The Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, met with ministers and high level authorities of the agriculture sectors of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
GUATEMALA CITY, 27 April 2019 (IICA) – Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), pledged the support of the hemispheric organization in implementing the Central American Agricultural Policy, which was approved by ministers from the region, and which seeks to boost competitiveness, access to new technology and innovations, as well as health policies in the sector.
It was during a meeting of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), attended by the Ministers of Agriculture of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, that IICA expressed its support to assist in the preparation of an action plan, identification of project profiles, and the search for funding for the implementation of new sectoral guidelines.
During the meeting, which was held in Guatemala City and which ended on Friday night, participants approved the Central American Agricultural Policy; agreed on the development of an action plan for its implementation within a three-month period; and also discussed the status of efforts to develop a regional innovation center, to include a virtual hub to strengthen the work of research institutes, universities, and ministries. IICA, which is charge of the Technical Secretariat of the Ministerial forum, provided technical assistance in the formulation of the policy.
The center will keep countries abreast of advances and developments in terms of agricultural innovation and will facilitate the adoption of these innovations by actors in the agricultural chain.
Otero remarked that, “Further to the approval of the Central American Agricultural Policy, IICA will assist in the implementation of the plan and projects that will breathe life into this plan. We offer our support in organizing a round table of donors to ensure that the plan can be effectively executed, with the necessary financial support for its application”.
IICA’s commitment was in response to a request by Mario Méndez Montenegro - CAC Pro Tempore President, who is Guatemala’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food.
During the meeting, the ministers in the CAC—an organ of the Central American Integration System (SICA)—expressed their approval of the technical support provided by IICA and its proposals to guarantee the implementation of a new regional Agricultural Policy.
The new sectoral guidelines emphasized elements such as competitiveness, health, innovation for resilient agriculture, and the need for inter-sectoral coordination to enhance the positive impact of agricultural activity on Central America’s economies.
The meeting also saw the signing of a new agreement between the Central American Agricultural Council and IICA, with respect to the operations of the technical secretariat of the ministerial forum.
In closing, Otero remarked that “This agreement is a strong endorsement of IICA’s work to further Central American integration processes through direct technical cooperation actions, as well as logistical, administrative and financial support”.
Also attending the meeting were Mario Méndez Montenegro, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Guatemala ; Mauricio Guevara, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras; Edward Centeno, Minister of Agriculture of Nicaragua; José Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration of Belize; Esteban Girón, Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development of Panama; Hugo Flores, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of El Salvador; and high level authorities of Costa Rica (Edgar Mata, Director of SEPSA) and the Dominican Republic (Rafael Joa, delegate).
María Febres, IICA Representative in Guatemala.