The creation of logistics corridors, the AgrotiendaEc and the De la Mata a la Mesa fairs are the programs highlighted by the Vice Minister of Rural Development, Héctor Romero, who virtually participated in the closing of the Andean Agricultural Forum.
The space was led by Colombia, a country that holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Andean Community (CAN) and was accompanied by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (FAO), together with authorities from the productive sector and the business and academic community of Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.
In his speech, Romero argued that government programs made it possible to keep citizens fed, mainly at the time of the pandemic; In general, he indicated that the importance of agriculture and livestock has been positioned globally. “There was never a lack of products on the tables of our countries and that is recognized by the world. Agriculture and livestock were there when the world stopped due to the pandemic, to keep us with the necessary food ”.
Romero highlighted the work of the National Government; He congratulated Colombia and the CAN, in addition to thanking IICA and FAO for their support, which contributed to articulate actions and tools to face the challenges of the sector.
“We reaffirm our commitment to continue working for the strengthening of the Andean community,” he said.
The forum was the result of three previous consultative sessions, held with the aim of promoting a mechanism that will stimulate the integration process of the Andean Community and the region during the current health pandemic.
The meetings identified strategies and proposed initiatives on topics such as economic reactivation, strengthening of family farming and food security, based on the actions and experiences of its members.
Juan Gonzalo Botero, Vice Minister of Agricultural Affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia, indicated that it is important to overcome local differences for the benefit of the agricultural sector in the region.
“The sector that contributes the most to our economies; the food supply of our towns has been maintained thanks to the tireless work of the farmers of the field ”.
In addition, he pointed out that among the regional indicators that contributed to the GDP of the Andean economies in the last two years, agricultural activity reached 12.5% in Bolivia, 6.4% in Colombia, 7.8% in Ecuador and 5.6% in Peru, higher than the average of Latin America and the Caribbean of 4.9%.
Agricultural and agroindustrial exports register a contribution to the commercial exchange of the countries, with 20% in Bolivia, 52% in Ecuador, 23% in Peru, and 18% in Colombia. These achievements project the CAN with a 2% participation in world exports, occupying the 17th position in the sale of agroindustrial agricultural products.
Once the interventions were completed, the Declaration of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Member Countries of the Andean Community, participants of the Andean Agricultural Forum, was signed, in which the representatives express their joint political position and solution concepts related to the issues discussed.
In this declaration, the countries ratify their commitment to the Andean integration process, which, throughout its 51 years of existence, has generated opportunities for the economies of the region, which should be used for the reactivation of the agricultural sector in the post pandemic.
Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, showed his commitment to joining forces, and also proposed an interagency cooperation table to ensure compliance with the commitments established in the declaration and the agricultural agenda.
Finally, Jorge Pedraza, Secretary General of the CAN, mentioned that it is essential to work together. He also made reference to the participation of Ecuador as the host country of the FAO Conference in 2022, in which it was proposed to project an Andean position that will strengthen the work of the community. (I)