Ministers of agriculture of Africa and America have launched a common agenda focusing on innovation, environmental sustainability and profitability of farmers.
The two continents reached an agreement during the First High-Level Roundtable between Africa and the Americas, convened and organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), entitled “Building Bridges for Future Cooperation in Agrifood Systems”.
IICA 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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They committed to working together to develop a cooperation agenda, and agreed that the two continents face common challenges and opportunities with respect to transforming their agrifood systems to make them more sustainable and inclusive.
To this end, they agreed to develop agendas throughout the year to link technical assistance institutions for agriculture – such as Brazil’s Embrapa, Argentina’s INTA and all national research organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, which play a key role – and their scientists and professionals, in order to deepen exchanges. They also proposed holding a ministerial summit on agriculture in Africa and the Americas in the second half of 2022.
Other topics of common interest that emerged from the debate were the recovery of degraded soils, efficient water management and the promotion of more open, fairer and more transparent international food trade.
The initiative to bring the Americas and Africa closer together arose during the extensive preparatory process for the Food Systems Summit held last September, explained Agnes Kalibata, who was the main facilitator of the global event held in New York.
The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil, Julián Domínguez associated the sustainability of agrifood systems with the need for international agricultural trade to be transparent and fair. She was also critical of the “protectionism of developed countries, which has hindered the capacity of developing countries to consolidate more modern and dynamic food production”.