NEXus Thinking for sustainable AGricultural development in Andean countries (NEXT-AG)

Lead Research Organisation: Cranfield University
Department Name: School of Water, Energy and Environment

Abstract

Food security is consistently seen as one of the key global challenges for the coming decades. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), currently representing 13% of total food trade, could contribute to solving this challenge given its comparative advantage in terms of water and land availability. Agricultural exports and increasing global food demand represent a big opportunity for the economic development of LAC countries. In the last decades, governments have designed programmes, regulations and institutions aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in countries like Ecuador and Peru. However, there is some evidence of this agricultural expansion already causing some environmental problems (e.g. aquifer overexploitation) and impacts on sectors competing for the same resources (energy). Getting the Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) nexus right is crucial for LAC countries to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture and the economy without compromising natural resources availability for present and future generations. NEXT-AG's aim is to provide policymakers in those countries with the needed evidence base that allows them to develop new coordinated policies and programmes for increasing resilience and promoting sustainable economic growth in the context of increasing national and global food demand.

The project has five main areas: 1) Data collection; 2) Policy and institutional mapping; 3) Modelling and integration; 4) Dissemination and outreach; 5) Project management. The core part of the project is the modelling of the different components of the WEFE nexus, done in collaboration with stakeholders, and their integration, which results will form the needed evidence base to inform future agricultural policies. Specifically, the project team will 1) collect and synthesise evidence on available water and energy resources and their use in agriculture and interaction with other sectors, showing key dependencies and trade-offs, and how the most relevant national policies and development plans might be influencing those links; 2) develop a participatory modelling framework to study the trade-offs between food production and key biophysical and environmental nexus components under contrasting climate, policy and socio-economic scenarios; 3) inform policymaking on how to better integrate nexus thinking into future coordinated policies and development strategies. The outcomes of the project will not only be relevant for Andean countries, but for other developing countries where food exports are one of the key economic activities.

Planned Impact

The project will deliver new theoretical and conceptual understanding of the impacts of agricultural expansion in the context of the Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus in Andean countries. The immediate beneficiaries of this research will be the policymakers and stakeholders in Peru and Ecuador that will actively participate in this project (e.g., Ministry of Agriculture in Ecuador, National Water Agency in Peru, agribusiness, agricultural levy boards), contributing to the policy mapping exercise, the development of the modelling activities and policy scenarios to consider. Besides, the training activities planned as part of the NEXT-AG project will impact on the capacity of policymakers and practitioners. They will learn how the different models and their integration could be used in the future to inform the design of new integrated policies that take account of the trade-offs of agricultural expansion.

The outputs of the NEXT-AG project will impact on future agricultural policies and irrigation expansion programmes in the two countries under study (Ecuador and Peru). In the long term, the outcomes of this research would encourage more sustainable agricultural expansion policies, without compromising the availability of natural resources for future generations and ensuring sustainable development and economic growth. The main policy recommendations could be also applied to other developing countries experiencing similar issues regarding agricultural expansion to meet international food demand and its impacts on available natural resources. At the global level, this research will contribute to achieving food security, one of the biggest challenges of the coming future. Direct beneficiaries at a global level will also be the academic and research communities building on the conceptual and methodological advances delivered through the project.

A range of communication and engagement techniques and platforms have been identified to engage with all beneficiaries (see work package 4 in the Case for Support, and Pathway to Impacts attachment). These include: newsletters for project partners, workshops and focus group in the case study areas, annual meetings, blog posts, academic journal papers, conference presentations, twitter account.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Developing a detailed understanding of the water-energy-food nexus challenges in the Ica Valley, Peru and the different stakeholder perspectives.
Starting to build an inventory of datasets for use in Nexus modelling for the Ica Valley.
Exploitation Route Initial findings are being used to inform participatory stakeholder engagement activities in the project and conceptual understanding of the Ica Valley from a hydrological and agricultural systems perspective
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment

URL https://nextagproject.wordpress.com/
 
Description COST Action: Network on water-energy-food nexus for a circular and low-carbon economy in Europe" (NEXUS4EUROPE)
Amount € 300,000 (EUR)
Funding ID Waiting decision 
Organisation European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description Enhancing implementation of nexus research to support sustainable economic development in Peru
Amount £9,245 (GBP)
Organisation Cranfield University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 07/2019
 
Description Promoting nexus governance to support sustainable development in Ecuador
Amount £8,210 (GBP)
Funding ID Grant not awarded 
Organisation SRG 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description NEXT-AG - Nexus Project Cluster 
Organisation University of Wageningen
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Nexus Project Cluster is a European initiative that brings together research projects working on the Nexus area. NEXT-AG recently become a member of this network to share with other colleagues the research we are doing. As part of this, we participated in an event in Brussels in November 2018 where we will be presenting a poster on the NEXT-AG project.
Collaborator Contribution As coordinator of the Nexus Project Cluster, they have put us in contact with other researchers and institutions working on the Nexus.
Impact Participation in Nexus Cluster workshop in Brussels
Start Year 2018
 
Description First visit to case study areas in Peru and Ecuador - September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The project team travelled to the case study areas: Ica (Peru) and Guayas (Ecuador). They met with relevant stakeholders in the area (e.g., regulator, water user associations, energy companies, agrobusinesses) to better understand the current situation regarding water availability, agricultural development and its impacts on other sectors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NEXT-AG Kick-off meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A meeting was organized in Lima (Peru, 7th Sept 2018) and Quito (Ecuador, 11th Sept 2018) as an initial approach to stakeholders in those countries. The aim was to present the project to them and trigger some initial discussion about how this project can benefit the case study areas and inform future policymaking in those countries. Attendees showed a great interest in the project and their willingness to engage and collaborate with researchers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://nextagproject.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/kick-off-meeting-coming-soon/
 
Description NEXT-AG project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A project website has been set up to describe the project, the partners involved in the research and any news related to the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://nextagproject.wordpress.com/
 
Description Nexus Cluster Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 30 stakeholders attended the Nexus Cluster Workshop in Brussels in November 2018. The workshop brings together EU-funded projects related to the resource nexus as well as other (non-EU funded) related initiatives with the objective to stimulate peer-to-peer and science-to-policy discussions on how to get the most out of nexus research for the benefit of society and policy-making. NEXT-AG, as member of the Nexus Project Cluster, was invited to participate. Prof Oscar Melo presented a brief overview of the project plus a poster. The event was a good opportunity to talk to other researchers working on the Nexus and to engage with policymakers. A similar event will be organized in 2019 and a bigger conference in 2020. NEXT-AG will aim at attending both of them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/nexus-policy-and-cluster-workshop
 
Description Nexus thinking about sustainable agricultural development in the Andean countries 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 17th October 2018: Cranfield University (Gloria Salmoral) presented the talk "Nexus thinking about sustainable agricultural development in the Andean countries." in the morning session of "Stop the buzzword: closing persistent gaps in the implementation of Water-Energy-Food Nexus" at the Water Science for Impact Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Stop the buzzword: closing persistent gaps in the implementation of Water-Energy-Food Nexus 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 17th October 2018: Cranfield University (Gloria Salmoral) organised the double session "Stop the buzzword: closing persistent gaps in the implementation of Water-Energy-Food Nexus" with the ISWEL, IANEX and H2020 MAGIC (H2020) nexus research projects in collaboration with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA, Austria) and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB, Spain) at the Water Science for Impact Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop: Water Saving Agriculture to mitigate impacts of Climate Change 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Gloria Salmoral attended the Newton Fund workshop "Water Saving Agriculture to mitigate impacts of Climate Change" in September 2018 in Peru. Apart from presenting an overview of the project to other researchers, they visited different irrigated areas around Peru and engage with stakeholders in those areas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.britishcouncil.pe/en/event/newton/pdf/water-saving