QUITO/ROME, 31st March, 2022 (WAM) -- Ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean met Wednesday to foster healthy diets, galvanise inclusive rural development and promote sustainable and resilient agriculture in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of rising food and fertilizer prices on the region, the world's largest net food exporter.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) 37th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is hosted by the Government of Ecuador, is "an opportunity for us to coordinate in a concerted fashion the protection of the resources of social capital and the economy that depend on agricultural production," said President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador.
"The food you produce and export will influence the nutrition of hundreds of millions of men, women and children within and beyond the shores of this prodigious land," FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in his opening remarks to an audience including President of Ecuador and ministers from 33 countries in the region.
He praised the region's ministers, and all the public and private actors in its agrifood systems for their work to keep food production and trade flowing during the pandemic.
"You must maintain this same effort across your agrifood systems, to the benefit of global food security," he added.
Regional Conferences are governing bodies of FAO that meet every two years. They offer a forum for Members to identify key priority areas of work with FAO and provide guidance on the effective implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, in line with the regional specificities of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Director-General emphasised that the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 offers a "clear roadmap" to move towards more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.
Pedro Alava, Minister of Agriculture of Ecuador and Chairperson of the Regional Conference, outlined his country's aim to prepare agriculture to face climate challenges, including by the use of genomic editing technologies to keep plant disease from destroying the country's banana production.
The priority themes for this Regional Conference are sustainable agrifood systems for healthy diets for all; prosperous and inclusive rural societies; and sustainable and resilient agriculture.