Manuel Otero, head of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), met with Abdellatif Ghedira, the Executive Director of the International Olive Council, during his final activity in Spain.
Madrid, September 6, 2018 (IICA). Manuel Otero, Argentinian and Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will begin an official visit to France this Friday, having just completed a working visit to Spain, where he was welcomed by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas. This is Otero’s first official mission to Europe since taking over the helm of this Inter-American organization, which specializes in agriculture and rural development.
In Paris, Otero is scheduled to meet with high-level authorities from France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, executives from French companies in the food sector and representatives of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
On Thursday, his last day of activities in Spain, the Director General met with the Executive Director of the International Olive Council, Abdellatif Ghedira, and authorities from Madrid’s University of Córdoba and Colegio de Agrónomos (College of Agronomists). The International Olive Council is the only international organization focusing on olive oil and table olives, for the purpose of contributing to the responsible and sustainable development of olive production. It also provides a forum to discuss policies and challenges in this sector. IICA member states, Argentina and Uruguay, are also members of this Council.
In meeting with Otero, Minister Planas conveyed Spain’s strong interest in hosting next year’s meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA) - IICA’s highest governing body, made up of ministers of agriculture of the 34 member states of this hemispheric organization.
Otero also met with authorities from academia, international organizations and representatives from private companies, such as BBVA Microfinance Foundation and Telefónica Digital Education (TED), in a bid to forge new alliances to foster association and inclusion and to boost production and territorial development in the Americas. He also spoke with the Secretary General of the Ibero-American Social Security Organization (OISS), Gina Riaño, to determine areas of common ground, as the basis for institutional collaboration in agriculture, rural development and social security.
Speaking at a reception that the Embassy of Argentina in Spain hosted in his honour, Otero remarked that, “These recent meetings, strategic alliances and attempts to develop synergies, will undoubtedly prove to be of benefit to IICA’s Member States”. Also in attendance were high-level authorities from Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, representatives from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the University of Córdoba, the Ambassadors of Chile, Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Paraguay; the Agricultural Attachés of the United States and Russia; and other diplomats and Spanish politicians.
“We are here to build on the Spain-IICA relationship, which will also mean closer ties between the European Union and IICA”, said Otero. He also spoke of the “strength of agriculture in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru and their tremendous capacity to assist other countries in the continent through the provision of technology and solid institutional frameworks”.
In his closing comments, Otero highlighted family farming as one area, “in which these countries could offer assistance, given their greater relative development, particularly to countries in Central America and the Caribbean, by sharing expertise and technology to enable small farmers to access production chains and foster association”.
After leaving France, Otero will head to Rome, on the next leg of his first official mission to Europe since assuming office in January as Director General of IICA.
He will attend several meetings in the Italian capital, including with the Director General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva; the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (FIDA), Gilbert F. Houngbo; the Acting Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Leonardo Carmerati; and with the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley.
He will sign a framework collaboration agreement with the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), represented by its Secretary General, Donato Di Santo, to collaborate with IICA on joint social cohesion and production programs and projects, in order to raise the standard of living of rural communities and to fast-track improvements in competitive and sustainable agriculture.
Otero will also attend a general audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Prefecture of the Papal Household in the Holy See.
Soraya Villarroya, Permanent Office for Europe