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Next-AG Research Project // Nexus Thinking for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Andean Countries

Getting the Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) nexus right is crucial for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture and the economy without compromising natural resources availability. The NEXT-AG research project started in May 2018 to help LAC policymakers developing new coordinated policies and programmes for increasing resilience and promoting sustainable economic growth in the context of increasing national and global food demand.

Food security is consistently seen as one of the key global challenges for the coming decades. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), currently representing 13% of total food trade, could contribute to solving this challenge given its comparative advantage in terms of water and land availability. Agricultural exports and increasing global food demand represent a big opportunity for LAC countries. In the last decades, governments have designed programmes aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in countries like Ecuador and Peru. However, there is some evidence of this agricultural expansion already causing some environmental problems and impacts on sectors competing for the same resources. Getting the Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) nexus right is crucial for LAC countries to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture and the economy without compromising natural resources availability for present and future generations. NEXT-AG’s aim is to provide policymakers in those countries with the needed evidence base that allows them to develop new coordinated policies and programmes for increasing resilience and promoting sustainable economic growth in the context of increasing national and global food demand. The core part of the project is the modelling of the different components of the WEFE nexus, done in collaboration with stakeholders, and their integration, which results will form the needed evidence base to inform future agricultural policies.

This research project started in May 2018 and will run for 3 years.

Research Project

The work is organized into five work packages (WPs):

  • WP1 –  Understanding WEFE stocks and flows – Data collection: To collect, synthesise and analyse data sources for each case study to inform the WEFE (Water-Energy-Food-Environment) modelling in WP3.
  • WP2 – Policy and institutional mapping and scenario generation: To identify barriers to coordination and potential complementarities and synergies across WEFE policies and effective leverage points.
  • WP3 – Modelling and integration: To model how agricultural expansion is affecting all WEFE components including energy generation and consumption, local water resources and the environment.
  • WP4 – Informing policy: stakeholder engagement, dissemination and outreach: To inform current and prospective agricultural policies and programmes in the Andean region.
  • WP5 – Project Management: This WP will execute the management functions required to deliver the project.


This project is a collaboration between partners in the UK, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. There are four institutions involved: 

Cranfield University 

University of Exeter 

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile 

Escuela Politécnica Nacional (Ecuador) 

Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo 

Kick Off Meeting 

The first meeting of the project will take place in September 2018. The NEXT-AG team will be in Perú from the 3rd of September until the 7th; and then travelling to Ecuador to visit Quito and Guayaquil from the 8th to the 13th of September. During this time, researchers will meet key stakeholders and visit the case study areas in each country. There will be a stakeholders workshop organized in each country. Representatives from different sectors will be invited to participate.


Next-AG Project Website 

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