In the United Kingdom, Research Councils UK announced a four-year, £6.5 million investment to stimulate the bioeconomy of Colombia by increasing knowledge of Colombia’s biodiversity. The investment will help Colombian researchers, industry partners and crop breeders gain the skills needed to drive sustainable innovation and to attract further public and private funding. The project is closely linked to Colombia Bio, the research strategy of the government science agency Colciencias.
Colombia is the second richest country in the world after Brazil in terms of biodiversity, but only 41st by GDP ranking. The country’s natural riches could be a treasure-trove for new medicines, agricultural innovation and ecotourism.
Innovation in agriculture will include a boost to the coffee industry, but livestock is currently Colombia’s biggest agricultural activity, using three-quarters of agricultural land. With some of the lowest productivity in the world, an increase could boost incomes without the need to clear more land.