May 27, 2020

Central America puts an eye on the dry corridor and sustainable agriculture

Droughts that most frequently affect the Central American dry corridor and the urgency of moving towards sustainable agriculture are two of the issues to which the countries of the region and the international community are paying increasing attention.

Ministers of Environment and Agriculture of Central America held a meeting in Costa Rica on Wednesday with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in the framework of the PreCOP, preparatory meeting for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25).

The general director of IICA, Manuel Otero, stressed to EFE the importance of the region being aware of the need for environmental and agricultural agendas to converge and seek sustainable production.

"Dialogues are always important and much more when they are between two sectors that often do not have the same agenda. Some time ago, 20 or 30 years ago they were confronted, but now you can see that there is an increasingly strong dialogue and understanding of that we are inhabitants of the same landscape that must be taken care of, but that must also be produced for food security, "said Otero.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Renato Alvarado, said that it is urgent to move towards a more sustainable and inclusive agriculture, which values ​​in a fair dimension the contribution of farmers to development.

“We are aware of the imperative need to accelerate the process of adapting agricultural production to climate change and decarbonization. But, in that sense, farming families require greater support and accompaniment from State institutions; they also require adequate financing for their productive activities; and they demand that the market recognizes their efforts and achievements in this matter through fair prices, "Alvarado said.

During the meeting on Wednesday, the ministers signed a statement in which they ratify the support for the Climate Adapted Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and express their interest in the crucial role that the private sector plays in achieving these initiatives in favor of climate .

One of the region's main challenges in agriculture and food security is that of the Central American dry corridor, an extensive area in the Pacific that extends from Guatemala to Panama, which is being increasingly affected by droughts, which puts large crops such as corn and coffee are at risk.

The director of IICA pointed out as a positive point that the region is using satellite technology to evaluate its agricultural sector, but warned that the dry corridor crisis must be taken seriously.

"It is obviously a very serious issue because the frequency of droughts is increasing, increasing the exodus of producers who are exposed to low prices and chains where intermediaries obtain greater benefits," said Otero.

The direct of the IICA warned that "we have to prevent those of the dry corridor from being a chronic issue and in which it is not advanced, because if it is not advanced, it will be an empty area, without rural families and that would be the worst situation of all and the one that we must stop. "

In this regard, one support is that of the Innovative Multi-Layer Agroforestry Systems Project for the Central American Dry Corridor (AGRO-INNOVA), a US $ 6.5 million initiative funded by the European Union (EU) that will initiate field actions in the first 2020 quarter.

The initiative will focus on improving the climate resilience and food security of at least 3,000 small producers in Central America, through improvements in mitigation technologies and adaptation to climate change for the production of basic crops and livestock.

The World Food Program (WFP) for Latin America and the Caribbean estimates that 10 million people live in the Central American dry corridor, including 50% of the almost 2 million small producers of basic grains in the region.

The international organization estimates that in the last four years 18% of people who left Guatemala did so because of adverse climatic effects, a figure that stands at 14% in Honduras and 5% in El Salvador .

. (tagsToTranslate) Central America (t) puts (t) corridor (t) agriculture (t) sustainable

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