|San Jose, 20 July 2022 (IICA) – Ministers and representatives of more than 20 countries of the Americas endorsed the proposed update to the Medium-term Plan (MTP) of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The MTP will serve as a roadmap to guide the actions and priorities of the agency specializing in agricultural and rural development from 2022 to 2026, which have been adapted to the crisis situation that is threatening food security.|
The modifications to the institutional plan were discussed during the Forty-second Regular Meeting of the Executive Committee of IICA. The participants agreed that, in order to guarantee the continuity of technical cooperation of excellence, it is crucial to correctly interpret the current scenario, which shines the spotlight on the hemisphere’s role as a guarantor of the planet’s food, nutritional and environmental security.
The proposed adjustments to IICA’s plan seek to better align the Institute’s actions with current needs and demands resulting from the confluence of health, social, environmental and economic factors that have been aggravated by the war in Eastern Europe. This, in turn, has generated a troubling situation in terms of poverty and food insecurity that has put a strain on the foundations of the region’s production systems.
At the start of the meeting of the Executive Committee, one of IICA’s governing bodies, Laura Suazo, Secretary of State for Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, who was elected Chair of the meeting, applauded the work carried out by IICA Director General Manuel Otero and noted that the greatest challenge for any regional plan is combating poverty.
“The reality is that most farmers practice agriculture in a situation of poverty that does not enable them to meet even their most basic needs, and as part of an agricultural model that is highly dependent on external inputs. This was already quite clear even before the pandemic and the war in Europe”, said the Honduran minister.
The plan recognizes the need to accelerate technological innovation processes by investing in and adjusting institutional frameworks, as well as the need to prioritize climate action with respect to agrifood systems ahead of COP27, in which agriculture will be at the top of the agenda.
The representatives of the countries agreed on the importance of raising the voice of the Americas at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in November in Egypt. They considered that the hemisphere should share the progress it has achieved in resilient and environmentally friendly food production, as well as highlight the role of agriculture as part of the solution to mitigation and adaptation challenges.
With the aim of responding to countries’ needs and generating effective solutions at the national, regional and hemispheric levels during the 2022-2026 period, IICA’s technical cooperation proposal focuses on seven key areas: Innovation and the Bioeconomy; Climate Action and Agricultural Sustainability; Territorial Development and Family Farming; Gender Equality and Youth; Digitalization of Agrifood Systems; Agricultural Health, Safety and Agrifood Quality; and International Trade and Regional Integration.
The road to rural well-being
“Over the past two years, societies have been affected by various crises, which have been aggravated by the war in Ukraine. However, today, as was the case when IICA was founded 80 years ago, the agrifood sector in the Americas is a glimmer of light that will prevent us from getting lost on the road to development and rural well-being”, remarked Laura Bonilla Coto, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica.
On behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Aleksandar Jotanovic noted that his country supports IICA’s actions in the field of agricultural innovation, which he considers to be crucial in order to produce more and in a more sustainable manner.
“We must give ourselves the opportunity to rethink our development model. Chile is a country that has relied on a highly successful agro-export model in recent years, but we feel it is necessary to explore other paths, and, in this regard, IICA can serve as a forum for discussion”, stated Alberto Niño de Zepeda of Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Joe Hain, Director of Multilateral Relations of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States, highlighted IICA’s leadership, particularly in raising the voice of agriculture of the Americas at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. “We support IICA’s roadmap, particularly its focus on prioritizing climate action in agriculture, capitalizing on technology in production and enhancing international trade”, he indicated.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, IICA has played a leading role in efficiently identifying the challenges facing agriculture and responding to the needs of its member countries”, said Fernando Zelner of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil, who called on countries of the Americas to continue strengthening their joint position, with a view to showing the rest of the world the reality of agriculture in the hemisphere.
María de Lourdes Cruz Trinidad, of the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico, highlighted IICA’s work in the field of gender equality and youth, “given that, as we are aware, rural migration accounts for a considerable percentage of migration flows, both domestically and internationally, within the context of prolonged national crises in which rural youth employment is a challenge”.
At the meeting, the representative of Guatemala, César Vinicio Arreaga, expressed strong support for the proposal to raise the voice of agriculture of the Americas at the global level, “not only ahead of COP 27, but also in order to supply the population with the food it requires”.
On behalf of Colombia, Angelo Quintero noted that the adjustments to IICA’s Medium-term Plan “take into account many variables, not only climate change, but also everything that has to do with competitiveness, innovation, and the economic and social development of territories, which we consider to be crucial”.
|About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.|