Minister of Agriculture of Argentina and Director General of IICA agree on cooperation to certify sustainable production systems, conduct biotechnology research and strengthen agricultural technical schools
San Jose, 10 December 2021 (IICA) – The priorities, according to Julián Domínguez, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Argentina, are to move forward with an international certification system of sustainable production practices and to increase scientific research in biotechnology, a sector in which the South American country has long been a global benchmark.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will provide support in reaching these objectives, as agreed by the Argentine minister and Manuel Otero, Director General of the international agency specialized in agricultural and rural development, during a meeting in Buenos Aires.
“In response to the international appeal made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, we are seeking to certify our low-carbon food production systems. The first thing we must do is to define the certifying authorities, which we will do in collaboration with the faculties of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine of public and private universities”, revealed Domínguez.
Otero and IICA’s technical team received Minister Domínguez and Ariel Martínez, Undersecretary of Policy Coordination of the Ministry of Agriculture, at the Institute’s offices in the Argentine capital.
At the meeting, the Director General of IICA expressed the possibility of organizing a seminar in conjunction with Argentina on the importance and work of low-carbon, agri-food production system certifying authorities.
He also made available the Institute’s experience to move forward with sustainable livestock practices and biotechnology research and to strengthen agricultural technical schools, which are vital in promoting a connection of youth to rural areas.
During his official mission in Argentina, Otero also met with Juan Manzur, Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, and with Santiago Cafiero, Minister of Foreign Affairs, both of whom agreed that any decisions made on a global scale to transform agri-food systems must be science based.
Similarly, Otero spoke with the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers about the vital role agricultural technical schools play in rural areas in developing the skills of young people, and discussed how to include the ministers in a project to maximize their potential to drive rural development with a focus on gender and youth, which are deemed fundamental in improving the quality of life of rural communities.
During his visit to IICA’s local office, Minister Domínguez emphasized the “very encouraging” news of the recent approval of Brazil’s National Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) of the purchase of HB4 wheat flour, developed in Argentina by a team of researchers backed by a public-private consortium. The genetically modified flour incorporates a sunflower gene to improve its resistance to drought and herbicides, so as to increase productivity.
“It is important to continue making progress in scientific research and biotechnology. To that end, we want to follow more closely what leading companies in the world are doing on this subject”, revealed Domínguez.
Otero made available IICA’s work to collaborate on the objectives outlined by the Argentine government aimed at improving the productivity and economic, social and environmental sustainability of Argentine agriculture, which is recognized both regionally and around the world. On this subject, he stated that science and innovation must be an unavoidable part of the future of an agriculture that responds to the growing demand for the more sustainable production of healthy foods.
“IICA must work in pursuit of the agendas of the ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, making the priorities of Argentina our own”, expressed Otero.
“The Institute is a bridge to establish a common agenda and to connect knowledge and experiences, first among the countries and stakeholders of the Americas, and then with other regions around the world. That is why we are organizing dialogues between our continent and Africa, since our agri-food systems are facing common problems”, he added.
The Director General of IICA seized the opportunity to invite Minister Domínguez to his inauguration scheduled for January 17 in San Jose, Costa Rica, for a new four-year term at the head of the agency, to which he was recently reelected by the unanimous decision of the Hemisphere’s ministers of Agriculture.
Domínguez expressed his pride and the strategic value for the country that an Argentine has been elected to lead the agency, which promotes technical cooperation to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being.
Otero was accompanied by Jorge Werthein, Special Advisor to the General Directorate; Caio Rocha, IICA Representative to Argentina and Coordinator of the Southern Region; Gabriel Delgado, IICA Representative to Brazil; and Ignacio Hernaiz, IICA Argentina’s Special Advisor for Institutional Relations.
Institutional Communications Division