On August 31st, the past, present and future was celebrated through the signing of a collaboration agreement for resilient agriculture between the New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries and FONTAGRO.
On August 31st, the Memorandum of Understanding between New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries and FONTAGRO was signed in a virtual manner. A partnership that began 10 years ago and today renews the commitment to continue working on projects for the sustainable development of agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean.
To kick off the event, Damien O’Connor (New Zealand’s Minister of Agriculture) highlighted the work of Hayden Montgomery (Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, GRA) in his role as New Zealand’s ambassador to Argentina and saw the potential in the region for working together.
He added that climate change mitigation and sustainable agri-food development was the driving force to work together with FONTAGRO with the premise of developing local solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through models adapted to the livestock conditions of each country that can be replicated by others. Highlighting collaboration as a key aspect, he said, “No one organization can tackle the problem of climate change alone.”
O’Connor went on to comment, “The focus on resilient agriculture is important because progress depends on food security. FONTAGRO is an example in providing support to developing countries, promoting projects to increase cattle productivity and climate mitigation. We see that a better future is possible with a collaborative effort.”
Eugenia Saini, (FONTAGRO Executive Secretary) said “It is an honor to sign this agreement to strengthen collaboration and cooperation between nations, to improve productivity and efficiency, address the impact of climate change and extreme event crises, make agri-food systems more resilient and sustainable, and ultimately, improve people’s lives.” Saini noted that this partnership contributes 10 years of continuous work in the field of science and other disciplines, enhancing the capacities of scientists, producers and other stakeholders.
Saini praised Hayden Montgomery and Terry Meikle for their commitment to the region and for supporting the work of Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the work of former FONTAGRO Secretaries Nicolás Mateo and Hugo Li Pun, who were major players in building this alliance.
Finally, she remarked that in this last decade we have faced great challenges, but we have also had great and exponential advances in science and technology, thus creating the perfect scenario for strategic cooperation and collaboration between FONTAGRO and the Government of New Zealand, which today provides the opportunity for many nations to accelerate their progress.
From Wellington, Ray Smith (Director-General of New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries) said “Thank you FONTAGRO for this partnership, the work you are doing is a celebration. We have shared the same vision with FONTAGRO for 10 years, working together to mitigate climate change and provide adaptable food for a better world.”
Smith explained that in New Zealand they are working to develop an advanced farming system, improving productivity and providing safe food.
He listed some critical points on which they are focusing considering the goals to be met by 2050, i.e.: reducing carbon emissions, improving livestock production, reducing freshwater waste, maintaining biodiversity, and integrating indigenous sectors. “What we are doing is part of a partnership between the government’s Ministry for Primary Industries and the indigenous population. The agricultural sector and indigenous communities are working to reduce the carbon footprint. By 2022, farmers will know how much they emit. A pricing scheme will motivate them to reduce carbon emissions,” he argued.
In closing the ceremony, Pedro Bustos Valdivia (President of FONTAGRO) declared “It is an honor for FONTAGRO to sign this memorandum, the result of a decade of joint work”.
The President of FONTAGRO then stated “Global warming has been a concern for the world for decades. Countries have ratified their commitment in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol. The Cop 25, presented by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, reaffirms the agreement to reduce 2°C by 2050 and zero emissions.”
In this context, Bustos Valdivia said “This task requires collaborative work in the search for production models that meet these challenges.”
He then dwelt on the 2020, where the world faced Covid-19 and the climate change crisis, and he highlighted investment in science and collective actions as key aspects in such a scenario. “Nothing can be accomplished alone, we have to work in a coordinated way and science is the fundamental pillar to make a better world for our children and grandchildren”, he said in conclusion.
Learn about our 10 years of jointly developed projects:
FONTAGRO was created 1998 with the purpose of promoting the increase of the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and the reduction of poverty in the region. The objective of FONTAGRO is to establish itself as a sustainable financing mechanism for the development of agricultural technology and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean and Spain, and to establish a forum for the discussion of priority topics of technological innovation. The member countries are: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. In the last 21 years 167 regional agricultural innovation platforms have been co-financed for an amount of US $ 124 million, which has reached 452 institutions and 33 countries worldwide.