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Central American ministers of agriculture endorse push for regional dialogue on food systems

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Posted: Monday, February 15, 2021. 6:18 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: At a meeting of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), it has been agreed that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will undertake an extensive regional discussion on the topic of food systems, under the direction of the CAC Executive Secretariat (SECAC).

The first such meeting takes place when Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández visits IICA’s headquarters in Costa Rica on March 17. Honduras’ agriculture Minister Mauricio Guevara told his colleagues that “enormous sacrifice” has been made at the government level to revive the regional agricultural sector and added that these discussions are vital in view of the current Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, social polarization, and ideological divisions.

Costa Rica’s agriculture chief and President Pro Tempore of the CAC Renato Alvarado, made sure to caution, “If farmers are not in the field producing food, large cities will face problems. We need to turn up the volume on this issue both in Central America and South America, as the matter of fair prices for farmers is something that must be discussed. If not, food will only be available to a few.” Guatemala’s José Ángel López highlighted at the meeting his work to strengthen family farming through food production with technical, technological and innovation assistance.

In his discussions with the agricultural authorities of Central America and the Dominican Republic, the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, underscored the importance of the process of dialogue leading up to the Food Systems Summit that the UN convened for this year.

“IICA is providing a platform that will allow the voice of the Americas to be heard at this forum, at least in terms of three main issues: farmers should be the key actors in any agrifood system; policy decisions with respect to these systems should be science-based; and their sustainability should be increased. Agriculture is part of the solutions and not of the problems,” maintained Otero.

“CAC is the logical ambit to promote this discussion within Central America; and the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), which will meet at the start of September, is the sounding board that will enable us to develop a common position for this important Summit”, he added.

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