IFPA and partners receive investment towards advancing climate-smart pilot projects

In the US, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) has announced that the pilot programme project it submitted with a group of partners has been selected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive funding.

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The pilot project, titled ’A Vibrant Future’, is designed to incentivise growers of specialty crops to adopt climate-smart production in order to establish a consumer-driven, climate-smart market for fruits and vegetables grown using climate-smart practices.

The approximate funding ceiling for the project is US$15m, the IFPA noted.

“IFPA applauds the USDA investment into all climate-smart projects and is especially motivated by USDA’s strong commitment to projects impacting specialty crops,” said IFPA chief science officer Max Teplitski.

“We are thrilled to see the ‘Vibrant Future’ project funded, as an investment into specialty crops is especially timely,” he continued. ”This funding will allow us to ‘test-drive’ technologies that are climate-smart and also ensure financial sustainability of grower operations, develop marketing strategies to educate consumers on how fresh fruit, vegetable and floral industry contributes to alleviating the climate crisis and – importantly – gather data that will enable our industry to participate in the Green Economy.”

The IFPA-submitted pilot programme was supported by several major partners, including Bayer, Calavo, Del Monte, Driscoll’s and Limoneira, and will issue a broad industry-wide call for other interested partners to join the project.

IFPA is also an active partner of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), which represents more than 80 organisations from farmers to ranchers, agribusinesses, forest owners, state departments of agriculture and non-governmental organisations that support voluntary, incentive-based climate solutions.

“IFPA has been actively engaged as one of the members of the Steering Committee of FACA as we both recognise the need for bringing specialty crops to the table and ensure that our industry is part of conversations on climate-smart and carbon-smart innovations,” said Teplitski.

“IFPA has long advocated that the federal investment into our industry’s R&D is long overdue, and we grateful to see an investment of this scale,” he added. ”We are excited to see that 15 projects aiming to develop climate/carbon-smart production practices for fruits, vegetables, and nuts are a significant category of investment in the USDA grants.

”IFPA is excited to work together with other grantees on serving the industry as we collectively navigate challenges associated with the changing climate.”