San Jose, 22 November 2019 (IICA). – In Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, Manuel Otero, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), took part in the sixth round of meetings of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation Group, where he was one of a group of experts who discussed the role and importance of digital transformation to underpin sustainable development.
Otero’s agenda in the Dominican capital also included a meeting with the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Agriculture, Osmar Benítez, with whom he explored the possibility of further horizontal cooperation actions and IICA assistance designed to strengthen agricultural health policies related to the country’s food production.
The IICA Director General and the Dominican minister, who also chairs the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), discussed the possibilities of the Institute, the hemispheric agency specializing in agricultural and rural development that operates in 34 countries of the Americas, doing even more in its role as the main vehicle and channel for the dissemination of good agricultural practices for a series of crops and procedures.
The Dominican Republic is currently making great institutional strides with its agricultural health and safety policies for food production. It is endeavoring to tap the successful experiences of other countries in the same field, such as those of Mexico, in order to consolidate its efforts.
“We also discussed knowledge management with Minister Osmar Benítez, an issue that IICA regards as of key importance, and explored the possibility of establishing a regional hub on the subject in the Dominican Republic, in partnership with IFAD, which would be at the service of Central America and the Caribbean”, said Otero.
Next year the Dominican Republic will host the annual meeting of IICA’s Executive Committee, one of the Institute’s governing bodies. With a clear technical focus, the meeting will be used to discuss substantive issues related to agriculture, and provide a platform for the farming community.
Speaking as a member of the panel on “Rural development, water, and sustainability” at the meeting of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation Group, Otero stated that “Latin America and the Caribbean is the region best placed to guarantee the world’s nutrition and food security.”
The IICA Director General added that such a consolidation of the region’s position could be achieved “provided that State policies aimed at agricultural and rural development are put forward” and “emphasis is placed on science and technology issues, promoting inclusion and digital technology, especially for women and young people.” To achieve that goal, he recommended increasingly stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors.
The sixth round of meetings of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation Group, in which the IICA Director General took part as a keynote speaker, focused on the topics of environmental sustainability, digitalization, the empowerment of women and human capital.
Among the other experts taking part were Janet Camilo Hernández, the Dominican Republic’s Minister for Women’s Affairs; Ximena del Carpio, the World Bank’s Manager for Poverty and Equity in Latin America; Greta Bull, CEO of CGAP; and Jessica Jacobson, of .