In Asunción, the hemispheric organization presented a proposal to Denis Lichi, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, on developing the banana sector as a means of bolstering the income of family farmers.
Asunción, 15 March 2019 (IICA). The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Paraguay and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture agreed to ramp up joint actions to achieve greater production diversification in Paraguay’s agriculture sector, focusing on increasing the level of support given to family farmers in the country.
The decision arose out of a meeting between Denis Lichi, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Paraguay, and Manuel Otero, the Director General of IICA, who was on a working visit to Asunción. Otero pointed out the great extent to which the agendas of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s Government and the hemispheric agency specializing in agricultural and rural development coincide with each other.
Otero remarked that, “The meeting was extremely productive: we strengthened ties, reaffirmed our willingness to work together; and recognized the extensive similarities in our agendas regarding the issues on which we will be working. The Minister proposes to strengthen institutions in the agriculture sector and to improve family farming-related policies, with particular emphasis on extension services, which is one of the bottlenecks to technology and knowledge transfer to this vital area of the country’s agriculture sector. IICA stands to play a critical role in this agenda”.
In keeping with plans to boost the income-generation capabilities of family farmers, IICA presented Minister Lichi with a proposal to develop the banana sector, which has tremendous potential to supply both domestic and international markets.
According to Otero, “Paraguay can and should be a major player in the fruit production sector, given its great potential. The country is aiming to follow in the footsteps of other countries, for example, Ecuador and Costa Rica, since it needs to and is attempting to diversify its basket of exportable agricultural goods, without adversely affecting the domestic market”.
The Director General of IICA also met with the Minister of the National Emergency Secretariat of Paraguay, Joaquín Roa Burgos, with whom he discussed the possibility of establishing linkages for joint management of risks, such as floods or droughts.
“I foresee more and better projects for Paraguay”, said Otero, reflecting on his visit to the South American country.
During his visit to Asunción, IICA’s Director General also met with the National Director of Itaipu Binacional Paraguay, José Alberto Alderete, discussing possible new partnerships for the benefit of family farmers.
Coordinator for IICA’s Southern Region, Caio Rocha, and the Institute’s Representative in Paraguay, Ricardo Orellana, also participated in Otero’s working meetings in that country.
Institutional Communication Division