IICA contributes to coordination initiatives of the agrifood industry of the Americas to tackle Covid-19
San Jose, 21 April 2020 (IICA). – Executives from global companies in the agrifood industry joined a videoconference with Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, to jointly drive actions and establish coordination mechanisms to surmount food security-related challenges arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The executives who were drawn from the fields of production, marketing and agricultural innovation, among other areas, participated in the IICA session, as a means of joining the specialist agency for agricultural and rural development in supporting ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, including by providing relevant information to support decision-making regarding food supplies in their countries.
During the videconference, Director General Otero remarked that, “This is the ideal moment to unite as a region and to rethink paradigms regarding the agriculture sector. The private sector will be key to driving evidence-based decisions, investing in innovation and development, digitalizing agriculture and strengthening the necessary partnership between agriculture and nutrition”.
The industry representatives outlined the issues that they have prioritized in this pandemic, such as support to and maintenance of value chains; assistance to small farmers; the need to keep distribution channels active and to protect workers, among other concerns.
According to Facundo Etchebehere, Global Vice-President of Public Affairs at Danone, “Given the challenges facing the agrifood chain during this crisis, the leadership that IICA is displaying, by promoting public-private discourse in the search for joint solutions to guarantee the normal supply of food to the population, is of tremendous importance”.
Lloyd Day, Deputy Director General of IICA, remarked that, “We must work with the private sector to ensure that the agrifood value chain operates efficiently to provide food to the population. We are witnessing a major transformation of the sector and we must take advantage of it to produce in a more sustainable way, which is something that will depend heavily on private sector innovation”.
The agrifood industry representatives participating in the online discussion stressed the urgency of planning for the recovery of the entire sector in the aftermath of the pandemic, in coordination with the authorities, paying special attention to protection of biodiversity, sustainable production and technology use.
Therefore, they emphasized the importance of collaboration with the public sector to assist producers to access the technological tools needed to bolster food security in each nation.
Institutional Communication Division