The Secretary indicated that agriculture in her country offers the best means of achieving development, feeding the population and generating foreign exchange
San Jose, 20 July 2022 (IICA) - The Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, Laura Suazo, was elected Chair of the Executive Committee of IICA, a governing body of the specialized international agency. Suazo called for adapting agricultural development plans to overcome poverty and poor nutrition, which result in the abandonment of farms and rural territories and trigger painful migration processes.
Suazo, who graduated as an agricultural engineer from the prestigious Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano, holds a Master’s degree in Climate Change and Environmental Management. She also obtained a Doctoral degree in International Agriculture and Environmental Sociology from Cornell University. She is one of the most esteemed agricultural professionals in Honduras, where her professional career has focused on fostering sustainable agriculture, food security, climate change, comprehensive risk management and inclusive sustainable development.
Since taking office at the Secretariat, Suazo, whose family business provided her with experience as an agricultural producer, has promoted ecological agriculture and alternative funding as tools to eradicate poverty.
“I believe that poverty eradication remains the greatest challenge to be addressed by any community or national work plan, as well as this regional work plan”, said Suazo in reference to IICA’s roadmap, which will guide the organization’s actions during the 2022-2026 period.
The Honduran official recalled that “the reality for most peasants and farmers is that they practice agriculture in a context of poverty, which means they are unable to meet the basic needs of an agricultural model that is highly dependent on external inputs”.
In this regard, she called for identifying “what we are doing wrong”, adding that, “as Minister of Agriculture, I want to learn in order to expedite the necessary changes”.
She also pointed out that “internal migration is an everyday issue in Central America”, which is also dealing with “the scary movement of migrant caravans, with people risking their lives at the border every single day to get to countries where they can secure jobs”.
The Secretary indicated that, for this reason, agriculture in her country offers the best means of achieving development, feeding the population and generating foreign exchange. In that regard, she expressed her concern regarding the difficulties faced in supplying fertilizers, whose global trade has been affected by the war in Eastern Europe.
“In addition to the topic of fertilizers, I believe that IICA has an extremely important role to play in addressing a decades-long issue, which is the fact that producers are the agricultural chain stakeholders who earn the least. That being the case, how can we expect them to overcome poverty?”
The Honduran minister concluded her remarks by proposing that free trade agreements currently in force be reviewed.
“We are facing considerable challenges in terms of production and the fact that, every day, producers threaten to abandon farming because they are unable to make a profit or to compete with international prices. This is a harsh reality and one I wish I didn’t have to point out. But I am here to urge us all to find joint solutions that will somehow be reflected in the proposed adjustments to IICA’s institutional plan”, she concluded.
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