Manuel Otero, the Director General of IICA, attended the IV Regional Meeting of International Organizations for Integration and Cooperation in Agricultural Health and Food Safety
San José, 27 July 2018 (IICA) -- Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation (IICA), urged international cooperation organizations involved in agricultural health- and food safety-related matters to join forces and forge alliances to execute joint initiatives, in order to effectively address countries’ needs in these areas.
He was speaking at the IV Regional Meeting of International Organizations for Integration and Cooperation in Agricultural Health and Food Safety (SG-SICA), held at the Headquarters of the Secretariat General of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Otero maintained that, “These are times that call for cooperation, requiring us to set aside individualistic attitudes. We must join efforts and generate synergies in order to tackle the ever increasing challenges and to rise to the occasion. Health is a matter which is the key to explaining many of the problems that hamper trade in our region”, assured Otero.
The Director General of the Inter-American organization expressed IICA’s willingness to act as a bridge, providing access to the hemispheric platform that it has at its disposal, as well as to the recognized expertise of its technical resources in health and food safety, in order to generate horizontal cooperation, foster progress in this area and to guarantee food safety and a decent quality of life for the region’s inhabitants.
The Institute’s new plan of action for 2018 – 2022 (Medium Term Plan), which was approved last week, has identified agricultural health and food safety as one of its five primary areas of focus.
“The countries have expressed very strong support for the issues covered in the Medium Term Plan, which is a program that positions the Institute as a knowledge management and innovation platform to mobilize human and institutional resources. We have a critical mass and have developed well-earned prestige in health and safety matters and are willing to further our efforts and to join forces with organizations such as OIRSA, FAO and the World Organization for Animal health, that also have expertise in these areas”, added Otero.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Efraín Median, the Executive Director of the Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA); Tito Díaz, the Subregional Coordinator for Mesoamerica and Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Panama; Olinda Salguero, Chief of Staff of SICA; and Victor Torres, the Director General of Livestock of El Salvador.
Tackling Drought in El Salvador
Within the context of the event, IICA’s Director of General expressed his concern about the severe drought in El Salvador, which is affecting the area in the country where the majority of basic grain production takes place (including maize) and that has recorded 33 consecutive days with no rainfall.
Otero concluded by stating that, “IICA would like to express its willingness to support the farmers, and to stress the importance of working based on good agricultural practices, which are essential in order to minimize climate change impact. We would like to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to see how we can build a more resilient agriculture sector that will benefit farmers in El Salvador. Climate change is a very harsh reality that is affecting food self-sufficiency”.
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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