The Policy, a first for Central America, will be submitted to the corresponding regional
integration bodies so that the Presidents and Heads of State can ratify it at their next meeting,
scheduled for December 7.
The process of formulating the Policy, which will take effect in 2008 and remain in force for ten
years, began in 2005 in response to the provisions of regional agreements and resolutions issued
by the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the CAC.
According to the ministers, “the approval of the agriculture policy means that it is now possible
to adopt a comprehensive approach to agricultural development in Central America.”
On the same day the ministers gave their approval to the Policy, the World Bank issued its World
Development Report 2008, which calls for greater investment in agriculture in developing
countries, and warns that the sector must be placed at the center of the development agenda if the
goal of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 is to be realized.
“A dynamic „agriculture for development‟ agenda can benefit the estimated 900 million rural
people in the developing world who live on less than $1 a day, most of whom are engaged in
agriculture,” said Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank Group President, in a recent press release.
Call for integration
The ministers and secretaries, on the occasion of the announcement of the approval of the Policy,
called for integration and cooperation. “We urge key players to come together in support of the
Policy. In particular, we ask financial institutions to provide resources for its implementation,
and international cooperation agencies to ensure that their actions contribute to achieving its
objectives,” they said.
They added that the current world situation offers favorable conditions for Central American
farmers to increase their share in the local, regional and global markets. In the judgment of the
ministers, it is necessary to view growing international demand as a historic opportunity to
attract investment in agriculture.
The CAC meeting was attended by the Minister of Agriculture of El Salvador, Mario Salaverria;
the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Guatemala, Bernardo Lopez; the Secretary of
Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, Hector Hernandez; the Minister of Agricultural
Development of Panama, Guillermo Salazar; the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock
of Costa Rica, Carlos Villalobos; and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of
Nicaragua, Benjamin Dixon.
The CAC acknowledged the excellent job done by the regional technical team charged with
formulating the policy, comprising representatives of the ministries of agriculture of Central
America, which received support from the Executive Secretariat of the CAC, the Inter-American
Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Regional Technical Assistance Unit
(RUTA), the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA), the Central
American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the ETEA Foundation for Development and Cooperation.
They also recognized the work of the regional and national organizations of the private sector
and civil society that participated in the consultations carried out between April and May of this
year in the countries of the region.