Agreement between Vázquez de Coronado and IICA to embark on the construction of the Plaza of Agriculture of the Americas
San Jose, 30 April 2021 (IICA) – Located seven kilometers north of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, the Vázquez de Coronado municipality is recognized for its main economic activities—livestock breeding, milk production, and agriculture—which have made it a thriving canton in the Central American country, marked by ranches, livestock farms and cultivated fields.
Vázquez de Coronado is also home to the Headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Moreover, thanks to a recent agreement signed by Rolando Méndez, Mayor of the municipality, and Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, the canton will house the Plaza of Agriculture of the Americas: a public recreational space that will pay tribute to this transformational and value adding activity.
The project, which the President of the Costa Rica declared to be a subject of public interest, aims to highlight the value of agriculture and the rural world within this urban setting.
In signing the agreement, the Mayor maintained that, “Under this agreement, we can contribute much more to the people of Coronado. It will be an important plaza that will allow locals and visitors to interact in an urban setting for years to come”.
Méndez also stressed that, “With this strategic partnership, this cooperation agreement, we are hoping to make a contribution, our contribution to make this entrance to the canton, by way of IICA and the Plaza, an important monument that will forever remind us of our roots and our agricultural potential”.
The expectation is that the Plaza, which will be erected by the front of the international organization’s Headquarters, will become an important visiting site for students, tourists and families, utilizing innovative technological tools to demonstrate to them the potential of agricultural activities.
The project is slated to include parks and gardens, covering an area of 455 square meters and will feature plants representing the varied topography of the countries of the Americas. It will also have a 75 linear meter water trail running along the promenade, which will be representative of a watershed.
Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, reflected that, “This will be a space for knowledge and recreation, allowing us to showcase the importance of the Institute, its contribution and benefits to communities and rural development in Costa Rica and the Americas. We want to transform IICA’s image and open its doors; we are committed to this idea”.
He went on to explain that, “This is an effort involving cultural and technical exchange to benefit the people of the canton, particularly students in technological and scientific fields, with a focus on agricultural rural development and rural tourism promotion”.
The Plaza will be another initiative falling within the “IICA of Open Doors” concept, spearheaded by the Director General of the specialized agency in rural and agricultural development.
The project is part of IICA’s modernization master plan, which includes CIMAG (The Interpretive Center for Tomorrow’s Agriculture), an interactive space showcasing agriculture of the future; the Typical Rural House, which is reminiscent of rural traditions in our hemisphere; the Forest of the Americas; and the Fab Lab, an agricultural innovation laboratory operated in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT).
CIMAG also features permanent exhibits of the cutting-edge technology that is revolutionizing agricultural production around the world, as well as virtual reality displays, simulating the experience of operating combine harvesters and drones that are used in agriculture.
Within the framework of the project, IICA is proposing to utilize its technological platforms to provide support and exchange information with the municipality, to share with groups of students in the canton, for the purpose of rural agricultural development and local tourism promotion. The Municipality will provide logistical support, equipment and some material resources.
Following the signing of the agreement, the Vázquez de Coronado Mayor visited CIMAG, where he observed a demonstration of FarmBot, a precision agriculture tool that automates the process of sowing and watering plants, as well as clearing away weeds to guarantee optimal growth of crops.
Institutional Communication Division