Close to 80 U.S. students are visiting Costa Rica to learn about the country’s agriculture sector and to strengthen leadership skills, with the support of IICA
San Jose, 9 January 2023 (IICA). Approximately 80 students from universities in the United States are visiting Costa Rica to learn about the country’s agriculture sector and to understand how agriculture—through their future professional careers—can provide a basis for tackling challenges, such as guaranteeing the world’s food and nutritional security and protecting its natural resources.
The students, who are from all across the U.S., are participating in an international seminar on leadership in agriculture, organized by Future Farmers of America (known in the U.S as the National FFA Organization).
The delegation visited the San Jose headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), where staff from the Institute and from the United States embassy in Costa Rica spoke with them about how agriculture and education in this area can strengthen their professional leadership, not only in agriculture, but in areas such as chemistry, veterinary sciences, finance and the public and private sectors.
IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, told them that, “You are the future of agricultural development in a hemisphere that is the guarantor of the world’s food and nutritional security and its sustainability. You will be the producers, scientists and public and private sector leaders of the world, and therefore it is essential that you recognize that agriculture also equates to peace”.
“Leadership also implies building bridges between social groups and this means that we must understand the world in which we live”, explained Mike Flores, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica. “Therefore, you are faced with a great responsibility”, he added.
Evan Mangino, Agricultural Counselor of the Embassy, presented to the students an overview of the Costa Rican agriculture sector, from a production and commercial perspective. “Coffee and livestock production demonstrate the importance of agriculture to this society, which generates more revenue that other countries in the region and that is something that must be recognized”, he said.
While at the Institute, the youth toured the Interpretive Center for Tomorrow’s Agriculture (CIMAG) and the digital innovation Fab Lab to experience firsthand some of the innovations that are transforming agriculture around the world. They also visited the Forest of the Americas and the Typical Rural House, which demonstrate the interaction between agriculture and environmental conservation and the cultural roots of the sector.
“Agriculture is part of the solution to climate change, and therefore, to this end, we must adopt sound science-based practices and innovation, placing farmers at the heart of policies”, said the IICA Director General.
“This is an exciting time for agriculture”, said IICA Deputy Director General, Lloyd Day. “However, the world needs to increase investment in research, science, innovation and policies for the sector, connecting consumers and politicians to this activity”.
With a more than seventy-year history, the FFA organization conducts this international seminar once per year with students from the United States, whose respective institutions allow them to select intracurricular activities of interest, in this case in agriculture and leadership. As part of the FFA program, they are also participating in classes and laboratories on these topics and conducting fieldwork.
In Costa Rica, in addition to IICA Headquarters, the U.S. delegation will visit farms that cultivate coffee, pineapple, heart of palm, cocoa and other crops and will take part in tourist activities.
Institutional Communication Division.