NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Roadmap to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in the Livestock Sector of Honduras and Nicaragua [NDF C62 B 2]

Photo: Nordic Climate Facility
The project has identified technologies and best practices to improve livestock productivity while contributing to improved strategies for adaptation and mitigation to climate change.

Honduras and Nicaragua
Roadmap to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in the Livestock Sector of Honduras and Nicaragua
Ref: NDF C62 B 2

Nordic Partner: UNEP DTU Partnership
Local Partners: Dirección de Ciencia y Tecnología Agropecuaria (DICTA) ‑ Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería, CATIE Honduras and CATIE Nicaragua
Other Partner: CATIE
Total Project Cost: EUR 350,609
NCF Financing: EUR 280,0219
Agreement Signed: 18 March 2015
Project Classification: Mitigation
Duration: 33 Months

Project Objective

The objective of the programme was to facilitate a shift towards alternative livestock farming practices, so as to increase farm productivity, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change adaptation needs.


Livestock farming in Latin America generates high GHG emissions but is also the main source of income for vulnerable populations that could be most affected by climate change. In Honduras and Nicaragua, the livestock sector is of great economic importance, occupying more than 30% of the territory. It contributes between 10‐18% of GDP, and is the main livelihood for more than 700,000 people. To address these challenges the project aimed at facilitating a shift towards alternative livestock farming practices, which increase farm productivity and reduce GHG emissions as well as foreseen adaptation needs.

The project established a baseline and “sustainability scenarios” outlining the economic, social and environmental implications of today's livestock practices, versus alternative sustainable farming practices. In Honduras the prioritized practices were: 1) biodigesters, 2) rotation and the division of paddocks associated with silvopastoral systems, 3) organic fertilizers and 4) nutritional blocks. In Nicaragua, farmers prioritized 1) rotation and division of paddocks associated with silvopastoral systems, 2) biofertilizers, and 3) fodder banks associated with silage. The identification and prioritization of practices is however not enough to ensure that the practices will actually be implemented. The change from an undesirable status quo to a desirable future is usually hindered by a series of barriers inhibiting this change. The core barriers identified are lack of financing, lack of knowledge from the farmers' side, lack of technical assistance to implement and maintain the practices, as well as the market conditions hampering investment capacity. The identified solutions to overcome these barriers build on existing frameworks and programmes, and target specifically financing and knowledge gaps and assistance. Finally, with the selection of practices and analysis of their impact on GHG and sustainable development, combined with the knowledge on barriers and ways to overcome them, it was possible to finalize a NAMA concept for Honduras and a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) for Nicaragua.

The main outputs of the programme were:

(i) Development of baseline and ‘sustainability’ scenarios, outlining the economic, social and environmental implications of today’s (baseline) versus alternative (‘sustainability’) farming practices;

(ii) Preparation of ‘Sustainability roadmaps’, charting the steps required to implement one ‘sustainability’ scenario (including actors concerned, technologies involved, possible policy options and likely timeframes);

(iii) Articulation of NAMA descriptions for Honduras and LCDS for Nicaragua for key mitigation options in the sector, identified and designed through a consultative group established for the project.

Relevance for Climate Change

The South American beef sector produces 31% of the global meat and emits about 1 Gt CO2e per year, thus contributing 54% to emissions from global beef production and 15% to emissions from the global livestock sector. These emissions mainly result from three sources: land-use change, feed production, and enteric fermentation. Furthermore, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide emissions are losses in the nutrient cycle of nitrogen, energy and organic matter that undermine efficiency and productivity. Therefore, general policy interventions that aim at emission reduction shall, in the end, improve production efficiency at animal and herd levels. There is notable potential for emission reductions and sequestration.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The innovativeness of the project lied on the approach of the project, which focused on the elaboration of specific training modules on the best cattle farming practices aiming to increase the resilience and to reduce the GHG emissions as well as to increase the overall productivity and efficiency of the small and medium size cattle farms. This focal approach allowed interacting and working directly with the farmers facilitating the understanding of the need to elaborate sustainability scenarios which enables the formulation of sectoral policies or national strategies such as the low carbon development strategies and the formulation of the NAMA.

The project aimed to help to establish the inter-linkages between the bottom-up with the top-down approaches and to establish baseline versus sustainability scenarios, identify barriers and suggest enabling mechanisms which allows an improvement of the cattle farm practices and contributes to reaching the green growth of the livestock sector.

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