Productivity and sustainability in the rural areas of the region will be the key issues addressed at this inter-American ministerial meeting.
Quintana Roo, 21 October 2015 (IICA-SAGARPA). The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, yesterday inaugurated the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2015. The aim of the event, whose theme is “Grow better, produce more, feed everyone,” is to construct a hemispheric agenda to strengthen agricultural productivity by making it more competitive and sustainable, and a driver of rural inclusion.
The event brings together delegates from 34 nations in the Americas and guests from international agencies, to address the challenges involved in improving sustainability, productivity and food production, and thereby ensure that the countries of the Americas have sufficient food of good quality.
Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, José Calzada Rovirosa, explained that raising productivity, improving profitability and optimizing the sustainability of agriculture would establish a firm, clear link between agriculture and development, particularly in the regions that have most ground to make up.
“Exchanging opinions about the experiences of each country and the different ways of tackling the challenges facing agriculture and increasing the food supply will enable us to define general criteria concerning the future of production in the Americas,” he remarked.
Calzada also explained that the fact that the event included the Eighteenth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), “obliges us to be an example of the effective coordination of agriculture and social inclusion.”
In his remarks, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Víctor M. Villalobos, presented a series of recommendations for strengthening productivity in the region.
They included strengthening the State’s management of the agricultural sector, developing an agricultural framework, investing in a culture of innovation, consolidating the region’s leadership, promoting a business culture among small-scale producers, and boosting international cooperation for productive, sustainable, and inclusive agriculture.
“Productivity is a precondition for competitiveness but we must increase per-hectare yields without pushing the agricultural frontier to its limit. Our sector also needs to adapt to climate variability and improve risk management and disaster preparedness,” he added.
“Let us realize the hopes of agriculture in the Americas by making the sector more productive, sustainable, and inclusive, a breadbasket where we can grow better, produce more and feed everyone,” Villalobos concluded.
The Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, organized by SAGARPA and IICA, is a great opportunity to create a common international cooperation agenda designed to guarantee food supply, contribute to the sustainability of natural resources, and promote inclusive development in the countries of the region.
On 22 October, the final day of the meeting, the ministers will issue a declaration with commitments aimed at promoting more productive and sustainable agriculture across the continent.
The Ministerial Meeting will also be used to present the report on the Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas (2015-2016), an analysis prepared by IICA, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as well as a report on IICA’s activities in 2014 and 2015.