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Innovative Payments for Ecosystem Services Promote Agrobiodiversity in Latin America

An eight-year study in Latin America demonstrated that in-kind payments incentivized farmers to conserve agrobiodiversity, reports the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The innovative payment scheme for ecosystem services successfully encouraged farmers to cultivate and conserve agrobiodiversity in exchange for items ranging from fertilizer to furniture. In four Latin American countries, affordable in-kind payment schemes encouraged farmers to cultivate threatened varieties of important crops such as quinoa and maize. The programs appealed to both farmers and policymakers. Researchers report that because the programs use awards that are requested by communities, they create conditions to incentivize extremely high compliance by farmers.