Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 30, 2012 (IICA). The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Victor M. Villalobos, and the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano Da Silva, signed a letter of understanding intended to consolidate their joint efforts aimed at making maximum use of resources and capacities and achieving the objectives they share, in aid of the agrifood sectors of the countries of the Americas.
The letter was signed during the FAO Regional Conference being held this week in Argentina, which Villalobos attended in representation of IICA.
According to Villalobos, in addition to identifying topics of mutual interest, a biennial work program for the provision of joint assistance is being developed with FAO.
The priority topics identified in the work program are improving the competitiveness of agribusinesses, facilitating access to and application of the genetic resources of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and strengthening agricultural health and food safety capacities in the region.
The letter of understanding also includes other areas in which to carry out joint projects over the next four years, such as food security, rural development and poverty alleviation, climate change and natural resource management, agricultural research, innovation and extension, knowledge management and responses to climatic and natural disasters.
The letter also makes reference to the possibility of receiving support from the governments of the United States and Canada in the execution of some projects.
“This letter is a great step forward, considering that it is the first time that a Director General of FAO has signed it. The letter creates tremendous possibilities that will enable us to respond more effectively to repeated requests from the countries that we work more closely with,” said Villalobos.
He explained that the idea was to complement each other’s actions in regions or countries where the impact is greater and immediate, as in the case of the Caribbean, which does not mean that they will not work in each of their member states.
The two organizations carried out joint actions in 2011 in at least 12 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, valued at US$320,000.
Villalobos also participated in a dialogue conducted by the ministers of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) and the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS), the goal of which was to promote inter-regional cooperation actions.
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