The organizations will devise a framework agreement to facilitate joint initiatives in areas such as biotechnology, bioinputs, pollination and food production.
San José, 12 November 2018 (IICA). Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), met with Ronald Guendel, Global Head of Food Security and Advocacy at Bayer, as part of efforts to develop a framework agreement to implement joint initiatives in areas of common interest, such as biotechnology and biosecurity; bioinputs; and pollinators, pollination and food production.
IICA’s Head, who welcomed the Bayer executive to the Institute’s Headquarters in Costa Rica, commented that the hemispheric organization and the German company share similar interests, particularly with respect to innovation, science and technology, maintaining that the partnership would undoubtedly revitalize agriculture, translating into greater benefits for Latin American and Caribbean producers.
Otero argued that, “The major transformation that we are spearheading is based on a new technical cooperation model, in which public-private sector linkages are critical. We have many interests in common with Bayer, such as sustainable development, science, technology, innovation and scientific knowledge, and we share the same philosophy of building synergies and complementing efforts. IICA has offices in 34 countries and we work closely with the Ministries of Agriculture, which will be important for this relationship”.
Guendel maintained that the strong presence of both the specialized agricultural agency and Bayer in Latin America will assist both organizations to develop closer relationships with producers.
The German company’s Global Head of Food Security and Advocacy remarked further that, “Not only does IICA have a strong presence in the hemisphere, but it is an excellent organization that is guided by the principles of sustainability and innovation, which are extremely important to us. The Institute also shares Bayer’s vision and this will ensure that we forge a win-win relationship that will drive real change in agriculture. Our aim is to enable producers to improve their standard of living, but to do so in a sustainable way”.
Results of a first joint initiative
The first IICA-Bayer joint initiative was an online training program in July 2017, which assisted 340 producers, agricultural entrepreneurs and extension workers from 104 countries to strengthen their knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices (G.A.P) in relation to the localg.a.p. protocol, which is the first step toward achieving GLOBALG.A.P - an indispensable requirement to export fresh fruits and vegetables to international markets.
The course was provided worldwide, free of cost, in Spanish and in English, and was accessible over the last 12 months via IICA’s virtual campus, enabling participants to access the BayG.A.P certification tool developed by Bayer Crop Science AG. BayG.A.P. is an important contribution promoting good agricultural practices around the world, benefiting small farmers, food chain partners and consumers.
The purpose of the course was to establish and implement a sustainable model for the production of crops that would yield social and economic benefits for producers and their families, while guaranteeing food safety and quality, creating new opportunities for producers to access markets and improving the use of natural resources, the health of workers and agricultural working conditions. The organizers plan to offer training courses in Portuguese next year.
Given the success of this first venture, over the coming months the agricultural specialist agency and the German corporation will seek to further define the areas in which they will be collaborating.
Orlando Vega, Specialist in Renewable Energy, IICA