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Caribbean looks to partner with Argentina and Brazil to strengthen agriculture industry

Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018. 10:50 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, 11 Caribbean Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture participated in a working session in Buenos Aires to share experiences with members of the Agricultural Commission of the Argentine Senate.

The Caribbean delegates shared an interest in strengthening ties with this South American country in order to acquire knowledge and innovation, primarily in the use of applied technology in agricultural production.

Officials from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Haiti, Surinam, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Christopher and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti and St. Lucia, as well as high level representatives from CARICOM, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Research and Development Institute (CARDI) met in Argentina, as part of a mission led by Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which also included the participation of Caio Rocha, Brazil’s National Secretary of Food and Nutritional Security.

IICA indicated that the schedule also included a meeting in the Senate with President of the Agricultural Commission, Alfredo De Ángeli and a visit to the National Centre for Agricultural Research at the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) to tour research facilities that specialize in Natural Resources, Climate and Water and Domestic Agriculture.

 The delegations were accompanied by INTA’s President, Juan Balbín, who made repeated reference to the institution’s activities and its interaction with the private and academic sectors.

The objective of IICA’s mission which included a working session in Brasilia, Brazil, prior to the Caribbean officials’ arrival in Argentina is to facilitate access to cooperation and technology by nations vulnerable to climate change and to address the issue of food security.

 “We see this initiative as an important first step in strengthening cooperation between the countries of the Organization of Caribbean States (OECS), the governments of Argentina and Brazil and IICA.  The initiative provides a platform through which we may enhance south-south cooperation and knowledge and skills sharing”, said Beverly Best, OECS’ head of Cooperation for Development and Resource Mobilization.

 Desiree Field-Ridley, CARICOM’s Officer in charge of Trade and Economic Integration, explained that “agriculture is one of our key sectors, but it has not grown as needed or expected, and therefore we are seeking some kind of assistance that will allow us to offer the necessary support to this activity.  IICA’s work is very important in this regard and we realize that we can cooperate with Brazil and Argentina.  Agriculture should be the industry that attracts youth and investors and it should unite technology and investment.”

CARICOM’s Member States are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, with Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands as Associate Members.

Before returning home, the delegates will visit San Nicolás for Expoagro, which is the most important outdoor agricultural fair in Argentina, where they will take part in a tour that has been specially arranged by the Expoagro organizers.

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