San Jose, 30 October 2019 (IICA). Appealing for agriculture to be accorded priority in public policies, the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, and the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, presided over the opening of the 2019 Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas in San Jose.
This new edition of the main meeting of political authorities in the agriculture sector of the Americas will focus on discussing ways to combat food insecurity, foster rural retention, increase social inclusion in the digital age, and strike a balance between productivity and sustainability.
The agenda reflects the economic, social, environmental and demographic challenges that the agriculture sector in the Americas will need to overcome in order to guarantee global food security over the next few years, against the backdrop of a growing population and greater pressure on natural resources.
The 2019 Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas will also provide a framework for the meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), which comprises the 34 ministers of agriculture from the member countries of IICA, the agency of the Inter-American system specializing in agricultural and rural development.
The Conference will be held at IICA Headquarters in Coronado from 29 to 31 October, with the participation of public authorities and representatives of the private sector and civil society from countries throughout the hemisphere.
During the opening ceremony, the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, reaffirmed his government’s support for the transformation of the agriculture sector, using a comprehensive and innovative approach. “The most significant contribution a leader can make is to provide decisive support to the agriculture sector”, he remarked.
“In three regions of our country, the agriculture sector accounts for more than half of the jobs, and is therefore crucial to reducing inequality. We must foster broader access to technology, credit opportunities and markets. We must make the agriculture sector more attractive for youth and fairer for women”, added the President, who was accompanied at the opening ceremony by Renato Alvarado, Manuel Ventura and María Amalia Revelo, the ministers of Agriculture and Livestock, Foreign Affairs and Tourism, respectively.
The Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, referred to agriculture’s potential to play a pivotal role in resolving or mitigating social problems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
He remarked that, “We are striving to ensure that this activity is given priority in the political agendas in our Hemisphere, because, in addition to education, agriculture is the most efficient option to tackle structural poverty, and thus it could be the best social policy”.
“Amidst the pressing problems that are creating tension in our region and in the world, agriculture stands out as an inseparable part of the solutions”, Otero added.
Senior executives from global companies closely linked to agricultural activity, such as Bayer, Corteva and Microsoft, attended the opening ceremony of the 2019 Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, a forum designed to stimulate dialogue and to encourage the forging of partnerships between governments and the private sector.
Agreements were also signed between IICA and various institutions at the ceremony, including the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), represented by its Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili; 4-H, the U.S. youth organization administered by the Department of Agriculture; and the University of Costa Rica (UCR).
The Director General of IICA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Corteva Agriscience, represented by its President for the Meso-Andean Region, Ana Claudia Cerasoli.
Montserrat Prado, Costa Rican rural producer, and member as well as co-founder of Ditsö-Café, delivered a stirring testimony during the ceremony, speaking about the role and challenges of women in the countryside.
The debates and deliberations of the Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture will also guide and spur the modernization of this sector in the Americas, while providing decisive support to the institutional modernization actions that IICA is implementing.
The IABA has met every two years since 1981 and this meeting is the Board’s first meeting since the current Director General assumed office in January 2018.
The Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, highlighted agriculture’s potential to play a pivotal role in resolving or mitigating social problems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
IICA 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.
Click here to access all available information on the 2019 Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas.
Agreements were also signed between IICA and various institutions at the opening ceremony, including the UNWTO, represented by its Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili (right).
Institutional Communication Division.