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Small farmers top of concern for new OECS-Brazil-Argentina Agricultural Knowledge Exchange

THE Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is building upon progress to safeguard the Eastern Caribbean’s agricultural sector through greater access to applied farming technology from South America in the face of climate change and food security concerns.

Representatives from the Commission recently joined eleven High Level Officials from Caribbean Agricultural Ministries, CARICOM Secretariat and CARDI in Brasilia, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina from the 12-15th March to strengthen ties and agricultural technology transfers between the Caribbean, Argentina and Brazil

The mission was led by Dr. Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and included a working session in Brasilia, Brazil prior to an Argentine Senate visit with the President of the Agricultural Commission, Mr. Alfredo De Angeli, as well as various technical site visits to institutions to gain first hand knowledge of innovative technologies and research in the agricultural sector that promote food security and build resilience.

Representatives also visited the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) to examine research facilities that specialize in natural resources, climate and water and domestic agriculture to experience the latest technologies being applied to enhance food security.

OECS Commission Head of Development Cooperation and Resource Mobilization, Ms. Beverly Best said the program to access new farming technologies especially for small holders would complement other regional advancements such as the OECS agri-shipping initiative.

“We see this as an important first step in strengthening cooperation between the countries of the Organization of Caribbean States (OECS), the governments of Argentina and Brazil and IICA” said Ms. Best.

“The initiative provides a platform through which we can enhance south-south cooperation and knowledge and skills sharing with Brazil and Argentina that have made significant strides in agricultural development and the inclusion of family farmers.

“Most farmers in the OECS are small holders and we look forward to further collaborations to learn about new technology and best practices and to then share these with our agriculture sector” said Ms. Best

Desiree Field-Ridley, CARICOM’s Officer in charge of Trade and Economic Integration, explained that agriculture is one of our key sectors, but it has not grown as needed or expected, and therefore were seeking some kind of assistance that will allow us to offer the necessary support to this activity.

“IICA ‘s work is very important in this regard and we realize that we can cooperate with Brazil and Argentina. Agriculture should be the industry that attracts youth and investors and it should unite technology and investment.”

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