Agriculture ministers from Africa, Latin America commit to focus on innovation
Ministers of Agriculture from Africa and Latin America meet and committed to working together to develop a cooperation agenda and agreed that the two continents face common challenges and opportunities regarding transforming their agri-food systems to make them more sustainable and inclusive.
The agreement was reached during the First High-Level Roundtable between Africa and the Americas, convened and organised 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".
The high-ranking officials who took part in the virtual event agreed that, beyond the cultural and historical similarities and differences between the Americas and Africa, the continents face a unique and common challenge: that of building knowledge-intensive agriculture, with a human face, while caring for the environment and considering the areas of nutrition and health, which, they agreed, is necessary in order to produce more and higher quality food.
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 organisations 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.
Among the participants were Agnes Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit; as well as Hailemariam Desalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
The meeting participants agreed to hold a broader ministerial summit between the two continents later this year, focusing on innovation issues, that are essential to increase the productivity and sustainability of agri-food systems, such as digital agriculture and biotechnology research.
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.