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As the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), continues to foster and develop several areas in agriculture within its member countries, several Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture from the Caribbean are currently participating in a series of activities in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.

The visit, which is part of a mission led by the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, commenced on March 12, 2018 and is expected to conclude on the March 15.

The trip was organized to bring together Minister and Deputy Minister of Agriculture the Caribbean with the aim of diversifying the trade of nations that are vulnerable in terms of food security and the effects of climate change in addition to facilitating access to new technologies and cooperation.

The meeting also serves as a follow-up to the commitments undertaken at the Nineteenth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 25 to 26 October 2017.

Director of the Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU), George Jervis is attending on the ministry’s behalf.

It is expected that Guyana’s participation will significantly impact the country’s access to IICA funded projects and initiatives to further develop the sector over the next four years.

These projects and initiatives will also be incorporated in IICA’s 2018-2022 medium-term plan that is currently being developed for the benefit of the Institute’s member countries.

Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Suriname will also be engaging a number of high ranking Brazilian Government officials during the trip.

The events will also include participation from senior representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

The first event, titled “South-South Cooperation/Brazil-Caribbean”, took place on Monday, 12 March at the IICA Delegation in Brasilia with presentations being done by the Brazilian Ministers of State and the President of EMBRAPA.

During the conference, IICA’s Director General is also expected to provide details of “IICA’s New Technical Cooperation Model” and Brazil’s National Secretary for Food and Nutrition Security.

“This mission’s arrival in Brazil marks the fulfilment of a specific commitment I made at the start of my administration — that of making IICA an institution that serves as a bridge between countries, regions, international agencies and issues, developing a new solidarity within our continent. We are determined to ensure that the Americas cease to be the continent with the lowest levels of trade among its countries.” Otero said.

The second day of activities will see the participants visiting one of EMBRAPA’s facilities that operates a climate simulation chamber for the production of vegetables under different environmental conditions, as well as a station where organic fertilizer is produced. The Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture will also attend a lecture on good vegetable production practices for family farming.

Several other visits to farms and other facilities will be conducted during the trip.

The ministers’ activities in Brazil will conclude with them having meetings with the Portuguese speaking country’s Minister of Social Development, the Director General of IICA and Brazilian Parliamentary Leaders who are heavily involved in the agriculture sector.

After their visit to Brazil, the Caribbean Ministers will travel to Argentina.

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