March 8, 2021

IICA says that livestock makes "positive contributions" to the climate crisis

The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, told Efe on Thursday that livestock is "making positive contributions" to alleviate the climate crisis, despite the fact that it has been placed "on the bench of the accused. "

"In the last 15 or 20 years, livestock has been put on the bench of the accused. (…) Animal production is making positive contributions," he said in Buenos Aires as part of the International Seminar on Climate Change and Security Food

These contributions are, in his opinion, the carbon dioxide sequestration carried out by the roots of the vegetation on which the livestock is based.

"It is true that cows generate gases, in this case mostly methane, which affects global warming, but cows are in the ground with pastures whose roots in the soil structure sequester carbon. (…) You have to analyze how much is released and how much is kidnapped, "he added.

He stressed that the accusations against the primary sector are based on "information that was not well justified", before which he claimed that "it was time to put the issues in their proper dimension and present research that makes an analysis of the problem under a systemic approach".

"There was a report called 'The long shadow of the cattle', where livestock was placed above transport, which is what most contaminates the environment, and after that report, produced in 2006, the author acknowledged that I was wrong, "he said.

He also considers "exaggerations" the "currents of some developed countries that talk about stopping eating meat."

Although the director of IICA defends the role of livestock, recognizes that "not everything is rosy" as there are "deforestation problems where there are responsibilities and corrective measures to be taken".

"Livestock has to take responsibility for the mistakes it makes but also transmit to the world that it is not responsible for all the ills that affect the stability of the planetary system today," he said.

Along with deforestation, he identified as problems of livestock activity the monoculture – above all food such as soy, which is in great demand to feed animals – and the use of herbicides, pesticides and other agrochemicals.

"There is a very strong awareness of private sector companies for less intensification in the use of agrochemicals, the bio concept of bio-inputs will be increasingly important," he said.

In general, Otero summarizes his proposals in which livestock, and by extension all primary activity, must find a balance between productivity and sustainability.

"Without losing sight of the businesses, the productions will necessarily have to be increasingly sustainable because the planet requires it and there is no time to lose," he added.

The seminar held today, organized by IICA, the Group of Producing Countries of the South (GPS) and the Argentine Government and provided by renowned international professionals, seeks to analyze the contribution of agriculture to the mitigation of the climate crisis and the contribution of the Southern Cone countries in this regard.

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