Science and innovation are crucial to the future of agrifood systems in the Americas, state high-level experts in new episode of IICA en Acción

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Agrifood systems of Latin America and the Caribbean must undergo a transformation to overcome challenges related to food security, productivity and climate change, state experts in a new episode of IICA en Acción.

San Jose, 23 August 2023 (IICA) – Science, technology and innovation will play a decisive role in charting the course for agrifood systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will need to undergo a transformation to overcome considerable challenges related to food security, productivity and the impact of climate change. This was the conclusion of experts brought together by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), CGIAR and the World Bank, who are featured on the latest episode of the IICA en Acción (IICA in Action) podcast.

On the podcast, which discusses the Living Soils of the Americas initiative and shares institutional news, numerous officials and experts have shared their experiences and progress achieved in matters related to soils and sustainable agriculture in various countries throughout the region.

The most recent episode features IICA Director General Manuel Otero and Martín Piñeiro, Director General Emeritus of IICA and Agriculture Director at the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), among other figures.

“We are calling on agriculture to respond to growing challenges related to food and energy security. It must do so on the go, because agriculture is like a moving vehicle that must make changes along the way. And agriculture in the world, and in our region, is making those changes”, maintained Otero.

Martín Piñeiro explained that “we can no longer think in terms of agriculture alone. We must also consider food systems, which introduce additional elements, dimensions and factors to productivity, such as environmental sustainability and the nutritional quality of food. This, in turn, requires strategic thinking and the organization of much more complex and multidisciplinary research projects”.

Otero and Piñeiro were among the speakers in a dialogue organized by IICA, which underscored the crucial need for joint work between the public and private sectors to strengthen agrifood systems in the region, in the face of current challenges and opportunities.

The specialists also underscored the need for States, research institutes, producers’ organizations, and small, medium and large-scale agricultural producers in the countries to play a key role in coordinating policies and actions.

More than 100 experts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CGIAR (a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis), the World Bank, FAO, IICA and other international agencies took part in the Regional Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation in Agrifood Systems of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in May 2023.

In attendance were members of the scientific community and executive secretaries of cooperation mechanisms for science, technology and innovation in agrifood systems, such as the Cooperative Program in Agricultural Research and Technology for the Northern Region (PROCINORTE), the Cooperative Program for Agrifood and Agroindustrial Technology Development in the Southern Cone (PROCISUR), the Forum of the Americas for Agricultural Research and Technological Development (FORAGRO), the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO) and the Regional Cooperative Program for the Technological Development and Modernization of Coffee Production (PROMECAFE).

Previous interviewees on the IICA en Acción podcast segment dedicated to the Living Soils of the Americas initiative have included IICA Director General Manuel Otero; award-winning Rattan Lal, one of the world’s leading experts on soil sciences; Argentine Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Juan José Bahillo; the Chief of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, Terry Cosby; and experts of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and the Argentine Association of Direct Seeding Producers (AAPRESID).

Private sector entities that have partnered in this initiative, namely Bayer, Syngenta and PepsiCo, have also participated.
About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.

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