• If we democratize productivity, we will not only empower regional development, we also will reduce poverty and social inequality, he said.
• He opened the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2015 and the 18th Regular Meeting of the IICA, belonging to the OAS.
• He called for the strengthening of this Inter-American organization, to consolidate it as a space for dialogue, the exchange of experiences and as a coordinator of hemispheric efforts to transform the rural sector.
During his inauguration of the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2015 and the 18th Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), President Enrique Peña Nieto said today that, “Productivity is the best way to lead the countryside in the Americas towards a better future.”
"If we can increase productivity in the countryside, not only will there be greater food security, but the impact on the environment will also be reduced. • If we democratize productivity, we will not only empower regional development, we also will reduce poverty and social inequality,” he said.
The president declared that Mexico has renewed its commitment to the IICA and its member states. He called for the strengthening of the inter-American system, which belongs to the Organization of American States (OAS), “to consolidate a space for dialogue and the exchange of experiences to make it a great coordinator of hemispheric efforts to transform the rural sector.”
He noted that, “In particular Mexico, as Chairman of its Board, will work so that our fields can be more effectively cultivated, produce more and feed everyone. That is the vision we have proposed for this intercontinental meeting, and I am sure that, by adding the experiences of the ministers of agriculture of the Americas, we will be able to achieve it.”
President Peña Nieto said that, “For the past 73 years, the IICA has been an ally of agricultural development and a staunch advocate of the welfare of the rural population.” He welcomed the fact that at this Annual Meeting, Mexico will assume the presidency of the IICA.
He said that as a region, “We have the historic opportunity to increase food productivity in a competitive, inclusive and sustainable manner.”
He added that in most countries in the region, “Our country has been marked by sharp contrasts. On the one hand, there are a few large producers with access to credit, technology and top-quality inputs, competing successfully in international markets. On the other, there are several small farmers, who, because of their size and scale, basically orient their activity to on-farm consumption.”
IN MEXICO, ACTIONS ARE BEING UNDERTAKEN TO INCREASE AND DEMOCRATIZE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF THE COUNTRYSIDE
The president declared that in Mexico, programs and actions are being promoted to boost and democratize the productivity of the countryside. He mentioned some examples:
With the new Productive PROAGRO, he said, “Resources are now being given to producers in exchange for their commitment to spending them on inputs and improvements that would make it possible for them to increase their yields. It also reduces inequality as it benefits those who need it most, i.e. small-scale producers."
The president said that currently, “98 per cent of the producers enrolled in this program are making good use of the resources provided in the acquisition of strategic inputs, particularly fertilizer and improved seeds, labor and other work to prepare the land.”
He went on to explain that, “The Incentive Program for Corn and Bean Production encourages producers to use technology packages for their crops, ranging from agricultural implements and improved seeds, to plant nutrition and pest management inputs. These incentives have led to up to 200 percent increases in productivity on the small plots of land of 1.2 million producers in 27 states throughout the country.
Another example of boosting productivity, he stressed, "is the new policy of technical support for producers, through a model of comprehensive extensionism that accompanies them from planting to the marketing of farm produce.”
He also mentioned that, "We have encouraged greater investment in research and development in the agricultural sector through the Innovation Program for Applied Technology Development. Through the creation of nine National Centers for Innovation and Technology Transfer, local producers can modernize their production, incorporate new technologies and add more value to their work.”
"These are some of the concrete examples of how Mexico is working to make all its agricultural producers more competitive, and above all, ensure that they earn higher incomes,” he said.
ENSURING THAT PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO FOOD IS A BASIC, INALIENABLE OBLIGATION OF THE STATE
President Peña Nieto said that, “One of the basic, inalienable obligations of the state, is to ensure that its population has access to food.”
“Today, mankind faces an enormous challenge: ensuring that there is sufficient, quality food for this and future generations. The United Nations Organization has estimated that by 2050, the world population will be about 9.7 billion. In other words, there will be 2.35 billion more people; nearly 24 percent more than the current number of the earth’s inhabitants,” he declared.
He added that for its part, "FAO estimates that to in order meet the total demand for agricultural products, world production must grow by between 60 and 100 percent by them.” The biggest challenge, he continued, “Is that only ten to 20 percent of this increase will result from the availability of new lands for cultivation; in other words 80 percent of the new food requirements will have to be obtained from greater productivity.”
Therefore, he said, “This is a great challenge, and humanity must achieve it, while fighting climate change and social inequality.”
This gives us a clear idea of the magnitude of the food challenges ahead and the enormous regional efforts we must make to ensure the regional food security of America in the following decades,” he declared.
THE CHALLENGE IS TO ENSURE FOOD FOR OVER 9 BILLION PEOPLE IN THE WORLD IN 2050: CALZADA ROVIROSA
José Calzada, Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) said that the challenge now is to guarantee food for the more than nine billion people who will inhabit the world in 2050. It is necessary to define precise, feasible actions to increase food production by 70 percent in the coming years.
Addressing representatives of the 34 nations comprising the IICA, Calzada Rovirosa said that, “This is a strategic priority to which we must respond with vision and without endangering the planet.” He warned that, “Shirking this responsibility would have very high costs in social, environmental and political terms.”
He considered that the exchange of views on the experiences of each country and the different ways of meeting agricultural and food supply challenges will make it possible to define general criteria regarding the future of production in the Americas.
He said that, “Ending hunger and improving nutrition is a matter of primary importance. This has been established in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will take effect as of 1 January 2016. It is a moral obligation we cannot ignore. Failure to do so would be equivalent to contributing to the exacerbation of the world's social inequality.”
He stressed that he has received instructions from President Enrique Peña Nieto, “To work in favor of the Mexican countryside, but particularly in rural areas, which require greater support for our people.”
PRODUCTIVITY CRUCIAL TO MAKING AGRICULTURE THE AXIS OF DEVELOPMENT AND AN ENGINE OF GROWTH: VÍCTOR VILLALOBOS
Victor Manuel Arámbula Villalobos, Director General of the IICA, said that productivity will be crucial for agriculture to become an axis of development, a driver of economic growth and a source of well-being for all.
He explained that from now on, productivity will be associated with the sector's ability to adapt to climate variability and proper risk management and the prevention of natural disasters.
He said that greater agricultural production will be obtained through the development of knowledge, innovations and research as well as “large-scale investment and the creation of policy and reform frameworks based on scientific principles and international cooperation.”
He said that the increase in productivity must be achieved in an inclusive manner, through the integrated management of natural resources and without affecting the environment or biodiversity.
To do this, it recommended strengthening the state’s oversight capacity in the field of agriculture; developing a process of modern educational management in agriculture; continuing to invest in creating a culture of innovation and consolidating leadership in the region as regards international trade in agricultural products.
He also suggested promoting an entrepreneurial and organizational culture of small farmers, and strengthening international cooperation for the development of a productive, sustainable and inclusive agriculture.
THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT IS THE GOVERNMENT OF REFORMS, MODERNITY AND RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP IN THE GLOBAL CONTEXT: ROBERTO BORGE
Governor of Quintana Roo Roberto Borge Angulo said that holding the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas in our country is consistent with Mexico’s growing importance of Mexico in the global context paper, thanks to the leadership of President Peña Nieto, whose government is promoting changes with a view to the future.
“The Mexican government is a government of reforms, modernity, and responsible leadership in the global context. A government that encourages growth, promotes development, invests in the modernization of our agricultural sector, ensures land tenure, and, in order to improve competitiveness and certainty for investors, builds trust in the eyes of the international community.”
He told the Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas of his confidence in the fact that the conclusions and agreements reached in the 18th Meeting of the complex but vital problems for the to the nations of this content in this field set the course “To lead us toward food sufficiency in synergy with the nations of the world so that we will no longer have to talk about the global food crisis.”
“We greatly value this international meeting,” he said, noting that “agricultural productivity, competitiveness, sustainability and rural inclusion are key issues for discussion in the quest for policies that will enable us to achieve that goal entrusted to us all: the survival of human life.”