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LAC and EU agrifood innovation networks set to receive a boost

San Jose, Costa Rica, April 14, 2014 (IICA). The biggest Ibero-American innovation network in the agrifood sector, Red INNOVAGRO, whose Executive Secretariat is operated by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), will bring researchers and companies together in Spain to promote partnerships for innovation in the agrifood area, which are of strategic importance to meet the global challenges faced by agriculture.

The activity in question is the Seminario INNOVAGRO sobre Redes de Innovación en Agroalimentación, in which specialists from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the European Union (EU) will be taking part in the city of Córdoba from April 23-25.

Red INNOVAGRO coordinates international efforts to promote innovation. Its Executive Secretariat is operated by the IICA.

The seminar will be inaugurated by the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos; the General Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) of Spain, Isabel García Tejerina; the Director General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos; the president of the Red de Gestión de la Innovación en el Sector Agroalimentario (Red INNOVAGRO), Mauricio Lastra; and the rector of the University of Córdoba, José Manuel Roldán, who is also president of the Campus de Excelencia Internacional en Agroalimentación (ceiA3).

The meeting is being organized by Red INNOVAGRO and ceiA3.

Red INNOVAGRO has 72 members, including research institutes, universities, companies, foundations, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, international organizations and regional networks based in 13 LAC countries and Spain, the Netherlands and Israel.

In his keynote address on April 23, Villalobos will focus on the main challenges with regard to global agricultural policies and how they affect innovation. He will also explain the model that IICA uses to provide technical cooperation in agriculture in the Americas and the contributions that the European Union could make to help meet the challenges in the sector.

Leticia Deschamps, Executive Secretary of Red INNOVAGRO, explained that the objective of the international seminar would be to pave the way for international governance in the field of agrifood innovation, facilitating the coordination of efforts on the subject.

“The overarching challenges facing agriculture are beyond the capacities of individual countries and organizations, so cooperation between LAC and the European Union to achieve the objectives involved becomes a matter of strategic importance,” she remarked.

According to Deschamps, who will give a presentation on how Red INNOVAGRO coordinates international efforts to promote innovation, the Americas can play a leading role in the development of the agrifood sector provided that it uses innovation as a strategic tool to increase its productivity, competitiveness, sustainability and equity.

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