IICA’s contributions to agriculture in the Americas were acknowledged by the Ambassadors to the OAS Permanent Council.
The specialized assistance that IICA has been providing throughout the hemisphere for 70 years, aimed at improving agriculture and the quality of life for rural inhabitants, was acknowledged by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the 2011 Annual Report of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) by the Director General, Victor M. Villalobos, several ambassadors called attention to the technical support IICA provides and asked that current efforts in the region be directed at increasing the contribution of agriculture to food security.
Ambassador Roy Chaderton, Representative of Venezuela, acknowledged the social sensitivity of IICA, a vision his country is trying to adopt in the hopes of bringing more development to rural areas. “We have a great potential for the generation of energy, but we turned our back on the countryside in favor of consumption,” he said.
“When you state that agriculture can help to increase incomes in rural areas, you give us hope,” said Ambassador Edgar Ugalde of Costa Rica following the Director General’s presentation.
Ugalde called attention to the vast experience accumulated over the years by the Institute, which has been headquartered in Costa Rica since it was founded in 1942.
“We will continue to rely on IICA to provide us with technical knowledge that is innovative and has been proven to be useful,” said Ambassador William McGlynn, Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the OAS.
Ambassador Allan Culham, Representative of Canada, stated that the Institute is one of the strongest and most highly regarded entities of the Inter-American System, and asked IICA for collaboration in ensuring that a hemispheric declaration in which the contribution of agriculture to alleviating hunger and poverty are strengthened, comes out of the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
“The Institute has been very active in the Caribbean, working with us to lessen the impact of globalization on our agricultural sectors, because individual actions are insufficient,” said the Ambassador from Dominica, Hubert Charles.
The Representative of Guyana, Ambassador Bayney Karran, endorsed this position and pointed out that IICA’s technical cooperation will be vital in coordinating agricultural policies at the hemispheric level, the kind that will enable his country Guyana to reduce the cost of importing food. “The challenge of food security came earlier than we expected,” she said.
The Ambassador from the Dominican Republic, Roberto Saladin, expressed appreciation for IICA’s support in defining, in his country, a system the tracks the availability of staple foods, which better enables them to satisfy the needs of their population.”
The Representative of Colombia, Ambassador Andres Gonzalez, hoped that the next OAS General Assembly (June 3-5) would follow up on the commitment the region assumed at the recent Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena, to tackle the problem of poverty head on.
“To achieve food security is a challenges and an opportunity. We have land, water and a large peasant population, but we must do more together to transmit knowledge, which can become a reality with the actions of institutions such as IICA and its professionals,” he said.
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