San José, Oct 4 (EFE).- The countries of the Americas aspire to consolidate a continental alliance that ensures food security and sustainable agriculture, based on the premise that agriculture is part of the solution to the climate crisis and that farmers are key agents.
This was expressed on Wednesday by senior officials meeting at the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Costa Rica, at the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture 2023, in which more than 30 countries from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean are participating.
“This partnership must be reflected in a new portfolio of supranational initiatives, a path that we are already on and that we must deepen through a multi-country approach, involving different actors with an interdisciplinary approach,” said the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero.
Otero underscored “the irreplaceable role of agriculture in sustainable development strategies” and said that it is time to make way for “a strong continental alliance for food security and sustainable agriculture” since the challenges facing the world can only be successfully addressed “by working together in solidarity.
A region that guarantees food security
For the director of IICA, with which EFE has a content distribution agreement, this alliance must be based on the premises that agriculture is part of the solution to climate change, that farmers must be a central to the sector’s policies and actions, that science is fundamental for generating public policies and that agrifood systems are not failures.
Data cited by Otero indicate that the Americas is a guarantor of food security as it is responsible for 31% of global food exports, and also that Latin American and Caribbean are major players in environmental sustainability, as they are home to 16% of the world’s arable land, 50% of biodiversity, 23% of the forested area and 30% of the planet’s fresh water.
However, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 32% of the population lives in poverty.
Ministers and senior officials participating in the conference stressed the importance of the continental alliance and expressed their support for the initiative.
During the ministers’ conference, the 2019 Nobel Laureate in Economics and promoter of digital agriculture to alleviate poverty, Michael Kremer, called on the region’s countries to scale up technological initiatives that favor productivity and benefits for farmers.
Kremer cited the exchange of information via cell phones so that farmers can access accurate climate information that allows them to change some habits and adjust their activities based on this scientific information.
For his part, the scientist Rattan Lal, winner of the World Food Prize 2020, urged the ministers to see the health of soils, plants, animals, and humans as a whole and to work on policies that benefit the recovery of soils as an essential part of life on the planet.
The Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2023, which began on Tuesday and will conclude on Thursday, will address issues such as strategic alliances between the public and private sectors and the role of technical cooperation in building more productive and resilient agriculture.
In addition, the ministers will discuss social inclusion and family agriculture, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, water crisis, incorporation of digital technology, financing of science and research applied to agriculture and international trade. EFE