Costa Rica hosted a meeting of agricultural leaders from 34 countries of the American continent, in which they discussed how to achieve a balance between productivity and the conservation of natural resources.
This event was organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) based in Costa Rica and aimed to increase efficiency in food production in the continent, always ensuring the conservation of resources and sustainability.
The general director of IICA Manuel Otero said that Latin America and the Caribbean “have everything” to provide food security to the planet, but that great effort is required to eliminate social gaps. In the same way, Otero stressed: “We (Latin America) are an important actor who has everything to be essential for food and nutritional security on the planet.”
The topics that were developed in this event were: Rural inclusion in the digital era. Balances between productivity and sustainability. The interaction between health, safety and international trade; and the economic, social, environmental and demographic challenges facing the agricultural sector to guarantee global food security.
Food export potential
According to the director of IICA, Manuel Otero “We are the largest net food export region in the world and must be proud of this, but we can do even more”. That is why these types of events are of vital importance to the region because we have a quarter of the arable land and a third of the world’s freshwater resources.
One of the analyzes that were carried out in this event is the need for long-term policies for the growth and progress of agriculture and rurality, in areas such as intelligent industrialization that adds value to agriculture.
Some examples that were touched in the event, were about the sustainable and low carbon livestock that are being developed in countries like Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. Additionally, the emphasis was placed on the need to promote the bio-economy (production and consumption aligned with environmental protection and climate change mitigation). 2 highlights of this issue are that bioproducts globally are growing at a rate of 7.5%, while traditional agricultural products at 2.5%.
Guarantee the future of sustainable production
Also, of the economic, social, environmental and demographic challenges facing the region, guaranteeing the future of sustainable production must be one of its fundamental pillars. “In America, agriculture has different social, economic, technological and commercial realities, but all countries face the enormous challenge of producing being more sustainable, inclusive and competitive,” said the Director-General of IICA, Manuel Otero. “Climate-smart, modern and widely used technological agriculture is required, but also generating inclusive and new development opportunities for traditionally relegated groups, such as women and rural youth”, Otero added.
It is important to highlight that during this meeting, actions between the public and private sectors were coordinated, among them the companies of technology applied to agriculture, such as Microsoft, Bayer, and Corteva.
The IICA, reported that it signed an agreement with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and that both entities promote that 2020 be declared as the Year of Rural Agrotourism. Similarly, it was learned that these two organizations, IICA and UNWTO, aim to boost synergy between agriculture and tourism, further promoting innovation and the emergence of agribusinesses especially in rural areas, and thus promoting employment. It is also expected to attract investment and international trade in agricultural products.
Finally, we will mention some highlights of the report ‘Perspectives of agriculture and rural development in the Americas: a look towards Latin America and the Caribbean 2019-2020”, prepared by IICA, FAO and ECLAC: Latin America and the Caribbean contains 50% of the world’s known biodiversity, 57% of primary forests and 33% of the world’s arable land.