Argentina and IICA embark on joint project to drive agricultural and social development in the Caribbean
Buenos Aires, 14 July 2021 (IICA) – Argentina and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have launched a technical assistant project for the Caribbean to enhance its agricultural production capacity and to improve rural life in its island states.
The project is aiming to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary systems, facilitate agricultural trade and protect natural resources, with a view to improving the food and nutrition security of the Caribbean, a region that is heavily dependent on food imports.
This initiative falls under the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Program established through a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in April by Felipe Solá, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Republic of Argentina, and the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero.
As an initial activity, there will be a virtual seminar on pest control methods during the first week of August, to which representatives of all the Caribbean states will be invited.
The initiative will facilitate the sharing of agricultural best practices developed in Argentina and will also serve to determine work priorities and problems that Caribbean producers should focus on to improve their output and benefit the food security of their countries.
Curt Delice, IICA’s Representative in Suriname and Coordinator for the Caribbean Region, explained that, “One of the main obstacles to achieving increased agricultural exports in the Caribbean Community—CARICOM—is the existing shortcomings in the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) systems of the Member States. Given Argentina’s leading role in global agricultural trade, CARICOM member states have much to learn from that country in order to improve their preparation to export. Traditionally, we have not capitalized on our proximity and the similarities between our geographic regions. Therefore, Argentina’s decision to offer technical cooperation support is very positive and marks a major step in South-South Cooperation between CARICOM and South America”.
The training will focus on crop protection, through pest control, and will include issues such as phytosanitary surveillance, the use of information systems, modern biotechnology, as well as phytosanitary inspection and certification.
Janet Lawrence, IICA Agricultural Health and Food Safety Specialist for the Caribbean, remarked that, “The strengthening of Caribbean phytosanitary systems is fundamental to achieving food and nutritional security, facilitating trade and protecting our natural resources. Therefore, the triangular cooperation program between the Government of Argentina and the Caribbean will contribute to overcoming the major plant protection limitations affecting the region, specifically, in terms of diagnosis, surveillance, monitoring and management. As such, we truly welcome this initiative”.
The project will facilitate the sharing of agricultural best practices developed in Argentina and will also serve to determine work priorities and problems on which Caribbean producers will need to focus to boost their output and benefit their countries’ food security.
Training will focus on crop protection through pest control, including issues such as phytosanitary surveillance, the use of information systems, modern biotechnology and phytosanitary inspection and certification.
After this initial seminar and based on the needs and problems identified in the Caribbean agriculture sector, the project will continue providing technical assistance at a country or subregional level.
After the pandemic, face-to-face training and technical assistance missions will also be undertaken by technical experts and professionals.
The General Directorate of International Cooperation (DGCIN) of Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will spearhead the project. It will be implemented via the Argentine Fund for International Cooperation (FO.AR), an instrument through which Argentina promotes South-South and Triangular Cooperation activities, by engaging in technical cooperation with other countries and with regional and international organizations.
In this joint project, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will assist in identifying areas in which Argentina is equipped to share its strengths and best practices with the Caribbean. On the other hand, the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) and the National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (SENASA) will design the technical aspects, in collaboration with professionals from the IICA Argentina Delegation, the various Caribbean delegations of the Institute and the Coordination Office of the Caribbean Region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs-IICA agreement is aiming to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience to improve rural agricultural and social development in the Caribbean and Central America.
This experience is not the first of its kind. Argentina and IICA signed a first Memorandum of Understanding in 2009, opening the door for the API-Caribe initiative, among other projects, which strengthened the beekeeping industry and boosted the productivity of beehives in Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis, through the support of Argentinian specialists in beekeeping, and in the testing and marketing of its products.
Moreover, in Haiti, the ProHuerta program was developed, through a collaborative effort between Canada, Haiti and Argentina, allowing thousands of families to produce more food for their own consumption.
It was also established that, under the same South-South and Triangular Cooperation Program between Argentina and IICA, technical experts from INTA and the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will develop a technical cooperation project on dairy production best practices for family farmers in Central America.
This will facilitate the training of small farmers in areas such as milking and hygiene, animal health, environmental matters and animal nutrition and welfare. Experiences will be shared with respect to incorporating high-impact technologies into livestock and dairy activities. This will also enable family farmers to directly and efficiently market their products.
IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, stressed the importance of encouraging Argentina and other Mercosur countries—which are major food producers and exporters—to provide cooperation to the Caribbean nations, which are subject to food insecurity problems, extremely vulnerable to climate change and whose rural development strategies have certain weaknesses.
He pointed out that one of the lessons of the pandemic has been the need to institute more cooperation actions that are modern and that enable public and private sectors collaboration.
Institutional Communication Division