of an agreement under which the university contributes to a project called Sustainable Amazon Landscapes (SAL), which is led by CIAT´s Ecosystem Services Team. “This experience has given us a knowledge of protocols, techniques, and practices used by the Center in Latin America and the Caribbean, which we can now implement in the laboratory at our Macagual Research Center,” said Faber Álvarez, a professor and researcher with the university´s Faculty of Agricultural and Livestock Sciences.
During the training, laboratory staff showed the students how to apply methods for assessing GHG emissions in different crop and livestock systems, analyzing the nutritional quality of pastures, and studying animal nutrition in relation to soils and forages.
“Learning step by step how to handle soil samples and getting to know more about research strategies that are relevant to my thesis work were the most useful parts of the training for me,” said Sandra Londoño, who is working on a degree in agroforestry at the university.
According to Johana Mazabel, a chemist with CIAT´s Forage Quality and Animal Nutrition Laboratory, “the experience was really enriching for all the members of our team because of what we learned and the scientific knowledge we shared, based on many years of professional growth and experience in conducting animal nutrition research at CIAT.”
In bringing the event to a close, Jacobo Arango, head of the forages laboratory, also acknowledged his team’s important contribution: “We’re an organization whose doors are always open and that works closely with other research areas to make training activities like this possible.”
Finally, Marcela Quintero, leader of CIAT´s Ecosystems Services Team and of the Sustainable Amazon Landscapes (SAL) Project (financed by Germany´s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), thanked all of the participants for their interest in strengthening research capacities, fostering greater collaboration, and benefiting from the agreement between partners, who make possible all of the project´s activities.