The agreement was signed by Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, and the Chilean Undersecretary of Agriculture, Alfonso Vargas.
Santiago, 9 August 2018 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) today signed a memorandum of understanding that will foster the creation of a forum of Ministers of Agriculture of the Pacific Alliance, as one in a series of related activities, in a plan to be launched in September.
The four-year agreement was signed at MINAGRI’s offices by the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, and Chile’s Agriculture Undersecretary, Alfonso Vargas.
Otero commented that, “The national plan for technical cooperation, which will come into effect at the end of September, will realize commitments undertaken between the Government of Chile and IICA. One area of focus of the plan is the creation of a forum or Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the Pacific Alliance. This avenue will provide significant exposure for Chilean agriculture at the regional and sub-regional levels”.
By way of this initiative, the Institute and MINAGRI aim to foster increased market access and enhanced visibility for agriculture and rural well-being in Pacific Alliance countries, as well as to promote agrifood trade.
It will also utilize IICA’s work systems to drive partnerships between the public-private sector and production entities, as mechanisms for joint cooperation.
IICA’s Director General maintained that, “We have already set the stage for dialogue with Chile, and are reiterating this commitment with the signing of this memorandum of understanding. We hope to encourage a renewed vision of international cooperation, striving for a strengthened relationship with the private sector”. In reference to the international organization’s new 2018-2022 Medium Term Plan, he went on to say that, “We are also thankful for the support given to us in the approval of our roadmap for the next four years”.
The initial plan is for the development of a mechanism for dialogue and experience-sharing between the Dominican Republic and Chile, which could be replicated in other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
On the other hand, Alfonso Vargas commented that, “Evidently, there are many similarities between IICA’s new Medium Term Plan and the focus of the program of our Minister Antonio Walker. Major themes are water, the creation of associations and modern cooperativism, as we seek to create a new image of rural life and to foster improvements in national processes, through technical assistance and by learning from international experiences. Chile will also make its own contribution elsewhere, based on the work we have been doing”.
The IICA-MINAGRI partnership partially fulfils the mandate of Chile’s government – headed by President Sebastian Piñera - to strengthen the Pacific Alliance, including its founding members: Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, and to promote increased cooperation with countries that are now in the process of joining the Alliance, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, among others.
Also present at the signing of this agreement, were the Executive Secretary of the Chilean Agency for Food Safety and Quality (ACHIPIA), Nuri Grass; the Director of the Agricultural Research Institute (INIA), Pedro Bustos; the Director of the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP), Carlos Recondo; the Director of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), Horacio Bórquez; the Director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policies (ODEPA), Gustavo Rojas; and IICA’s Representative in Chile, Jaime Flores.
IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
Isaac Zúñiga Keith, journalist, IICA.