The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) stated that the countries of America had presented their united position towards the future of food production at a meeting parallel to the UN Food Systems pre-summit that is taking place in Rome.
Ministers of Agriculture and senior officials from 33 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean met at the Brazilian embassy in Rome to highlight the role that the region plays as guarantor of the world's food security, by presenting their joint position embodied in a document of 16 key messages for the Food Systems Summit next September.
"We present this document that represents the vision of a central food-producing region for the world that has reached a consensus and that assumes its responsibility in both agricultural production and sustainability," stated the Minister of Agriculture of Paraguay, Santiago Bertoni.
Brazilian Minister Tereza Cristina emphasized that agriculture is part of the Americas' history and culture. “We are the main producer of food and environmental services in the world, so our region must be incorporated as part of the narrative that is being created at the Summit. One cannot argue that agriculture is responsible for climate change,” he stated.
The document highlights the fundamental role of agriculture, puts farmers in the foreground as central protagonists of food production, and affirms that agricultural activity is vital to eradicate poverty, promote rural development, and protect the environment. Furthermore, it underlines that the transformation of global food systems must be balanced and take into account the capacity to increase food production and variety, health, safety, nutritional diversity and quality, as well as environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
The region places special emphasis on the Caribbean, an area dependent on food imports and frequently affected by natural disasters and climate change, somewhat similar to Central America, which is affected by food insecurity and natural disasters.
The Director-General of IICA, Manuel Otero, emphasized that the joint position of the region seeks to ensure that agricultural producers are duly represented in global discussion forums.
"These are challenging moments and the 16 messages reflect the spirit of unity of a region that wants to be a protagonist and not a witness of the things that are going to happen," stated Otero, who reaffirmed that agriculture is a strategic sector for the American countries.
The event was attended by the ministers of agriculture from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Guyana, Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Jamaica, as well as secretaries, undersecretaries, and senior officials of other countries in the hemisphere.