Knowledge for a sustainable world


Professor Jeremy Haggar joined the University of Greenwich in January 2011. He was previously head of the tree crops programme at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE) in Nicaragua where he worked for 11 years co-ordinating coffee research and development projects across Central America. He managed projects worth nearly US$10 million financed by donors such as World Bank, European Union, Inter American Development Bank, and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. These projects involved the development of sustainable agricultural practices for coffee production, business capacity in co-operatives, and assessment of the ecosystem services from coffee agroforestry systems. The projects contributed to improvements in the livelihoods of approximately 10,000 coffee producing families across Central America.

Prior to this, from 1996 to 2000, Professor Haggar was research co-ordinator in Mexico for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) leading participatory research on the design of agroforestry systems as alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture in the Yucatan Peninsula. Between 1994 and 1995 he worked as forestry co-ordinator for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica evaluating native tree species for reforestation of degraded pastures. From 1991 to 1994, Professor Haggar conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Florida assessing how ecosystem processes affected agro-ecosystem productivity. Prior to this he undertook PhD research in the botany department of the University of Cambridge on the effects of legume trees on nutrient availability to associated crops.

Professor Haggar's research interests are focused on the understanding tradeoffs between agricultural production and ecosystem services, and how to facilitate sustainable agricultural development in developing countries. Addressing these questions he is Research Director of the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning Alliance in Africa programme funded by FCDO.

He is interested in how sustainable agricultural production techniques can sustain ecosystem services and biodiversity. Using shaded coffee systems as a model he is researching the degree to which sustainable certification of coffee provides an incentive to farmers to conserve shade, and the degree to which tree shade offers services similar to a forest. Beyond this, a key question of interest is the degree to which the improved ecosystem services from sustainable agriculture (e.g. shaded coffee) compensate the larger area needed in production, as opposed to intensive agriculture, that produce the same on less land but may leave more forest.

On the second topic, Professor Haggar is committed to helping improve the livelihoods of poor farmers, whether in Central America or Sierra Leone, understanding what types of interventions could help farmers generate improved incomes, without destroying their environments. This includes how to develop and manage multi-disciplinary interventions integrating ecological production, business organisation and marketing of sustainable products.

Professor Haggar is also supervising various PhD students in the Ecosystem services research group.

Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning Alliance in Africa Programme
2015-2020. £1.1 million plus 5.5 million in funded projects; funded by FCDO.

SAIRLA is a five-year programme that seeks to generate new evidence and design tools to enable governments, investors and other key actors to deliver more effective policies and investments in sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) that strengthen the capacity of poorer farmers’, especially women and youth, to access and benefit from SAI.
SAIRLA’s research projects will generate new evidence and decision-making support tools to help governments, policy-makers, investors and other key actors create an enabling environment for women and poorer smallholder farmers engage in sustainable agricultural intensification. SAIRLA will facilitate the development of multi-stakeholder learning platforms – the SAIRLA Learning Alliance - in each of the target countries and between those countries and international stakeholders to co-generate, share and facilitate use of knowledge by decision makers.

Agroforests: a critical resource for megadiversity in Guatemala. 2011–15. Value: £250,000. Funded by the Darwin Initiative.

The aims of the research are to:

  • Identify the role and potential of agroforestry systems to sustain biodiversity in agroforest/forest/agriculture mosaics. See more details HERE and some initial results HERE.
  • Identify the incentives of land-owners to maintain biodiverse production systems. See more details HERE.
  • Support land-owners in accessing incentives to conserve biodiverse production systems
  • Provide policy recommendations to public and private bodies on how to improve incentives to landowners to conserve biodiversity.

Supporting ecosystem services in Fairtrade value chains. 2012–13. Value: £20,000. NERC- Environmental Sustainability KTN.

The study identified the rationale of Fairtrade businesses investing in environmental sustainability among their suppliers of coffee and cocoa. Subsequently the study reviewed in-country the implementation of these investments and assessed the likely outcomes in terms of provision of ecosystem services. See final report HERE.

Robusta Coffee Development Project, Sierra Leone. 2013–15. Value: EUR1.4m. European Commission/Govt of Sierra Leone.

The project will support 10,000 smallholder farmers to renovate their coffee plantations, which have been abandoned since the civil war, through training in good agricultural practices in Farmer Field Schools and by providing improved planting material. The project will also reinforce the capacity of the producer organisations to provide a quality product that is also certified for the sustainability of production.

Professor Haggar has also worked on climate adapation for smallholder farmers in the tropics, including evaluating the exposure, sensitivity and adaptation capacity of farmers to assess their overall vulnerability and to identify adaptation needs. He is also interested in the trade-offs between climate adaptation and climate mitigation, and the conditions that allow or prevent their combination into climate-smart agriculture strategies.

  • Member, British Ecological Society
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