October 7: IICA celebrates its 78th anniversary
San Jose, 7 October 2020 (IICA). “IICA was created in 1942, during a time of war, with the aim of creating progress and prosperity for rural areas and mindful of the fact that agriculture, as a synonym of peace, would be the route and the instrument to achieve these objectives”.
With this message, Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), on the occasion of the organization’s 78th anniversary, renewed its commitment to stimulate, promote and support the countries of the Americas in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being for the benefit of the entire population.
On this 7th day of October, Otero, a veterinarian, recalled the origins of IICA and highlighted some of the challenges of the current environment. He remarked that, “Today, as we are also facing an international health and economic crisis, we, in the Member States and at Headquarters, must innovate and harness all our creativity to find solutions for the agriculture sector, even with limited resources. We are pulling out all the stops to reinvent IICA and to reaffirm its existence as an exceptional 21st century institution for agriculture in the Americas”.
Throughout this month, commemorative messages will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from three IICA Directors General Emeritus and various former Ministers of Agriculture, who have guided the Institute throughout its long history, or who have received technical support to tackle the demands of the agriculture sector in their countries.
Messages will be posted from former Directors General Martín Piñeiro (1986-1994), Chelston Brathwaite (2002-2010) and Víctor Villalobos (2010-2018); as well as from former Ministers of Agriculture Gloria Abraham (Costa Rica), Osmar Benítez (Dominican Republic), Álvaro Ramos (Uruguay) and Carlos Gustavo Cano (Colombia).
Throughout the course of 2020, the Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture (who are part of IICA’s highest governing body) have been apprised of IICA’s plans to strengthen its technical cooperation through a renewed, more efficient business model that is better targeted to meet the specific needs of countries.
The Director General informed the authorities who were present at the annual Executive Committee Meeting and at two meetings of the Special Advisory Commission on Management Issues about the Institute’s renewed thrust, including an increase in activities and measures to respond to the crisis, as well as the introduction of more informational and management tools for the benefit of Member States.
“It is imperative that we protect and shore up the sector that ensures the food supply of our societies. This will call on us to continuously increase and improve our technical cooperation to tackle this unprecedented socioeconomic situation, in which agriculture has emerged as a key strategic sector for recovery”, stressed Otero, while on an official visit to Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of the 78th anniversary celebrations.
IICA has been headquartered in Costa Rica since it was established on 7 October 1942 and it operates through its 34 Delegations in the Americas and a Permanent Office in Spain. Director General Otero also said that, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the staff of IICA for their commitment and tireless efforts to revitalize the Institute each day; to stay in touch with the needs of agriculture in our countries; to devise innovative solutions; and to take our technical cooperation into the field, in a bid to improve the lives of the millions of people in our hemisphere”.
“As IICA approaches its 100th anniversary, it must foster new approaches, based on the generation of supranational public goods, the development of public-private partnerships, and the promotion of inter-cooperation to create an agriculture sector that is increasingly infused with digital technologies that help to bridge the productivity gaps, while addressing social and environmental concerns”, added the Director General.
Institutional Communication Division