Sitting on a panel with agriculture sector leaders at the Toronto Global Forum, Manuel Otero, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), called for productivity shortcomings to be addressed.
San José, 14 December 2018 (IICA). IICA’s main challenge is to ensure that no country in the American hemisphere is left behind in the areas of agriculture and livestock. This will call for an acceleration of the process to transform agriculture in the tropical belt countries, which are primarily net food importers that have less advanced technological infrastructures.
Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), raised this point at the Toronto Global Forum in Canada, where he participated in a panel, entitled, “The Global Food System: Meeting the Needs of Tomorrow”.
The head of the specialized Inter-American agency argued that, “Drought tolerant wheat, artificial meat and drones in rural areas are part of an established reality in countries engaged in modern and high-tech agriculture, which differs from the situation in countries in the tropical belt, and IICA’s main challenge is to ensure that no one is left behind. This will mean accelerating the process of transforming agriculture in these countries, which are net food importers that are lagging behind technologically”.
Thus, while addressing the audience of primarily business leaders, many of them from agriculture-related enterprises, Otero pinpointed “productivity shortcomings as an issue that needs to be addressed in agriculture”, mentioning, by way of example, the differences in the per hectare yields of crops such as maize in the United States and Canada, as compared to the Caribbean, which produces ten times less, on average.
Otero also remarked that, “in order to accelerate this transformation process and to refashion the image of agriculture, bioeconomy appears to offer the most interesting paradigm”, since it will “allow us to capitalize on the biological wealth of the region to strengthen production development, with the added advantage that it promotes low carbon development.
This approach, argued IICA’s Director General, “transforms waste into a source of revenue; makes non-agricultural use of biomass; generates very sophisticated value chains, impacting areas such as the construction sector, pharmaceuticals, and fashion; and proposes the use of rural areas as biofactories”.
Also sitting on the Toronto Global Forum Panel were Soren Schroder, Chief Executive Officer of Bunge; Pradnya Joshi, Editor of Agriculture and Trade at POLITICO; Deb Stark, Board Member of the Canadian Agricultural Policy Institute; Marie Haga, Executive Director of Global Crop Diversity Trust; David Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer of AeroFarms and Pedro Silveira, President of Danone Canada.
Institutional Communication Division