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IICA Joins Farmers From 30 Countries, Meeting in Argentina to Discuss How to Strengthen The Joint Agenda for Sustainable Agricultural Production

21 February 2023 - Approximately 80 farmers from 30 countries, who are committed to sustainable food production, shared experiences and best practices during a working seminar in Argentina, which was also attended by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The discussions took place at a meeting of the Global Farmer Network – an international organization whose members are farmers representing a vast array of production scenarios. The participants visited production facilities, biotechnology companies and trading hubs; and attended talks by experts, with a focus on building increasingly resilient agrifood systems that are able to satisfy the global demand for high-quality food, while reducing the depletion of natural resources.

Established in 2000 and based in Des Moines, Iowa, the GFN seeks to amplify the voice of farmers to foster more dynamic international trade; facilitate the use of technology and to promote sustainable agriculture, economic growth and food security.

Moreover, through the exchange of knowledge, the organization draws on the experience and the perspectives of its members to encourage constructive dialogue, dispel the myths surrounding modern agriculture and demonstrate the benefits of trade, sustainable agricultural practices, as well as the importance of responsible regulations, nutrition and ensuring the livelihood of farmers.

According to María “Pilu” Giraudo, an Argentinian GFN member, who was one of the meeting organizers, Argentina’s advances in production sustainability and its dissemination of environmental protection practices such as direct seeding, which is used in more than 90% of the country’s cultivated areas today, were instrumental in the selection of the South American country as the venue for the meeting.

Julie Borlaug, President of the Borlaug Foundation and member of the Network’s Advisory Council also attended the meeting. Giraudo is also a member of the Council, along with scientists and farmers from countries such as the United States, Kenya and Argentina.

In her role as foundation president and as the granddaughter of scientist Norman Borlaug—considered to be one of the fathers of the Green Revolution that substantially increased agricultural production in the 20th century—Borlaug is working to safeguard the legacy of her grandfather, while also promoting successful partnerships in all sectors and scientific disciplines to improve and accelerate innovations to assist in eradicating hunger.

Giraudo emphasized that work networks and partnerships facilitate continuous interaction and promote collective learning among farmers with similar problems, albeit in different environments.

The participants agreed that working to build a resilient global agricultural and food system that prioritizes the interests of the world’s farmers is fundamental in ensuring global economic recovery and guaranteeing food security.

Agriculture, an essential activity

IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, sent a message declaring the GFN to be “an organization with which we share values and the conviction that agriculture is essential for global peace and fundamental for food security and sustainable development”.

“We are an organization that, from its position in the Americas, is advocating internationally for collective action to produce increasingly more with fewer resources”, argued Otero. “This will call for the strengthening of science and technology systems and the promotion of public policies that empower farmers. Food security is a priority in global public agendas today and our rural areas are strategic assets. The role of agriculture and farmers is irreplaceable”.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Argentina, Juan José Bahillo, indicated that agricultural production in Argentina today is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, but that the sector is continuously striving to be more productive and to gradually reduce its impact on natural resources.

Bahillo gave the opening remarks in a panel discussion on opportunities for farmers and scientists to collaborate and work together, in which the IICA Representative in Argentina, Fernando Camargo, and the Permanent Representative of Argentina to FAO, Carlos Cherniak, also participated.

Camargo invited the producers at the meeting to assist in preparations to design a pavilion, representing agriculture in the Americas and highlighting its sustainable practices, to be installed at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) at the end of this year.

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