Minister´s Forum Series. Understanding Food Security across Latin America in times of COVID-19 | Universidad Zamorano
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Minister´s Forum Series. Understanding Food Security across Latin America in times of COVID-19

A series of forums were initiated by Zamorano in collaboration with Latin American leaders of rural development in the agricultural growth and the environmental sectors that are essential for progress of LATAM countries.

The first Minister´s Forum: “Ensuring the feeding of Latin America, challenges and opportunities for sustainable agriculture in the face of COVID-19”,  was developed by Zamorano.   A Webinar featured Xavier Lazo, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador, and Carlos Guzman, Director of the Bolivian Information Office, Sustainable Development Studies and Policies of the Ministry of Rural Development and Land (MDRyT) in representation of Beatriz Capobianco, Minister.  The webinar concluded that in order to promote agriculture it is necessary to bring producers closer to final markets, give agriculture a social face, and boost the association between production chains, governments and other players.  The webinar concluded that these are some of the actions that will have to be adopted in order to address the short-term challenges that the region will face in times of COVID-19 to ensure feeding of the population.

This webinar was made to address the challenges facing Latin American countries for food production and how to contribute to the development and implementation of innovative and sustainable solutions. Its objective was to virtually connect youth with the people who are charged daily with designing and implementing public policies in favor of agriculture to feed a growing population, provide adequate means of life for farmers and to protect the environment.

Zamorano President, Dr. Jeffrey Lansdale, welcomed the speakers and thanked them for accepting the invitation and sharing their leadership “in these difficult moments of huge challenges, complicated by the impact of the coronavirus on the agricultural sector.”  He added,  “International trade is frozen and this means that each country has to look after its own needs”,. He also asked the participants to share their experiences in their own countries while facing the pandemic and especially to share actions being taken to promote sustainable agricultural practices which will leave soil and land in better conditions for future generations.

In his participation, Minister Lazo, recognized that one of the challenges for the Ecuadorian government in times of COVID-19 is maintaining the strength of its currency and the promotion of its agricultural exports. “In order to protect what is the  large population of  self-employed people in my country, we have some agri-food chains which source the bulk of their products from family farmers. For us, it is very important to generate public agricultural, credit-related and technological development policies which allow us to raise productivity levels and reduce the gap between the producer and the consumer”, he added.

Ecuador is a country which engages 2,226,437 workers in the agricultural sector and where seven out of of ten people in the rural areas work within the agricultural sector. Solutions are to be found by strengthening public private alliances as well as interregional alliances, reinforcing health surveillance services and biosecurity, and ensuring the efficient use of economic, and technical resources, shared the Minister.

The challenges facing the Bolivian agricultural sector, shared Carlos Guzman, are centered around maintaining health, sanitary and food safety issues related to agricultural production.  Senor Guzman shared that the Ministry has taken several actions to address these challenges.  He added that  in Bolivia, the agricultural industry is the source of  70% of the nation’s traditional food, and that agroindustry  is the fourth-ranked country export, whereas family agriculture is the source of 80% of food consumed in country.

To learn about the measures adopted and the opportunities pursed in both countries, you can see the webinar in the following link https://youtu.be/ivpmsT3FW0A

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