The Director General of the Institute, Manuel Otero, conferred the title on Paolinelli during a ceremony attended by numerous authorities, including the Brazilian Ministers of Agriculture and Citizenship, Tereza Cristina and Osmar Terra, who highlighted the Institute’s work.
Brasilia, 27 February 2019 (IICA). Alysson Paolinelli, the former Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, who is credited with being the driving force behind the sustainable tropical agriculture model that enabled the South American country to become one of the world’s agrifood superpowers, was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The Director General of the Institute, Manuel Otero, presented Paolinelli with the title during a ceremony attended by numerous government authorities, including the Brazilian Ministers of Agriculture and Citizenship, Tereza Cristina and Osmar Terra.
“I am not the one who should be receiving this award; instead, we should be presenting IICA with an award. The Institute has helped a great deal by assisting us to send young Brazilian researchers abroad to specialize in their fields. With support from IICA and through various universities, it was possible to develop a project that enabled Brazil to break ground on the tropical agriculture model we have today, which is the most efficient in the world,” stated Paolinelli, on receiving the award.
Paolinelli, who graduated as an agricultural engineer from the School of Higher Education in Agronomy of Lavras (Esal), previously served as the Secretary of Agriculture of Minas Gerais, creating incentives that enabled the state to become Brazil’s largest coffee producer. He received the World Food Prize in 2006.
During his tenure as the country’s Minister of Agriculture, he masterminded the modernization of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), and was a pivotal force in boosting the economic development of the Brazilian “Cerrado” biome.
“Agriculture is a critical activity: it drives development and is the backbone of our countries. We need more people like Polinelli in the agriculture sector of the Americas, to spread their enthusiasm as well as their capacity to foster development, by undertaking initiatives that prioritize agriculture and that make rural areas more attractive to youth,” stated Otero, on presenting Paolinelli with the Goodwill title.
Minister Tereza Cristina, on the other hand, highlighted the fact that all of the Secretaries from her Ministry were in attendance at the ceremony, and noted that “tribute should also be paid to IICA for the important work it undertakes in collaboration with Brazil’s agriculture sector.”
She also highlighted the relevance of the partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and IICA. “We will continue to strengthen this partnership. Brazil needs many of the projects that we are jointly implementing, given its role as one of the leading global exporters,” remarked the minister.
Minister Terra stated that “Manuel Otero, the Director General of IICA, is leading a small revolution and will certainly continue to drive agriculture, including family farming, in Brazil and across the Americas.”
Mission in Brazil
The ceremony honoring Alysson Paolinelli was the final activity in an agenda of strategic meetings held by the Director General of IICA in Brazil, where he also met with Sebastião Barbosa, President of Embrapa, to discuss ways to strengthen joint work by capitalizing on IICA’s presence in the Americas and Embrapa’s contributions to research and technology.
During a meeting with high-level officials from UN agencies, led by Niky Fabiancic, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Brazil, Otero presented IICA’s strategic programs and discussed opportunities for joint actions with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Program (WFP), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Director General of IICA was also welcomed to Brazil by federal deputy Alceu Moreira, Chair of the Parliamentary Agricultural Front (FPA).
During his visit to Brazil, Otero also met with Gustavo Canuto and Osmar Terra, the Ministers of Regional Development and Citizenship, respectively; Marcos Montes, Executive Secretary (Deputy Minister) of the Ministry of Agriculture; and Márcio Lopes de Freitas, Chair of the OCB System (Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives).
IICA Goodwill Ambassadors Program
IICA’s Goodwill Ambassadors share concerns and commitments related to the achievement of sustainable and equitable development. They are also willing to join a cause aimed at increasing public awareness and strengthening development through projects related to food security, bioeconomy, gender and youth, responsible production or climate change, which are key topics in IICA’s agenda.
Carolina Fleury, IICA Communication Consultant in Brazil.