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Silvia Sarapura, the newest member of IICA’s Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas

Silvia Sarapura posee más de 20 años de experiencia en planificación rural para el desarrollo y una sólida trayectoria en la investigación rural y agrícola internacional para el desarrollo con innovadoras contribuciones.
Silvia Sarapura has more than 20 years of experience in rural development planning and a solid background making innovative contributions to international rural and agricultural research for development.

San Jose, 24 September 2020 (IICA). Silvia Sarapura, an academic specializing in agrifood systems and professor at the University of Guelph (Canada), with more than 20 years of experience in rural planning for development, is the newest member of the Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

Sarapura has conducted extensive research in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, building a solid career and making innovative contributions in the field of international rural and agricultural research for development.


Several organizations have benefited from her work, including the International Potato Center in the Andean Initiative, and the Bioversity-CIAT Alliance in the Resilient Seed Systems Project.

She was a senior researcher at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in the Netherlands, has collaborated with public and regional organizations on the Integrated Seed Sector Development Platform (ISSD) – Africa and climate-smart agriculture issues, and assisted Dutch and international organizations with gender planning.

Sarapura will join IICA’s Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas, which is made up of experts from 10 countries, and whose purpose is to monitor the impact of the novel coronavirus on food security in the region, with a view to offering analyses and recommendations that may inform the decision-making processes of various public and private sector entities.

Council members also carry out dynamic analysis exercises with respect to the situation and offer perspectives on food security in the hemisphere, in light of the pandemic triggered by the coronavirus.

Meet the members of IICA’s Advisory Council for Food Security:

Gloria Abraham, Costa Rica

Dr. Abraham holds a Master’s degree in Sociology and a Doctorate in Sociology, with emphasis on development economics from the University of Toulouse in France. She was Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, the first woman to occupy that position. She has worked in different international organizations including UNDP, the World Bank and IICA, where she held positions such as Representative, technical specialist in international cooperation, public policies and agricultural trade. She has vast experience in negotiating international free trade agreements in the area of agriculture. She is currently the Ambassador and Head of Delegation for Costa Rica to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Chelston Brathwaite, Barbados

Dr. Brathwaite holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural Science, a M.Sc. degree, as well as a Ph. D in Plant Pathology from Cornell University, USA. Dr. Brathwaite has a Diploma in Agricultural Development with Distinction from the University of London and has completed courses in Executive Management at INCAE and in Leadership for Senior Executives at Harvard Business School. He was a lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of the West Indies (UWI). Dr. Brathwaite served as the Director General of IICA (2002-2010). He joined UWI as the Interim Director of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture and has served as the Ambassador of Barbados to the People’s Republic of China.

Carlos Gustavo Cano Sanz, Colombia

An economist and politician, Carlos Gustavo Cano Sanz holds an M.Sc in Economics from the University of Lancaster and has also completed post-graduate studies in Government and International Economics at the University of Harvard, as well as in Senior Business Management. As Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture (2002–2005), he implemented reforms that led to the merging of the Ministry with other entities to become the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He was Manager of the Federación Nacional de Arroceros (FedeArroz), President of the Colombia Agriculture Society and an international consultant in Strategic Planning for IICA. Currently, he is Co-Director of the Board of Directors of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia.

Cassio Luiselli Fernández, Mexico

Dr. Luiselli holds a BSc. in Economics, an MSc. and Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin, specializing in Agricultural Economics, Rural Development and International Economics. He also has a Ph.D from the University of South Africa, Pretoria. Dr. Luiselli is Professor Emeritus of the Humanities division of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterey – Mexico City Campus (ITESM). He was a former advisor to the President of the Republic on agricultural development (1967–1970). He has also served as Mexico’s Ambassador to South Korea, South Africa and Uruguay; as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mexico to ALADI; and as Under-Secretary for Development and Environmental Regulation (SEMARNAT).

Elsa Murano, United States

Dr. Murano possesses a BSc. from Florida International University, as well as an M.Sc. in Anaerobic Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech. She served as the United States Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food Safety (2001-04), and also has extensive experience in the field of education. She was President of Texas A&M University and served as Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Texas A&M University in Agriculture and Life Sciences (2005-07). Dr. Morano was also a member of the Board of Directors of Hormel Foods.

Martín Piñeiro, Argentina

An agricultural engineer, he holds a PhD in Agrarian Economics from the University of California, USA. He is the current Director of the Committee on Agricultural Affairs of the Argentine International Affairs Council (CARI) and a member of the Support Team of the Group of Producing Countries from the Southern Cone (GPS) in Argentina. He is also a Special Advisor to IICA. He was Director General of IICA (1986-1994); President of the Steering Committee of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and member of the Steering Committee of the International Service for Agricultural Research (ISNAR).

Álvaro Ramos, Uruguay

Mr. Ramos obtained his Agricultural Engineering degree from the Universidad de la República. He served as Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (1990-1993) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1995-1998). He was a senator in his country and has worked as a consultant for IICA and other international organizations, and as an Institutions and Public Development Policies specialist for the FIDA MERCOSUR regional program.

Roberto Rodrigues, Brazil

An agricultural engineer, he served as Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (2003-2006) and as Secretary of Agriculture and Supply of the State of Sao Paolo (1993-1994). He received the Sao Paolo Medal of Scientific Merit and the National Scientific Merit award for his technical contribution to the development of science in Brazil. In 2004, he was named Agronomist of the Decade by the Association of Agricultural Engineers of the State of Sao Paolo (AEASP). He is also a rural entrepreneur and a special ambassador for cooperatives.

José María Sumpsi, Spain

Mr. Sumpsi is the Director of the Research Center for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks (CEIGRAM) and a Professor Emeritus of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). In 2019, he was appointed as a member of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security. He previously served as President of the Andalusian Institute for Agrarian Reform (IARA); Director of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences of UPM; Director of the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Economics; and Vice-President and President of the Spanish Association of Agricultural Economics (AEEA). He also served as Deputy Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from 2007 to 2011.

Eduardo Trigo, Argentina

Mr. Trigo is a consultant for IICA and the IDB. He is the director of the CEO Group (Economics and Organization Consultants). He spearheaded the project entitled ‘’Prospects for Biotechnology in Argentina 2030’’ of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (2014-2016), and also served as advisor to the Directorate of International Affairs of the MINCYT in Argentina (2000-2014). He was executive director of the ArgenINTA Foundation (1994-1998) and headed the Research and Technology Transfer Unit at IICA (1986-1994).

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Institutional Communication Division